Clayten Willington is an Independent candidate in the Red Deer-Mountain View riding, seeking election for the first time.
During an Albertan interview on Sept. 8, Willington said if elected a member of Parliament (MP) he would make the promotion and support of individual freedoms a top priority.
“My issues are freedom,” said Willington, 41, who owns barbershops in Red Deer and Sylvan Lake. “I’m sick of the federal parties coming from Ottawa to tell us what to do. I think we are in need of a grassroots movement to take to Ottawa and tell them what we want.”
He said if elected he would consult his constituents on what they would like to see for the region.
“It’s up to the people to determine the platform; not the politicians putting it together. My platform is based on freedom to choose.”
Willington says he is not happy with the way federal politicians have handled the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My businesses have been locked down three times,” he said. “I would like to see the restrictions gone. We have been at this for a year and a half and they are using these draconian measures and government overreach to lock these businesses down. That’s their only tool in their toolbox.
“We should have therapeutics, rapid testing, especially at barbershops and personal services. I don’t know of a personal service that wouldn’t extend their appointment times by 15 minutes to run a rapid test so they could stay open and their employees could make money.”
The federal government “hasn’t even talked” about alternatives to the current COVID measures, he said.
Asked about his position on COVID vaccination, he said he is “pro-choice” and that he is against mandatory masking.
“I don’t think science is settled on it (masking),” he said, noting he will not be enforcing mandatory masking at his shops.
“Like I said, I’m completely pro-choice and freedom. As far as I’m concerned, it should be don’t ask, don’t tell. It’s not up to small business to enforce.
“It is ridiculous that the government passes these mandates on to small businesses to enforce and our businesses suffer.”
Willington says he does not support violence against any candidate from any party.
Asked for his thoughts on incumbent MP Earl Dreeshen’s time as MP, he said, “I think it’s time for change. No MP on the Conservative party stood up against these lockdowns. Not one word was said.”
Willington withdrew from the Sept. 8 candidates’ forum in Innisfail after being told masking was mandatory.