Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson wants to talk.
The People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate for Red Deer-Lacombe doesn’t care how controversial a topic might be – she wants to discuss and debate all topics openly and freely, and hopes she’ll get to do just that in the House of Commons as the riding’s next Member of Parliament following the October federal election.
Once a Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) supporter, the party rejected her twice as a candidate for being “too outspoken,” but she believes that’s exactly what the riding – and Canada – needs, and that the PPC is now the party to provide that.
“I was rejected twice by the Conservative Party because they thought I was too outspoken against gender fluidity being taught to kids…When I made this noise, I was rejected and so finally someone introduced me to Maxime Bernier,” she said during a recent rally at the Radisson Hotel in Red Deer.
“He took a chance on me. He knew that it was going to bring backlash, but because he stands for freedom of speech, freedom of conscience and being able to live out your values and teach your children those values, he ran me.”
A Christian TV talk show host, Thompson’s first foray into the political realm began with her opposition to B.C.’s sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) teachings, first through her show which she ended up leaving as a result, and then as a would-be unsuccessful Burnaby school board hopeful, finishing 11th out of 13 candidates vying for seven seats.
In February, she became one of the first candidates to run under the PPC banner, challenging NDP Leader and now Burnaby-South MP Jagmeet Singh. She came in fourth with 10.7 per cent of the vote, behind NDP, Liberal and CPC candidates.
At the time, she criticized Singh for his lack of local connection to the community, but having recently moved from B.C. to central Alberta, says she’s now taking a lesson from him and finding other ways to find connections in a community she believes has the “true conservatives of our nation.”
She says she’s always paid attention to Alberta’s energy sector, and believes those here are just as passionate about free speech as she is. When it comes to climate change, or foreign aid, she believes what the CPC has done hasn’t been in line with local voters.
“I don’t see how the CPC, how the MP that’s here now is going to be able to represent them when most people don’t really believe in the Paris Climate Accord. They don’t believe in paying big UN dollars and throwing our money away – they believe in taking care of Canada first and that is not what the CPC has been doing, nor is it what Andrew Scheer is saying,” she said. “I’m here to represent the true people on the grassroots level – you’ll never find Blaine Calkins talking about what I’m talking about.”
Thompson wasn’t originally the PPC candidate for Red Deer-Lacombe.
Ron Vaillant, a Lacombe resident since 2012, had put his name forward for the party, and the Lacombe Globe spoke with him in April on his candidacy.
Annick Baldwin, president of the constituency association, said Vaillant withdrew his name to allow Thompson to run in his stead.
In an exchange on Twitter, however, Vaillant said Thompson had been hand-picked by Bernier to run in Red Deer-Lacombe.
There was no nomination race for the PPC in the area, but the PPC __ twitter account said board members – not party members – had voted to support Thompson as their candidate. She was announced as being “acclaimed” during a May 14 town hall in Red Deer.
“What happened was Max placed laura Lynn in my riding and Paul Mitchell in Red Deer-Mountainview. He has reserved the right to pick and place 20% of the candidates in order to develop his core team of policy makers, lawyers, PR people, etc.,” Vaillant tweeted.
“Although this got us candidates bumped, I am in agreement with the policy and would have made on similar if I was Max. At this time I am in a run for the Foothills riding. I was told it had no candidates and I set up a meet and greet with the EDA May 8.”
Vaillant was announced this month instead as the PPC candidate for Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies, located in northern B.C.
Calkins, Thompson herself, as well as Green Party candidate Desmond Bull, have thrown their names into the race for Red Deer-Lacombe. As of the time of press, no candidates have been announced for the Liberal Party of Canada, nor the federal NDP.
The federal election takes place on Oct. 21.