Conservative Party of Canada candidate Jeremy Patzer is returning to Ottawa as the Member of Parliament for the vast rural riding of Cypress Hills-Grasslands in southwest Saskatchewan.
Patzer was re-elected with a large majority in his second federal election. He received 23,855 of votes in the Sept. 20 federal election, which represents 71.9 per cent of the vote in the riding (based on 181 of 182 polls reporting, or 99.45 per cent of votes already counted).
“I feel good about the outcome locally here,” he said. “Based on what I was hearing when I was going around the riding talking to people, the numbers matched about where I figured that it would be. Yes, great support everywhere. I can’t say thank you enough to the people of Cypress Hills-Grasslands for giving me another mandate to represent them in Ottawa. It’s a good feeling to earn their trust once again.”
He noted the shorter duration of this election campaign was the main difference compared to the previous campaign in 2019.
“It was just a tighter timeline to try to get all around the riding to get signs out and the whole works, and to try to get to all the communities as much as I could,” he said. “I wouldn’t say there were any surprises. It was just a ton of hard work in a very short timeline. The last election of 2019 was more of a marathon. This one was definitely more of a sprint.”
The issues voters spoke to him about during this campaign were similar to what he heard on the campaign trail two years ago.
“Still one of the most common things I hear at the door is people don’t like the carbon tax and they want to see it go,” he said. “Obviously with the pandemic everybody is getting a little frustrated that we’re still dealing with this and where we’re at. So probably the two most common things that I heard were pandemic related stuff and then frustration with the carbon tax and the way Ottawa treats the west.”
Conservative Party leadership changed between the two elections, and Erin O’Toole became the new party leader in August 2020. The party’s platform in this election changed on certain issues compared to two years ago under former leader Andrew Scheer. According to Patzer there were some responses from voters during this campaign to the O’Toole election platform.
“There’s some people that definitely raised their concerns and had a few questions about the campaign, for sure about the platform,” he said. “But generally speaking, most people, when they saw that Erin was talking about a positive message about jobs and getting the economy back and our five-point plan to secure the future for Canadians, I think that resonated with a lot of people.”
The party’s policy with regard to firearms laws was an issue that was a cause of concern for some voters in the riding during his campaign.
“There was just some confusion around the firearms issue, but when I had a chance to talk to people one-on-one about that issue and how it was going to be handled, I was able to get the point across clearly what we were going to do and that definitely eased a lot of people’s concerns from the way that it was announced and the way it was handled,” he said. “I think there was a question or two around our environmental policy, just talking about carbon tax and carbon pricing.”
The election outcome in the Cypress Hills-Grasslands riding was a landslide victory for Patzer, but there was some shift in voter support towards the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) and the Maverick Party.
“I was expecting that,” he said. “I don’t think we were too surprised with the result, to still have 72 per cent. I knew my support level was still very high and I knew that there was going to be some people that voted for me last time that would vote for some other parties.”
The Conservative Party received 71.9 per cent of voter support in this election, with 99.45 per cent of votes already counted, compared to 81.1 per cent in the 2019 election. Patzer felt voter turnout also could have played a role in this election.
He received 23,855 votes in this election from a voter turnout of 66.88 per cent. The voter turnout was 77.2 per cent in the 2019 election and he then received 31,140 votes.
“But I think when you look at the numbers, it’s probably on par with about where we thought that they would be, based on the response I was getting from the doors and just interactions over the phone and by e-mail,” he said.
PPC candidate Charles Hislop received 6.5 per cent of the votes in this election. This was an increase in voter support compared to the 2019 election, when another PPC candidate received 2.8 per cent of the vote.
The Maverick Party participated in its first federal election in 2021. Party candidate Mark Skagen received 3.9 per cent of votes.
Voter support for the New Democratic Party in this election was also higher than two years ago. Alex McPhee received 10.2 per cent of votes cast. The party received 9.5 per cent of votes in the 2019 election.
Liberal Party of Canada candidate Mackenzie Hird received 4.2 per cent of votes, which was the same received by another candidate two years ago. Green Party of Canada candidate Carol Vandale received 0.8 per cent of votes cast, which was less than the 1.9 per cent of voter support in the 2019 election. Independent candidate Maria Lewans received 0.6 per cent of votes, which was the same as she received two years ago.
Patzer felt it will be possible for the Conservative Party to win back voters in this riding who voted for the party previously and decided to vote for another party in this election.
“I think we just need to make sure that we have a very clear message nationally about where we are on very key conservative issues,” he said. “The mainstream media did a good job of twisting Erin’s tongue on the issue of firearms and on a few other issues as well, and then it became incumbent upon me to be able to just properly communicate what our actual position was. Sometimes there’s misleading headlines out there, sometimes there’s a twist of words that is done. So I think it’s important though to just have as much interaction with people as you possibly can so you can clarify properly what our party position is or what my position is as an individual candidate.”
Nationally this federal election resulted in the same outcome than two years ago, with the Liberal Party forming a minority government. It is not the outcome the Conservative Party wanted, but Patzer still felt positive about the result.
“I think going into the campaign we thought if we could keep the Liberals to a minority government that would be a success, but as the campaign went on, we saw our numbers increase and the Liberals numbers decrease,” he said. “There was a strong feeling that we had a chance to win this election. So I think there’s a lot of optimism there. It’s disappointing that we didn’t win, of course, but I guess the consolation is that we ended up keeping the numbers pretty much identical to where they were before. The only reason why we were in this campaign in the first place is because Justin Trudeau figured he needed a majority government, but he didn’t get it. So I guess that’s a small victory of sorts.”
This was the second election in a row that Canadian voters did not give any party a majority and send their political representatives back to Ottawa to work within a minority government scenario. Patzer noted that he has seen lots of articles being written by different media outlets about growing divisions between people and that they are angrier with government these days.
“I think that rings very true with the way that this government has handled itself over the last six year,” he said with reference to the Trudeau government. “They’re very divisive, they’re pitting region against region and different groups of people against different groups of people, and that needs to end. People are sick and tired of the division in politics. They want to see parliamentarians work together and to focus on the issues that can unite Canadians, and that’s something that Conservatives have always done, but for some reason this prime minister insists on dividing people all the time. So that needs to end.”
Patzer said he will be looking for ways to find common ground with other politicians when he returns to Ottawa for the new parliamentary session.
“There’s some key fundamentals that we got to hold true to as Conservatives, but we still go to look at ways that we can unite this country and we can unite parliamentarians, for sure.”
There are some specific issues he also plans to give attention to in his role as Member of Parliament for Cypress Hills-Grasslands.
“Representing one of the largest rural ridings in Canada, it’s important to always talk about the rural issues and make sure I bring that rural perspective to every issue that we talk about in Ottawa,” he said. “I’ve done that in the past and I’ll continue to do that in the future. Obviously, oil and gas and agriculture are the two big drivers of the economy around here. We have a growing and a very robust tourism industry here in the southwest that is I would say very underappreciated. â€¦ I think those are some of the key issues for sure, but again going forward, we’ll continue to oppose the carbon tax and some of these bad policies that the Liberals keep putting out that directly negatively impact being from a small town, being from a rural community, being a farmer or working in the energy sector. So we got to protect those jobs and we got to protect those industries.”
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