By Tim Kalinowski on August 25, 2021.
Lethbridge Independent federal candidate Kim Siever says if elected he would put the needs of local residents before party loyalty.
“I think one of the problems with party politics is there is this tendency of elected representatives to focus on representing their party more than they represent the people who elected them,” he states. “So as an Independent, that is not a risk at all because I am not responsible to any party. I am only responsible to the people who elected me.”
Siever confirms he first attempted to run for the local NDP nomination, as he shares many positions in common with them, but his candidacy was not approved by the party.
“I wanted to run as an MP because I thought I have things of value that I can provide to the community,” he explains. “And I originally tried running for the NDP, but they came back and told me after two months I was too prolific and too provocative for them so they couldn’t use me as a candidate. I still wanted to run, and if the NDP wouldn’t have me I was pretty sure the other parties wouldn’t have me. So I decided I was going to run as an Independent anyhow.”
Siever, who is a father of six, a dedicated community volunteer with the SAGE Clan patrol and well-known independent journalist, says his campaign is all about true local representation and solidarity with working people in the region.
“My campaign boils down to one word, and that is solidarity,” he confirms. “I am standing in solidarity primarily with workers, with marginalized people. In solidarity with the environment. I think those three things are critical to the Lethbridge riding as a community, both within the city and within the county. Workers are underrepresented in our society, in general. There is a lot of focus on business owners even though the vast majority of citizens in this community, around the province, and in this country are workers.
“The workers are the ones who are the backbone of the economy. It is the workers who generate the wealth within our community. They generate wealth not only through their labour, but by spending the money they receive from their labour.”
Siever says if elected to Parliament he would vote on an issue by issue basis guided by the principle of supporting policies that do the most good for the most Canadians.
“We need to make sure that everybody’s needs are taken care of,” he says. “It doesn’t matter what our ethnic background is, or economic background is, or our social class is, what our gender, or sexual orientation, or religion, or anything. We shouldn’t have restrictions on our ability to access the same things as everybody else.
“We need as a community to come together to eliminate some of those barriers that marginalize people.”
To this end, Siever says he would support a one per cent wealth tax to pay for better social supports for working class people like universal pharmacare and dental care. He would also support Universal Basic Income, which is a concept which says all people should be guaranteed a minimum income in society regardless of whether or not they have a job.
Siever says he was incredibly disappointed to see Lethbridge Conservative incumbent Rachael Harder vote against private member’s Bill C-273, which sought Guaranteed Basic Income in Canada, when it was presented in Parliament earlier this year.
“Business from the Conservative point of view are the job creators so the lower the taxes the more jobs there are,” he explains. “I fundamentally disagree with that position because I don’t believe businesses create jobs unless there is a demand. And that demand is driven by the consumers, and the consumers are primarily workers. And the only way workers can drive consumer demand is if they have the income to be able to purchase their things and drive up demand.”
Siever says the advantage of running as an Independent is he will be able to vote his conscience on every issue, but admits the drawback is Independent candidates historically have a hard time making traction under the Westminster parliamentary system, which tends to favour parties over individual legislators.
“There is also a downside to it that I don’t have the party infrastructure behind me; so I can’t make big campaign promises,” he adds. “I can’t promise to cut taxes or hike taxes. I can’t promise childcare subsidies or farmer subsidies, or anything like that, right? The only thing I can promise is to be a voice in Ottawa to represent the people who elected me. So that’s going to be the focus of my campaign: who can be elected to be the better representative.”
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