Locke running for Liberal ticket in Calgary by-election 0
Harvey Locke, Banff-based founder of the Yellowstone to Yukon (Y2Y) Conservation Initiative, has officially thrown his hat in for the nomination of the Liberal Party of Canada hoping to run in an upcoming Calgary by-election.
Locke has put in his nomination for the riding of Calgary Centre where a by-election is expected to be called before Christmas this year to replace MP Lee Richardson - who resigned earlier this year to join Premier Allison Redford's office.
Up against one other nominee, Locke said a Liberal candidate will be chosen by Sept. 15, the winner then running on behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada for the seat in Parliament.
While he is no stranger to politics - a former volunteer president of the Alberta Liberal Party who ran provincially in 1986 - the decision to consider a life in federal politics didn't come easy for the man who has spent the last 10 or more years championing for the Y2Y Conservation Initiative across North America.
"It is a big sacrifice to do this, there is no doubt about that. It was actually a big part of the decision process knowing that the losing scenario is to stay in Banff where we want to be . continuing my work (with Y2Y)," he said.
"The upside scenario is I do what I believe I ought to do as a citizen and to engage in this time where I'm very worried about the future of my country. I'm very worried about the direction of our environmental policy in this country and I think we are really badly off course right now."
Locke said he began considering federal politics this summer after a member of the party approached him to represent them in Calgary Centre. His final decision to put in his name for the nomination came during the Calgary Stampede at a Liberal conference where he received even more support from fellow Liberals.
"It's one of the moments where you do it or you don't ever do it. That is how I see it. If I sat this out then I'd be saying I'm always going to sit it out. But I thought, you know what I can't sit this out," he explained.
Another big factor in his decision was the support of his wife, French-Canadian Marie-Eve Marchand.
Locke's potential entrance into federal politics comes at a time when public support for the Liberal Party of Canada is at an all-time low. Evident by record breaking losses in the last federal election which saw them lose Official Opposition status, the Liberal Party of Canada has failed to show Canadians their vision, said Locke.
But over the past year Locke has been heavily involved with the re-building of the federal party. He was called on to lead a consultation process with Liberal MPs, senators and delegates to determine core Liberal values.
The result from his talks across the country is a list of three core values, he said.
"Liberals are fiscally prudent, socially progressive and environmentally responsible. those three things I believe, very deeply in myself," he said.
"I want to make that the torch that I run my campaign on and I want to make that the Liberal banner. And I think it's powerful . that's my Canada."
While he considers himself an all-around Canadian, Locke and his family have deep roots in the Calgary and Banff area. He was born and raised in Calgary but Locke spent many summers working in Banff. With two degrees from the University of Calgary, Locke practiced law in downtown Calgary for years.
His later projects in life saw him take over as volunteer president for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society and eventually found the Y2Y Conservation Initiative, a joint Canadian and U.S. charitable organization with the goal of creating a cross-border conservation area stretching from Yellowstone National Park to the Yukon.
While conservation is his passion, Locke said he feels a civic responsibility to enter politics, especially now when he fears the direction of the current Conservative government when it comes to environmental responsibility.
Locke said he feels "very competitive," for the Liberal nomination, and as for his odds on the by-election - a seat that's been held by a Conservative since 1968 - he prefers the metaphor David versus Goliath instead of a horses versus machine guns.
"Horses against machine guns are very long odds and David and Goliath, well, it worked."