Independent candidates ready to take on parties

You won’t find Kirk Schmidt’s election campaign office in a rented storefront plastered with election signs. No, his headquarters are out in the garage of his Calgary home.

“It’s a mess,” Schmidt, 26, told CBC. “There’s a lot of signs, a lot stakes, piles of polling information.”

The yellow and black lawn signs are the tools of Schmidt’s independent campaign in the riding of Calgary West, where he is aiming to unseat Conservative party incumbent Rob Anders, who has won four times in a row.

A computer analyst with mainly “small-c” conservative views, Schmidt said he wants to give voters an alternative to the status quo. 'I figured I'd put myself forward as an independent because I don't necessarily subscribe to any of the major parties,' says Kirk Schmidt.‘I figured I’d put myself forward as an independent because I don’t necessarily subscribe to any of the major parties,’ says Kirk Schmidt. (Courtesy of Kirk Schmidt)

“I figured I’d put myself forward as an independent because I don’t necessarily subscribe to any of the major parties,” he said. “Sometimes I’ll agree with one, sometimes I’ll agree with the other.”

“There are plenty of people in this riding who believe the same way, or else are conservative but don’t like the incumbent,” he added.

“I just want to see change in the representation in the riding,” he said.

Regardless of their place on the political spectrum, independent candidates are at a disadvantage financially when it comes to competing against the major parties. Independent candidates can raise only $1,100 per donor, and can only issue tax receipts during the actual election campaign. Political parties can raise $1,100 each year from each donor, meaning their war chest is much richer.

To read the rest:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canadavotes/story/2008/09/19/f-election-independents.htm