The Keystone Party has a candidate running in La Verendrye.
Kleefeld resident Matthew Wiebe will represent the party in the October 3rd provincial election. Wiebe says he grew up in Kleefeld, graduating in 2010. Since then, he has spent the majority of his time working in the construction industry.
Wiebe describes the Keystone Party as a party that relies on principle rather than on a particular policy platform. He says they prefer to hear what the people have to say.
"When people ask us what's your stance on this, the best answer is really, well what's your stance on this?" explains Wiebe.
He adds they want to be a party that is accountable and honest, has integrity, and one that listens to the people. Wiebe feels this is really what sets the Keystone Party apart from other political parties.
Wiebe says there are a couple of reasons why he decided to pursue a career in politics. First and foremost, he says it intrigues him.
"I've always been interested in the nuances that it is and that it takes to govern a body of people," explains Wiebe. "So, there's quite a bit of passion behind it."
But he says he is also tired of the way the other parties have handled the last couple of years, particularly with COVID-19 and trying to recover in a post-pandemic world.
"I've been quite fed up and quite frustrated with the lack of accountability and the lack of having my voice heard," he says. "So, I decided to do something about it and take that step to try and be that difference that I believe needs to be seen."
He calls it a passion of his to push through the status quo and make something better.
For Wiebe, this will be his first crack at running for office. However, he says he strives to stay abreast of local and national issues.
Wiebe says as a Keystone Party MLA, he would make decisions based on his conscience and his beliefs. As an idealist, Wiebe says he would be a voice for the people, wanting to bring back the true sense of civil servant.
"The fact that I don't have any political experience I think will be a boon rather than a hindrance in this regard," he adds.
If elected, Wiebe says one of the big things he will fight for is the principle of freedom of person. He notes the freedom of rights of individuals is paramount in building a functioning society.
"We would like to do as much as we can to restrict government involvement," adds Wiebe. "We don't think that the government should be involved as deeply as it is in the day-to-day of its citizens' lives."
He adds there is no reason why the government should be telling citizens where they can or cannot go, what they can or cannot say and what they can or cannot support.
"We like to see the aspect of citizens really stepping up and taking ownership of their own lives rather than relying on government," he adds. "And to do that, we believe in the principle of free enterprise."
He adds the Keystone Party would like to see the removal of a lot of red tape and bureaucracy for businesses.
"We see a lot of restrictions in how small businesses in particular are being strangled by governmental bureaucracy and so we would like to take that back and eliminate that as much as we can," he says.
According to Wiebe, the response he has been hearing at the door has been very positive. He notes a lot of constituents are interested to hear what he has to say and are thankful to know there is another option on voting day. Wiebe says he gets the sense that there is a lot of discontentment and frustration with how politics is currently run in our province.
"It's encouraging to see that we're not alone in this," he adds. "We are seeing some support."
Meanwhile, Wiebe says whether or not the Keystone Party wins a seat on October 3rd, the big thing is that they want to hold the current government accountable. He notes they want to make sure that Manitobans know that there is an alternative.
"It's very much our plan and our goal to bring accountability and honesty and integrity back into the Legislative Assembly," adds Wiebe. "It's going to be a rough road, not everybody is going to agree with us, but ultimately democracy is run by the people and so we want you to vote for who you believe is the best option."
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