Liberal candidate calls on progressives for support during campaign office opening

Estelle Hjertaas, the Liberal Party nominee for Prince Albert, speaks to supporters during the official opening of her campaign office at 1315 Central Avenue in Prince Albert on Saturday. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

Federal Liberal Party candidate Estelle Hjertaas chose to focus on the positives at the official opening of her campaign office in downtown Prince Albert on Saturday.

Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been under fire lately following a Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner report on the SNC-Lavalin affair. However, Hjertaas said there and plenty of positive reasons Canadians should continue supporting the Liberals, and she focused on those aspects during a quick six-minute speech to more than a dozen supporters.

“We’re not going to agree on everything, but I think with everyone there are some points that we have in common,” said Hjertaas, who spent the last five years as a legal aid lawyer in Prince Albert. “That’s what we have to build on. We don’t need to look at the politics of division and anger and fear.”

“People are scared and upset about things,” she continued. “We just need to listen to their concerns, talk to them about what we’re doing to help them and what matters to us and what our plan is for the future. I think that’s what Prince Albert needs. I can provide that, but I need this whole team of people behind me.”

Hjertaas cited poverty reduction, reconciliation and climate change as some of the areas the federal government has made huge strides in helping Canadians. She also singled out the Canada Child Benefit, which was introduced in 2016, as one of the government’s most positive achievements.

Hjertaas acknowledged that there was still a lot more to be done, especially on reconciliation. However, she argued the Liberal government was heading in the right direction.

“Is everything done yet? No. There’s tonnes more work left to do, but we are making progress and I believe that I can be a part of that,” she said.

Hjertaas finished her speech with a pitch directed at the constituency’s left-leaning voters. She said if progressive Saskatchewan residents want their policies enacted, they have to focus on electing politicians from parties who are going to govern.

“If we want to have a progressive voice in Prince Albert we need to elect a progressive voice to be part of a government,” she said. “Not just be opposition, but to be a part of a government that is actually delivering for Canadians and for people in Prince Albert.”

Hjertaas is running against incumbent Conservative MP Randy Hoback, and People’s Party of Canada nominee Kelly Day in the constituency of Prince Albert. Neither the NDP nor the Green Party of Canada have confirmed a candidate yet.