Rosemarie Falk has had little time to waste since winning the Conservative nomination in Battlefords-Lloydminster.
She has been actively campaigning in the riding ever since, braving some cold and treacherous weather conditions.
“The weather that we have is a little constricting,” Falk said.
There have been at least two days where travel was not recommended on roads within the riding in the by-election campaign so far.
As for how her campaign has been dealing with the weather, “you just deal, you just make it work,” said Falk.
“It’s Saskatchewan, right? So we just have to get ‘er done.”
Falk’s campaign has been seen to make it out to the Battlefords on a few occasions so far, starting with the night she won the party’s nomination at the Tropical Inn on Nov. 11.
She attended the St. Joseph’s Parish Gala and Dinner at the same venue on Saturday night, and on Wednesday, Falk was due to appear at a major local Conservative campaign event at Empress Furniture, on Highway 4 north of the city.
The other main priority for her campaign has been to get her nomination papers in to Elections Canada – a “whole other process,” she said, in addition to winning a nomination by the party. That process is now complete and Falk will be on the by-election ballot on Dec. 11.
Falk said she feels “honoured” to be the Conservative standard-bearer after Gerry Ritz represented the riding for 20 years in Ottawa, and said she is “ready to hit the ground running.”
She describes herself as a lifelong resident of Lloydminster. Her father is a farmer who has also worked in the energy sector, and her husband works in the energy sector as well.
Falk has a background in social work and has experience on Parliament Hill. She took an opportunity to work as legislative assistant in Ottawa for Arnold Viersen, MP for Peace River-Westlock.
“Knowing that this was the direction that I kind of wanted to go in, we thought it would be great experience,” said Falk.
During that time her young family, which includes her two kids, stayed at home in Lloydminster. Falk said that meant plenty of commuting back and forth from Ottawa to see the family.
Political opponents have tried to paint Falk as an “Ottawa resident” in the by-election race, but Falk made clear she isn’t impressed by that talk.
“I’m from the riding, I was born and raised. I could even show you the certificate that Gerry Ritz sent me when I graduated high school,” Falk said.
“Really, at the end of the day, I’m here to serve the people and represent them well if I make it to Ottawa.
There is no shortage of federal issues facing Falk in the campaign.
One issue that has come up this week is pipelines, with news a commission in Nebraska had approved the Keystone XL pipeline through that state.
That comes on the heels of the collapse of the Energy East pipeline project.
For her part, Falk says she is a supporter of pipelines.
“I think they’re one of the safest ways we can transfer our oil,” she said.
“It’s unfortunate that our Prime Minister is playing politics.”
Falk also opposes the tax reform proposals brought forward by finance minister Bill Morneau that were aimed at small business, proposals that Morneau had to reverse course on.
She called the Liberal tax proposals “ludicrous” and pledged to hold the government to account on the issue.
“I believe that small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Falk, who adds, “I don’t think that it’s fair to tax the ordinary working people to death.”
Not surprisingly, Falk is against a carbon tax, and pointed to its failures in other jurisdictions that have attempted it.
“We’ve seen cap-and-trade in B.C. and it hasn’t worked,” said Falk. “And other countries have done it and they have retracted now.”
Falk is also not impressed with the Liberals’ push for marijuana legalization.
“I’ve worked, and I’ve seen, how marijuana can be detrimental when used excessively,” Falk said.
She also questions whether legalization will have any beneficial impact.
“I know Justin Trudeau says it’s going to keep the drugs out of the hands of youth, but is it? I don’t think that people aren’t worth the experiment.”
One issue Falk mentions as having come up on the campaign trail is the crime issue.
“It’s all over. Our rural crime is out of control,” Falk admits.
She pledged to work with municipal and provincial leaders and MLAs “so we can help find an answer,” but also admits it won’t be easy.
Falk plans to continue to meet residents directly and hear their concerns.
So far, she says she is encouraged by the reception she has received on the campaign trail.
“We’re finding lots of support, a lot of people who want to get involved and send a message to Mr. Trudeau,” said Falk.
Falk also says taking nothing for granted and is urging against complacency among potential supporters who might think the by-election is already in the bag.
“Look what happened in Alberta,” said Falk, referring to the Rachel Notley NDP provincial victory.
Falk plans to keep up her campaign up to and including voting day on Dec. 11; she is also encouraging people to vote early in the advanced polls from Dec. 1 through 4.