BANFF-AIRDRIE— Ron Voss has no desire to be a career politician and running as an independent in the Banff-Airdrie riding this election is not a bucket-list item for the retiree, he simply wants to represent Alberta from Alberta — not Ottawa.
On one hand he has had enough of Banff-Airdrie Conservative MP Blake Richards and on the other, he believes the federal pathways are not benefiting the interests of Alberta, vowing to work toward the province’s independence.
Voss said his platform is largely inspired and derived from reading two books — Alberta Seperatism: Then and Now and No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta, both by writer and researcher Michael Wagner, who is also a senior columnist for the Western Standard.
“From the first book I learned that the federal political pathway sending this or that politician to Ottawa, would not redress the grievances that Alberta had and most importantly, it caused the independence movements to lose steam, to lose impetus, because they were saying, ‘oh, well, it will address things to the federal system,’” Voss said. “Albertans putting their hope in the federal system, which has failed to deliver, it only serves to damper or deflate the self-determination or independence movement.”
Voss believes Wagner makes a strong case for an independent Alberta being the only viable option in No Other Option: Self-Determination for Alberta which is not set to release until later this year.
“That’s why I’m saying if I’m elected, I won’t go to Ottawa, I’ll stay right here in Alberta,” he said. “I’ll use the resources that are given to an MP and I’ll dedicate those to the cause of Alberta’s independence and self-determination.”
With no prior experience in politics, Voss said it is just the circumstances of the time that moved him to run as an independent for the Banff-Airdrie riding.
He carries a PhD in Chemistry which he put to use as a manager of environmental division at the Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada in Montreal for 30 years. Voss and his wife are originally from Manitoba but now call Cochrane home, having moved to Alberta in 2005.
“I skipped the cold and the mosquitoes,” he said. “Cochrane’s just such a beautiful little town perched between the mountains and Calgary on the other side.”
Voss described the experience of going door-to-door with his wife, also his official agent, to collect electors’ signatures as a humbling one. He also found that most people were receptive and appreciative of his willingness to run.
“I learned from that that you sort of get a sense of where people are at when you talk to them,” Voss said. “I got a sense of frustration, desperation, people wanting change. That was what I garnered from my little sampling of 200 homes.”
As far as other candidates that have thrown their hats in the ring for the Banff-Airdrie constituency, Voss doesn’t see the Maverick Party achieving what they need to in time to get a win.
“We’ve been through this kind of thing before with the Reform Party and Harper,” he said. “I also didn’t find them that vocal when our constitutional rights were under assault, I never heard from him [Tariq Elnaga] standing up or going to meetings.”
Voss said he likes the messaging of People’s Party of Canada candidate Nadine Wellwood and Derek Sloan who is also running as an independent, as far as the problems they see with Canada and Wellwood’s notion to put Albertans first.
“I like that model because that’s sort of where I’m at. I find with Derek Sloan though, that he is being parachuted into our riding,” he said. “He lives in Ontario; I don’t think he’s officially taken up any residence here. He talks about how he wants to make Alberta great again, a guy coming from Ontario wanting to win a seat here wants to make Alberta great again. Albertans will determine their fate, not a politician from Ottawa.”
Regardless of the outcome, Voss believes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to be defeated. He feels a rising level of frustration in Alberta and doesn’t think the results of this election will help ease it, instead he believes it will strengthen the independence movement.
“I think as a result of this election, it’s actually going to spur more interest in people saying, ‘you know, we can’t do it that way, we have to leave.’”
Voss does not have any campaign signs out and said he does not intend to place any. Instead, he is keeping his run bare bones and relying on expressing his messaging at debate forums. The only sign he will have will be one placed on his property made by his granddaughter reading ‘vote for grandpa.’