By Kalinowski, Tim on March 14, 2019.
With a provincial election call likely just a few days away, Lethbridge-East United Conservative Party candidate Nathan Neudorf held a campaign launch event at the Kenna Professional Campus building Wednesday evening to meet with local party faithful and to share his priorities for Lethbridge.
“I will be really focused on economic issues,” said Neudorf, a local business owner, father of five and past president of the Lethbridge Construction Association. “We have a very strong economic platform. We want to address the issues in the marketplace, and really get people back to work. We feel like there have been a number of challenges over the past few years that businesses, particularly small businesses, in Lethbridge and Alberta have been hit hard with. We want to be their voice and be a responsive government to their needs and concerns.”
Neudorf reiterated his party’s promises to eliminate the carbon tax and lower corporate taxes if they form government.
Neudorf also has his eyes on issues of particular local concern in Lethbridge he will be working hard to address if elected.
“There are a number of issues specific to Lethbridge-East – one of them being the injection site, there is quite a concern about that,” he stated. “We need to look at that as a comprehensive solution that has everything from prevention to treatment to enforcement. There are four pillars for a drug strategy and we need to look at all of those. That is really high in people’s minds, but also, like I said, the economy. People want to get back to work, and there is a lot of dignity and self-pride in people working, and seeing that advancement, when they get back to work.”
Neudorf was asked by reporters if he supported his party leader Jason Kenney’s position on creating two standards of minimum wage – one for restaurant service industry workers and youth and another for other sectors.
“Minimum wage (hikes) have all sorts of unintended consequences,” he responded. “It hits small businesses and the service industry really hard. People are noticing they are getting fewer hours and fewer tips, and it is harder for them to find a job.”
“While we are not maybe looking to repeal (those minimum wage hikes),” he stressed, “maybe we can make some amendments to it where it is a graduated wage for younger workers. Maybe there are parts of the service industry which can be exempted from it. I have two daughters who work in the service industry and they have noticed they take home less because of the rise of prices and lack of tips. Those kinds of things have made it really difficult for them.”
Neudorf added he was open to all considerations when it comes to setting a fair wage for workers and creating a good economic position for businesses.
“When you raise that minimum wage so quickly, everything else takes time to adjust,” he stated. “It is very difficult in Lethbridge, in particular on small businesses and family businesses. We had numerous businesses close the last couple of years in part due to that minimum-wage increase, and because of some of the other taxation issues.”
Neudorf said he hoped voters would see him as a candidate who understands their needs and priorities.
“I worked in construction,” he explained. “My wife is an ER nurse. We get it. We get both sides of the column. We get the public side and the private (sector) side. The best thing for public employees is a strong private economy. When that private economy is doing well, and creating tax dollars, the funding of public services is strong. And we want to maintain that. I want (the voters) to identify with who I am and what I bring – and I can identify with them and be their voice in legislature.”
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