It was nearly three years ago when Peter Guthrie set his sights on running for public office.
Twenty one months later the 49-year-old businessman is the first horse out of the gate to announce his intention to seek the nomination as MLA for the new riding of Airdrie-Cochrane under the flagship of the United Conservative Party (UCP).
“I didn’t spend my whole life wanting to be in politics. May 5, 2015 is when I decided I wanted to run, ” said the eight-year Cochranite, who is running on the slogan of “Doing right for your Alberta. ” He will make his public announcement on Jan. 27 at the Venue Bar & Grill at 6 p.m.
“As far as being the first out of the gate – this is what I want to do and I’m not going to play any games. ”
According to Morgan Nagel, president of the Banff-Cochrane UCP constituency association, “the rules and timelines for the nomination races won’t be finalized until after the founding convention in May, but things are looking to move along quickly. ”
The founding convention is scheduled from May 3 to 5 in Red Deer.
Following the election writ drop, the new electoral boundaries will shift: Airdrie-Cochrane and Banff-Kananaskis, which will include Bragg Creek, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda.
Husband to Tracy and father of two, Guthrie prides himself on being a family man who is stepping into politics at the right time and place in his life.
His platform focus is threefold – cleaning up bureaucracy, which he ties in with advocating for lowering taxation, repealing the carbon tax and the ridding of antiquated legislation; improving the livelihoods of small businesses; and advocating for protection of the forestry sector from government encroachment, spurring investor uncertainty.
“We need to create the best environment for business in all of Canada … any kind of uncertainty is horrible for markets, ” said Guthrie of his desire to restore the “Alberta Advantage. ”
As a former small business owner, Guthrie said he is particularly cognizant of the struggles faced by many through increased taxation, operating costs and minimum wage – where the restaurant industry is facing some of the hardest hits on already skinny margins.
To soften the blow, he would be interested in exploring tax credits for businesses that have been impacted – between the economic turmoil and what the UCP assert are unfair NDP-policies that have come online.
With respect to the UCP’s approach to repeal the carbon tax, in the face of the looming federal carbon tax legislation by the end of this year, Guthrie maintains the party has a strong legal case to challenge Ottawa’s constitutional authority to impose such a tax.
He is an advocate for choice in education – offering his own family story of his daughter, Camryn, who is thriving at Cochrane High School versus his son, Mitchell, who was bullied and not being challenged in the public school system.
The family was faced with a costly choice to put their son into a private school – one that Guthrie said they wouldn’t change for the world and paved the way for their son to embark into post-secondary, where he is now thriving.
“All of our children are different … our story is a prime example of why we need school choice – two kids grow up in the same household, same parents, same values but have different needs to succeed. ”
A diverse background as a professional engineer and in the agricultural, sales and entrepreneurial worlds – Guthrie recently sold his franchise retail store in Calgary, a Mr. Lube, in preparation for stepping into the political arena with both feet first.
Ontario-born and Alberta raised, Guthrie is a chemical engineering grad from the University of Alberta who worked his early years in Northern Alberta’s pulp and paper sector.
Moving to Vancouver in the mid-1990s, he worked in engineering, sales and marketing, with international travel to mill sites, while Tracy worked as a high school teacher before the couple started their family.
Guthrie is confident his comprehensive background and life experience will sit well among voting UCP members as he seeks the nomination.
“I think one of the problems we have with the NDP government right now is that they won’t have a well-rounded caucus. ”
To date, Guthrie’s outreach has been focused on one-on-one meetings within the constituency with individuals and businesses.
Next steps include a rally to be held in Bearspaw in the next couple of months.
Guthrie can be reached through peterguthrie.ca or Facebook/Peter Guthrie for MLA.
Those seeking any political party nominations ahead of the 2019 provincial election are encouraged to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.