TBT Exclusive: Shawn McDonald, candidate in Fort McMurray-Cold Lake
It's no secret that the PPC is faring much stronger this election. Recent polls show the PPC to be doing much stronger than they did back in 2019, being neck-and-neck with the Bloc Quebecois, which only runs MPs in Quebec. This may indicate wider dissatisfaction with the mainstream Conservatives; something that can also be seen through the creation of the Western seperatist "Maverick Party." To that end, there is a significant chance that Bernier may recapture his old seat in Beauce.
Dissatisfaction with mainstream conservatives can also be gleaned in the riding of Fort McMurray-Cold Lake. There, outgoing MP David Yurdiga broke with his party in order to endorse a PPC candidate for his seat instead, posing with candidate Shawn McDonald:
"It was so nice that Shawn McDonald and his wife Bonnie stopped by to thank Kathy and I for representing the community since 2014. I consider Shawn an amazing friend and a businessman that always puts the community first. Best wishes to Shawn McDonald in his quest to become the Member of Parliament for Fort McMurray - Cold Lake," Yurdiga wrote over Facebook.
In an interview, Yurdiga noted his opposition to a vaccine passport or mandatory vaccines and his support for personal freedom and freedom of speech; a clear jab at leader Erin O'Toole, who hasn't taken a strong stance on the vaccination mandate issue.
The appointment of Goodridge to replace Yurdiga as the CPC candidate has also been mired in controversy. The former MLA was criticized earlier this spring for remaining nonreactive when allegations of systemic racism arose concerning homeless indigenous people. Goodridge did not provide access to provincial resources for those affected by the removal of a homeless box tent camp. Her riding's EDA also adamantly opposed her appointment, calling it undemocratic:
We reached out to PPC candidate Shawn McDonald for his take on the issues affecting Fort McMurray, including energy development, firearms use and indigenous concerns. McDonald has experience in the energy sector, beginning his career in 1997 in that field. As a supporter of the energy sector, McDonald aided in founding ROABA (Region One Aboriginal Business Association), standing as President for 7 years of the association and leading an indigenous rally for energy resources. The party's stance on energy is as follows:
Withdraw from the Paris Accord and abandon unrealistic greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.
Stop sending billions of dollars to developing countries to help them reduce their emissions.
Abolish the Liberal government’s carbon tax and leave it to provincial governments to adopt programs to reduce emissions if they want to.
Abolish subsidies for green technology and let private players develop profitable and efficient alternatives.
Invest in adaptation strategies if problems arise as a result of any natural climate change.
Prioritize implementing practical solutions to make Canada’s air, water and soil cleaner, including bringing clean drinking water to remote First Nations communities.
McDonald provided the following comment to TBT about firearms use, an issue which he stated affects his personally:
The current Firearms Act and the impending possibilities of criminalizing legal firearm owners threatens our way of life. This affects me personally as I am Métis, and affects my Indigenous and non Indigenous family and many friends. Hunters for food subsistence, like myself, ranchers, trappers, sport and recreational shooters and collectors have been greatly affected by these laws. Under the PPC government, the current legislation will be replaced with a much more cost efficient lifetime certification system for firearms owners. I am grateful to be representing a party that wants less government control, less costs to us, the taxpayer, and more time spent targeting the criminal, not law abiding citizens.
The PPC platform claims three tenets in reforming the nation's relationship with Indigenous peoples: respect, freedom, fairness, responsibility. McDonald, a member of the Métis community, provided the following statement to TBT about his own platform:
With regards to the many issues we have with our Indigenous people subjugated both by the current paternalistic Indian Act and the ineffective Indigenous programs delivered by government, this is a top-bureaucratic-down issue that has decades of mishandling that my party will eliminate. We, as a PPC government, will work with our Section 35 People to end top-heavy government control. That's what our party is about: removing government overreach. There has to be a healthy balance and an efficient and effective application for programs and Trust Moneys. If re-framing the Indian Act for our First Nations Peoples is what it takes to respect both our Treaties and our Constitution, we will do that. We will be working closely with all our Indigenous Peoples: First Nations, Métis and Inuit to overcome barriers and ineffectiveness Government to Government.
In addition to abolishing the Indian Act, the PPC website asserts that it will explore further avenues to promote the establishment of individual property rights on reserves so as to empower its residents to give them increased control over their lives, whilst simultaneously ensuring that indigenous communities take more ownership of the services they receive in partnership with Ottawa and other levels of government.