Hoback takes an early look at the next federal election

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Tyler Clarke
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Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback is seen outside of the Daily Herald office on Monday. 

With Stephen Harper pulling his election sweater out of retirement, Prince Albert MP Randy Hoback is also making early preparations for next year’s federal election.

 

Although its Oct. 19, 2015, tentative date puts it almost two years away, there’s much to do prior to the election, Hoback said this week.

“I’m definitely running again -- that’s my game plan, for sure,” he began, noting that in addition to getting all of his ducks in a row, as chair of the Saskatchewan caucus he has additional election work to do.

“There are a lot of things that need to be put in place in these districts, and we have some MPs who are not running again,” he said, noting that these “ducks” also need to be lined up.

Prior to next week’s return to the House of Commons, Hoback plans to meet with the Saskatchewan caucus to see “what needs to be done for Saskatchewan.”

“It’s a good chance to hear from party members about what issues they’re hearing in coffee row all around Saskatchewan,” he said.

Additional feedback is coming from passport clinics Hoback his hosting in rural communities throughout his riding -- events Hoback said “gives me a chance to talk with people without an agenda, and talk to people who might not otherwise pick up the phone to call me, to write me or send me an email.”

Pulling from his government’s successful weathering of the recent economic downturn, Hoback said that he’s confident that the Conservative government’s lifespan isn’t up.

“There’s a cycle where people have gone through and said there’s an ‘X’ number of years and it’s time for change,” he said. “But, I also think Canadians are smart. They don’t necessarily want change just to have change. A lot of times there’s a reason behind it. “

Thomas Mulcair is “not bringing anything new to the table” and Justin Trudeau is “a likeable guy … (but that) doesn’t mean that he’s the best leader for our country.”

Hoback said that he’s “pretty confident” that the Conservatives will enter the 2015 election year with a long-touted balanced budget.

“It sounds like it’s how much the surplus will be rather than if the books are balanced,” he said. “That’s providing we don’t see something coming out of left field that causes another shock in the financial system.

“We’ve made great strides compared to where we were in 2008 when we had to go into deficit, where we had to shore up the Canadian economy through structurally sound infrastructure improvements.”

I’m definitely running again -- that’s my game plan, for sure. Randy Hoback

Narrowing in on the next House of Commons session, set to start on Jan. 27, Hoback said that he has some specific goals.

The long-talked about three-tiered infrastructure funding model will roll out this year, “for sure,” Hoback said.

Long-touted by the City of Prince Albert’s elected officials as an important piece of the puzzle in replacing the city’s aging infrastructure, the three-tiered approach would have the federal government, provincial government and municipal governments chip in the cost of select projects at one-third each.

“Those dollars have been set aside and now they’re just working on a formula to distribute them to municipalities,” Hoback said. “It’s just dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s.”

This year, Hoback also hopes to see the province make use of the Canada Job Skills Program that was announced in last year’s budget -- an initiative that funds job skills training federally, provincially and by the employer at one-thirdeach.

So far, provincial governments across the nation are keeping the program at a standstill, Hoback said, adding that in addition to tradespeople, there’s also a need for people of “a wide range of skillsets.”

“We need a wide range of skillsets, and if we don’t have those people we’re just going to see things stay put and the growth kind of stall out,” he said.

“It is a bottle neck to the growth of Saskatchewan -- just not enough people.

“When you’ve got an unemployment rate of 3.5, four per cent, you basically have full employment,” he said. “It basically means, anybody who wants a job has a job. The reality is, we’re missing opportunity because we do not have enough people.”

Bullying and cyber bullying will also take a front seat during the upcoming session, Hoback said.

The 2014 federal budget will drop some time in late February or early March, Hoback said, noting that although committees are up for a restructuring he’s still on the Standing Committee on Finance as well as the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

 

Organizations: House of Commons, Conservatives, Standing Committee on Finance Standing Committee on Agriculture

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Prince Albert

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  • David Makarapa
    January 22, 2014 - 11:50

    Preparing for an election he needs to meet with the Saskatchewan caucus to find our out what needs to be done in Saskatchewan.? As an MP shouldn't he know this now? Job skills programme in the last budget? You mean the one the government $2.5 advertising during the NHL playoffs and has never implemented?