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Candidate Q&A: Katelyn Zimmer, Liberal Party of Canada

Liberal candidate Katelyn Zimmer's responses to a Jaw Express questionnaire
Katelyn Zimmer candidate profile supplied
Katelyn Zimmer is the Liberal candidate for Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan

The Moose Jaw Express/ have sent out a questionnaire to each of the candidates in the Moose Jaw — Lake Centre — Lanigan riding. Candidates have also been asked to provide a short video introducing themselves. We will be publishing these results in order they were received.

Name: Katelyn Zimmer

Age: 38

Running for: Liberal Party of Canada

Profession: Veterinarian

Currently residing in (city or neighbourhood): RM of Longlaketon, 3km north of Craven

Previous political experience: currently the Vice President of the Saskatchewan Veterinary Medical Association (SVMA)
Who is your political hero? All those (women) who have run before me. 

  • Kim Campbell (Progressive Conservative), as the first female Prime Minister of Canada and who I had the opportunity to meet when I was 7 years old.
  • Chrystia Freeland, for her impressive resume and keeping it classy as she’s ascending the ranks.
  • Hilary Clinton because, although she is a polarizing individual, she has paved the way for women like me to enter politics and that will be her legacy.

What inspired you to enter the election race?

The strong feeling that more women are needed as elected representatives, a concern for the quality of candidates given the harsh political climate, and an intolerance for inaction and apathy. It was definitely NOT an excess of spare time or a love of public speaking.

What topics are most important to you in this federal election?

My top 3 issues are 

  1. Health, well-being and support of families: I was lucky to become a patient of a wonderful family doctor who delivered both my babies and who has cared for both my physical and mental health, but not everyone is as fortunate, especially in more rural areas. As a working mom with two young kids, accessibility and affordability of childcare is important to me.  
  2. Vitality of farming and small cities/communities: As an SVMA council member, we are working on recruitment and retention of veterinarians to rural Saskatchewan, an initiative that can be expanded to include a variety of professionals and services so that small communities can thrive. I want to ensure that federal programs are implemented that truly work for everyone in Saskatchewan given our unique resources, geography and industries. 
  3. Climate change and the environment: This was my NUMBER ONE concern and determined my vote in the last federal election. It would serve us all well to make it our priority this time. The Liberal government has put forth the most ambitious plan, and I would advocate for Saskatchewan to make programs like the carbon tax fair for all. 

Are you concerned about the short campaign timeline for this election?

Absolutely, and as a new candidate it feels like there is never enough time to learn everything you would want and need to know. However, now that the election has been called, it’s forced me to focus and get to work.

What supports, if any, do you feel are needed to help businesses and residents with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Unfortunately, we are still very much in the midst of the pandemic. Residents who can receive the vaccine MUST do so in order to protect those who can’t, and so that we can reach herd immunity. The Liberal government did a good job making sure individuals and businesses were taken care of financially throughout the pandemic. Moving forward, I see an increased need for mental health support and services as we emerge from the trauma of the last year and a half.

What, if any, agricultural federal programs and initiatives do you feel are necessary to help support farmers and ranchers in this year's conditions?

Short term financial support for farmers, especially for those just starting out, will be necessary considering inputs are greater than outputs for most this year. It will also be critical to maintain channels through which crop can be sold, foster and expand trade relationships, and explore alternative markets such as green feed, wheat pulp processing, biofuel, etc.

For ranchers (and anyone with livestock), we are going to need to procure and research alternative feed sources. The American government subsidizing feed purchased in Western Canada is driving up prices and contributing to this shortage. 

The flow of animals to feedlots and packing plants needs to be maintained in order to prevent backlog, which could result in animal and human welfare issues. We need to ensure workers in this industry are adequately protected from the COVID outbreaks experienced throughout the past year.  

Is there an issue that people are focusing too much?

I am annoyed by the publicity that anti-vaxxers receive and the use of large animal drugs as a treatment for COVID! We should be spending our effort on education and promotion of vaccines, not giving protesters a platform to spread misinformation. 

Is there an issue that doesn’t get enough attention?

An issue that is very important to me is the vitality of small communities. It saddens me to think of seniors having to leave their home because they don’t have access to a primary health care provider. No resident should have to drive over 100 km to access services and amenities. 

Why did you choose to run for your particular party?

I have always been Liberal-leaning but never closely affiliated with a specific party, and have voted across the board. I chose to run for the Liberal Party because, of all the parties, it’s the one that most closely aligns with my personal and political beliefs. 

What is the biggest issue facing your party’s chance at success?

In Saskatchewan, it’s the leader. There are many reasons why people vote the way they do (the party, the leader, the local candidate) and I’m hoping people will think about voting for me on my own merit. I believe a representative that understands both the rural and urban challenges is essential for our riding, and I feel I am best suited to do that. 

How will you engage and encourage young voters to participate in this election?

I would consider young voters to be very important supporters, whether they relate to me as a woman, a U of S alumni or an animal-lover. I’m engaging and interacting with voters on social media. I’ve found this method of outreach to be very important given the pandemic and geographical size of the riding. I also encourage voters to reach out to each candidate, have a conversation, and consider volunteering for either a political campaign or with Elections Canada. 

What is your party’s leader’s biggest flaw?

A he-said/he-said relationship with Premier Scott Moe. I can’t help but think that Saskatchewan would benefit from having a Liberal Member of Parliament once again. Someone who genuinely loves this province, is not self-interested and who can co-operate with the provincial government to affect change.

Once elected, your job is to represent your entire riding. How do you plan on representing individuals who didn’t vote for you?

As a veterinarian, I am trained to listen first and foremost, and I have a genuine curiosity for getting to know people. I would use these skills to connect with individuals who didn’t vote for me, work to understand their perspective and continue to evaluate my own. My diverse group of friends, family, and coworkers are a testament to my ability to find common ground with people on all sides of the political spectrum. 

What informs your political stance? What books, publications, relationships or experiences?

My own family, the family that I married into, conversations with respected friends, and informed acquaintances. I follow several Canadian news apps and listen to local radio. I’ve also enjoyed reading biographies of politicians that have come before me.

What local project or service would you advocate for more federal spending?

I would advocate for more federal spending on creative researched-based ideas for adding value to the resources and products produced in Saskatchewan. Investing in research and development will ensure we are at the forefront of innovation and provide new opportunities to grow local industry. This, in turn, will create well paying jobs and bring higher prices for the resources we grow, mine, and extract. 

What is something people don’t know about you?

My husband knew I was “the one” when I ordered a Boh on our first date.

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