STELLARTON: Al Muir has always been “in it to win it.”
The 63-year-old restaurateur and owner of Andrea’s Seats is carrying the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) flag in Central Nova for the upcoming federal election.
What some may see as a nearly impossible task to overtake the Central Nova seat from a predominately blue-red riding as a new political party with limited resources, Muir disagrees.
“I am running a campaign of ideas. Ideas that will deal with the long standing problems in Central Nova that never get fixed regardless of how many elections cycles come and go,” he said. “I’m looking at local issues primarily health care, pensions, [and] regional economic growth is what I’m most interested in. We [also] have issues here with Boat Harbour, that are on top of my agenda.”
Muir, who has been a long-standing vocal proponent for gun owner’s rights, said there are a number of problems that have to be dealt with, but one the PPC’s first priorities is to make government more Canadian-focused to eliminate some overseas expenditures.
“What we’re doing is essentially is we’re looking at shrinking government, and getting it focused on the areas that are most urgent,” he said. “For example healthcare has been an issue near the top of the issue list for a couple decades now, and the question is why hasn’t this been resolved?”
In a rural riding with an aging and declining population, Muir said it is essential to come to grips with the real problems with health care that linger regardless of successive previous Liberal and Conservative governments both federal and provincial.
“We have to correct this decade’s old health care problem. If we can’t correct a problem that’s been a problem for a couple of decades, like health care, how are we supposed to fix anything else?” he asked. “The old parties and old ways are not working and we see it in our hospitals every day. They have failed over decades to correct these problems.”
A major concern for Muir is the fact 50,000 Nova Scotians don’t have access to a family doctor – his family currently doesn’t have access – and questions what’s going on in this province as doctors are the lowest paid and the highest taxed in the country.
He also wants to make changes to the Canadian Pension Plan so if one person in a relationship dies, their pension would be transferred over to their survivor rather than being paid out in a lump sum, which would only be a fraction of what it would be if they lived 20-years after retirement.
“We’re a bottom-up party, so these types of things can be proposed to the party, rather than everything being delivered top-down.”
Muir said he’s concerned about government expenditures and keeping a tight fiscal ship, resulting in simpler, more effective government that concentrates on the major concerns.
Speaking on his party’s immigration policy, he indicated the PPC’s target is 150,000 “economic immigrants” who can contribute economically to the country.
“Of course, if you get emergency situations like Syria, then we’re going to respond to that,” Muir said. “If someone could make the argument that somebody’s a racist over 150,000 than you can make the argument because the Liberals aren’t 500,000 they’re racist – and it’s not a valid argument in either case.”
He indicated campaigning has essentially been a learning process, as the PPC had difficulty at first getting into the polls, as some pollsters were including them under the “other” category, and their leader Max Bernier was being excluded from the debates.
“… We’re starting to see improvements to be able to get our message out.”