A business owner and hobby chicken farmer from the Prongua area is hoping he will be the next MP for Battlefords-Lloydminster.
Richard Andrew Nelson, or Rick as his friends call him, is among the crowded field of contenders seeking the Conservative nomination in the riding.
Nelson says he is running “for Canada and for our children,” in speaking to the Regional Optimist Tuesday.
“We grew up in a prosperous Canada, one where hard work would buy you the promised land, so to speak,” said Nelson.
“That’s under attack, that’s under threat. The world is changing very quickly, and we need to be cognizant of that so that we can change with the world, and continue to take advantage and enjoy the freedoms that Canada has to offer, and that’s what I want for my children as well. ”
Nelson has a long history in the riding. Originally from Canora, he grew up in the Riverview area of North Battleford.
After leaving for university and after some time living in Regina, Nelson returned to settle with his family in Prongua, where he now runs a storage equipment business. He also has a hobby farm “keeping 50 chickens and 60 cherry trees.”
Nelson made it known he is running an economic-focused campaign focusing on the issues of small business and industry in the riding.
He said he is a believer in small government – “government that is out of the way of citizens so that citizens can succeed for themselves.”
Nelson says he supports low taxes, and modest but responsible regulation. His campaign is also focused heavily on transportation issues.
“It always boils back to transportation and access to markets, increasing the prosperity of our constituents,” said Nelson.
Nelson is also highly critical of Liberal government policies that he believes have hurt small business, such as the tax changes impacting small business that they had proposed.
“We didn’t need to have tax changes in order to chase investment dollars away. The capital started evaporating the second they spoke about it. So even though they backed away, it killed two projects that my company was working on and they didn’t even bring the tax changes in. That’s how important government is.”
Like other candidates in the race, Nelson is also not in favour of a national carbon tax.
“They don’t work. They don’t lower emissions and don’t change peoples’ habits,” he said. “It’s simply a tax on everything, and it’s a tax that accomplishes nothing.”
As for his campaign, he had a couple of events in Neilburg and in North Battleford the week before, and hoped to get two more events in this week before the nomination race is finished.
Nelson says he has heard the same themes at these meet-and-greet events, with stories of job losses and businesses struggling to keep afloat.
“Ottawa can tell us the economy is growing and it’s never been better, but we know that’s not how it is in the West.”
The actual nomination period has proved to be a much shorter one than anticipated with the snap by-election call by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Sunday, setting the by-election for Dec. 11.
“We really expected we were going to get the maximum time to engage with the population and talk with constituents and have a vibrant convention,” said Nelson.
Like others in the race, Nelson was scrambling to “make sure all the details are in place.” But he says he is ready to go for the nomination voting happening this week.
Meetings are scheduled for Unity on Friday evening and then Lloydminster and North Battleford on Saturday. The North Battleford meeting is scheduled for the Tropical Inn with registration beginning at 6 pm.
Each meeting will see each of the candidates given five minutes to speak and make their final pitch to party members. At the Saturday night meeting, it is expected former Battlefords-Lloydminster MP Gerry Ritz will speak before the results are announced.
Nelson is looking forward to what he expects will be an excellent weekend for the party, with upwards of six candidates expected to be in the race for the nomination.
“To have a vibrant party convention is only going to help Conservatives. Conservatives are best at the grassroots,” said Nelson.
Once the nomination is decided, the winning candidate will have to go right to work the next day to begin campaigning.
“We will hit the ground running,” Nelson pledges, adding the number one message of any of the candidates will be “to create a Conservative government in the next Parliament.”
“We need this administration to be a one and done administration,” said Nelson.