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Small business owner hopes for Western voice in Ottawa

Small business owner hopes for Western voice in Ottawa
Heather Schmitt of Carrot River area is the Maverick Party candidate for the Prince Albert riding in the upcoming federal elecion, set for Sept. 20. Photo Susan McNeil.

Election 2021

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Heather Schmitt, horse lover, rancher, business owner and resident of Carrot River, says that she is running for federal office to give people a voice.

Schmitt will represent the Maverick Party in the Prince Albert riding in the upcoming federal election on Sept. 20. She says the people she knows who think the same way she does about politics are too busy to run for office.

“If no one steps up to be a voice, then we have no voice,” she said in an interview in Prince Albert on Aug. 20, having just filed her candidacy papers. 

The party is only running candidates in Western Canada and has a twin-track approach, she said. 

“We are looking for constitutional changes for more fairness in the west,” she said. “If we can’t achieve that – or close to – we’ll be pushing for independence.” 

Schmitt has no background in municipal or provincial politics, but said running a small business has given her some insight. 

“I’m a small business owner, it affects me every day,” she said. 

The skills needed to run a small business can translate well into political office, Schmitt said. 

“There are lots of small challenges in the business world that need to be defeated everyday,” she said, adding that it has given her the ability to go with what is happening and be flexible. 

“There are a lot of people that are too busy and they can’t do it. So somebody has to,” Schmitt said. 

After completing her business administration diploma from Lakeland College, Schmitt worked in a few jobs such as accounting, industry and payroll.

She then moved back to Carrot River and started working for herself. 

“That was equine therapy to start with, then I moved into an administration position for organic certification and then I bought some cows and I started an organic beef business,” Schmitt said. 

“I think it’s time for a Western voice. There has been a lot of controversial issues come up, or promises per se, that benefit the East and should be benefitting the West and it’s not happening. So we’re moving into a position to put our voice into whatever changes are being made to say, ‘hey yeah, we’ll vote for it but we need this for the west,’” she said. 

If the voice is not heard, then the party will push for independence. 

The federal election is September 20. The Prince Albert Daily Herald will have profiles of all candidates running in the constituency of Prince Albert.