Voice still strong as independent, says MLA

Todd Loewen,
MLA for Central Peace – Notley

Richard Froese
South Peace News

Central Peace – Notley MLA Todd Loewen remains committed to his constituents as an independent MLA.

“In many ways, life is no different,” says Loewen.

“I continue to advocate to the government for the needs of my constituents both while I am here in the area and while I’m in Edmonton.”

Exercising his right to free speech, he was kicked out of the United Conservative Party caucus by its members in a vote May 13.

Loewen posted a letter in the morning of May 13 that called for party leader and Premier Jason Kenney to resign.

Loewen stated he no longer had confidence in Kenney’s leadership, including how the premier is handling the COVID-19 pandemic, which includes lockdowns.

Since then, the MLA has received strong support from constituents.

“The response has been overwhelmingly positive and humbling,” Loewen wrote in an email while responding to questions from South Peace News.

“Many people have contacted me or approached me just to say how much my open letter resonated with them.

“I think that the level of trust in this premier is at an all-time low and most people recognize the need for a change.”

Loewen adds as an independent MLA he has many advantages.

“I have the ability to speak more freely and to ask more pointed questions in the legislature,” Loewen says.

“There seems to be a wider opportunity to speak out on various issues and to speak honestly without being tied to a premier who is offside with Albertans.”

Loewen says he is also working on several amendments to existing bills under consideration.

As an independent MLA, he says constituents are not being short-changed by the UCP government.

“Some people have suggested that the riding may receive less attention if represented by somebody outside the government caucus,” Loewen says.

“I think that fear may be overblown.”

Loewen trusts the UCP government is committed to all constituencies, no matter what party the serving MLA represents.

“Government exists to serve all Albertans regardless of party affiliation and nobody should feel pressured into a vote because they fear retribution,” Loewen says.

Peace River MLA Dan Williams is also lending support to residents who want direct connection to the governing caucus, Loewen says.

Outside the UCP caucus, Loewen still has close ties with the cabinet ministers and other UCP MLAs.

“I hold no ill will against those MLAs and continue to have good relationships with many of them,” Loewen says.

“When I advocate for a project or try to address the concern of a constituent, I always try to do it on its own merits.

“We shouldn’t be advocating for something or somebody to win favour, but because it’s the right thing to do.”

Loewen is also one of 16 UCP MLAs who signed a letter to Kenney in early April asking for the premier to resign over strict COVID restrictions.

“I believe the issues with his leadership go beyond lockdowns and COVID and have become a matter of trust,” Loewen says.

“I said in my open letter to him that trust cannot be recovered once lost.

“I felt that I had arrived at a point where it was important to be bluntly truthful.

“Beyond politics, we all have to live with integrity and speak out when the time comes.

“My opportunities to be an effective voice for the people were limited by the dysfunction and the leadership style coming from the top,” concludes Loewen.

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