Powder says Alberta needs independence

Suzette Powder . . .Independence

Joe McWilliams
For South Peace News

Meet Suzette Powder! She’s a candidate for MLA in the Lesser Slave Lake electoral district.

Powder came to the attention of a lot of people in a Global News report as an ‘independent’ candidate. She is that, sort of. But she’s also a member of the new Alberta Independence Party, which has at least 44 candidates running at the time of this interview.

“I’m not a politician,” says Powder. “I’m tired of the government the way it is.”

“I am running for MLA to send the strongest possible message this spring – that Albertans have talked enough about our unfair treatment by Ottawa and voting for provincial leaders who are mere puppets to their federal counterparts and we are ready to take action toward Alberta independence.”

To be fair, she also has no faith in the UCP alternative.

“It’s just not working for Albertans,” she says. “The conservatives and the NDP are not listening. I used to be a UCP member and they just don’t want to hear us.”

More independence for Alberta [from the federal government] is something Powder favours. Lower taxes is another. A lot lower for some.

“No taxes if you make $45,000 or less,” she says. “And a 20 per cent flat tax above that.”

The Independence Party [its leader is Dave Bjorkman] would also scrap the carbon levy and stop equalization payments, Powder says.

Powder is a welder by profession.

“I had to leave the oilfield because of the downturn,” she says.

A native of Camrose, she is Metis on her father’s side, with roots in the Buffalo Lake and Kikino regions.

So why did she choose to run in Lesser Slave Lake? Knowing little about her father’s background, she says she started doing genealogical research, “and Lesser Slave Lake is where it led me to. I have relatives up there and I have no idea who they are.”

She’d like to find out, and hopes to make some connections while campaigning.

Powder says like a lot of people, she was fond of complaining about the political and economic situation, but not doing much about it. After a friend challenged her on it, she says she was forced to ask herself why she wasn’t doing anything.

“So I decided to stand up and be a voice.”

Getting the required 30 signatures for her nomination turned out to be quite easy. She got them on a visit to Grouard, Faust and Joussard on a recent visit.

“I had a very good response,” she says.

Powder says she plans to be in the riding every weekend during the election and will “most definitely” participate in any candidates’ forums.

Parts of the party plan include:

– a referendum on Alberta independence 120 days after forming government;
-true government self-sufficiency for First Nations;
-immigration policies based on the economic needs of Alberta to maintain full employment;
-contracted army to ensure fair negotiation with Ottawa;
-keep the $40 billion federal tax and equalization payments in Alberta for Alberta to create growth.

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