Meet the Candidates Federal Election 2019 edition is The Gateway’s series of interviews with candidates running in Edmonton Strathcona. This is the third article of five. To read the first article click here. For the second, click here.
UPDATE: On 18 October 2019 a significant portion of the article was updated after candidate Sam Lilly responded to requests for interviews.
With the October 21 federal election fast approaching, The Gateway sat down and interviewed candidates from the major parties running in Edmonton Strathcona.
In the third instalment of this series, Conservative Party of Canada candidate for Edmonton Strathcona, Sam Lilly was interviewed. Initially, neither Lilly nor his campaign responded to five requests for interviews. After an article stating that Lilly did not respond to requests for interviews was published, Lilly reached out for comment.
The Gateway first reached out to Lilly on September 26. An email request was also sent that day. On October 3, another phone call and email request was submitted to Lilly’s campaign.
Additionally, The Gateway reached out to Lilly again on October 9 prior to the publication of this article. After hours of the article being published, Lilly responded to a request for an interview.
Lilly gave no reason for not responding to requests.
The Gateway had an interview with him on October 16.
According to Lilly’s website, he grew up in Fraser Valley, British Columbia. He served five years in the Canadian Armed Forces as a combat engineer. Afterwards, he spent 11 years working in casino investigations and compliance.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
The Gateway: Why did you decide to run in this election?
I decided to run because I am a strong believer in service to the community. I served our country as a proud Canadian soldier, and I have been involved in many charitable and service organizations, like the Rotary Club. It is important that Edmonton Strathcona have a representative who thinks of being a Member of Parliament as a service to the community rather than a job or an entitled reward.
What is the single issue that is most important to you?
The single biggest issue to me is affordability. I was raised in a single parent household and I know what its like when you are checking under the cushions for gas money at the end of the week. The federal government needs to do a better job of helping workers and families of all sorts get ahead, rather than focusing on what is good for wealthy business executives.
What is your stance on climate change? How will your party concretely work to address it?
Climate change is an important global issue and this is where I believe the Conservative Party plan stands out as being most effective. Rather than punishing individuals for essential activities like heating their homes, it is time to focus on the large emitters. A portion of their profits would be set aside for a fund to help advance technology that will reduce carbon emissions around the globe. We would also create incentives for green technology companies to create green jobs and scale up production right here in Canada. What is most important is that this is not a tax that simply goes into government revenue to be thrown around and mismanaged as we have seen in the last four years.
What is your party doing to support post-secondary education?
We have announced that a Conservative government would guarantee to maintain the funding structure of the Canada Social Transfer, which provinces use in part to fund post secondary education.
If you were to choose one initiative or area of policy, what makes your party stand out from the rest?
Only the Conservative party is discussing nation building projects like pipelines and a national energy corridor. Only the Conservative party is on the side of workers who rely on getting our products to market, while other parties either express outright opposition to projects like the Trans Mountain expansion or fail to adequately support it.
Now for a joke question. Dead or alive, who is your favourite Canadian Prime Minister or the one who inspires you the most?
John Diefenbaker is my favourite Prime Minister. He brought in the first Bill of Rights for Canada and his famous quote sums up for me what it means to be Canadian: “I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”