Tariq Elnaga believes the West isn't being properly represented in Ottawa and wants to help change that.
On June 2, Elnaga was named the Maverick Party of Canada's candidate for the Banff-Airdrie riding and is seeking to unseat long-time MP Blake Richards.
Professionally, he works in the oil and gas sector. His recreational and social life are both connected to agriculture. He's bothered that neither of these sectors is being properly represented at the federal level.
"On top of that, I look at it, and I say, the West has lost its voice in Ottawa. Sadly, our western MPs haven't been a strong voice for advocating for western Canada, hence why I chose the Maverick Party."
During his campaign, he will focus on bringing independence and autonomy back for the West.
He says our energy, finances, natural resources, and law enforcement have all been grossly mismanaged by Ottawa.
"These are all things that I would like to see some control given back to western Canada and for us to be able to manage our own affairs because Ottawa clearly either takes the West for granted or not into consideration at all."
Elnaga says his team of volunteers and board members have already started door-knocking in Cochrane and Airdrie, and are reaching out through social media.
As restrictions ease, they'll be organizing meet and greets and town hall meetings in the constituency's larger centres.
It was Elnaga's love of rodeo and rural life that brought him to Alberta in 2012 from his birthplace of the United Arab Emirates.
A world traveller, he wanted to experience a rodeo and came to the Calgary Stampede in 2010.
Having never witnessed a rodeo, let alone owned any animals, he was absolutely fascinated with the rural culture. Within two years, he sold his home and moved to Airdrie, where he became a regular volunteer for rodeo and agricultural events.
Diving into his newfound passion, Elnaga bought his own horse and took up team roping, a sport in which he now competes as he continues to add more horses to his “string.”
He's currently current vice-president of the Cochrane Roping Club, he’s the chute experience director with the Airdrie Pro Rodeo, and a member of the Airdrie and District Ag Society.
Elnaga became a Canadian citizen in 2016.
Currently, the Maverick Party has a total of nine candidates in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia.
Elnaga says the party intends to run candidates in about 50 western ridings that have a strong conservative core of voters.
He says it's not the aim of the Maverick Party to split the conservative vote to benefit the Liberal Party.
"We've been very strategic at picking ridings that have been overwhelmingly voting for a federal conservative party but are saying they want western representation. That's why we're picking those ridings."
The next federal election can be held no later than October 16, 2023.