The United Conservative Party leadership race isn’t the only hot story in provincial politics. Another one that popped up with a bang last week is the arrival on the scene of a contender for the UCP nomination for Lesser Slave Lake MLA. Scott Sinclair surprised a lot of people – even members of his family – with his announcement on Facebook on June 13 that he wants Pat Rehn’s job.
“What a pleasant surprise!” commented one of his relatives, in response to Sinclair’s video stating his intentions.
“I think it’s great!” says Slave Lake town councillor Shawn Gramlich, who also happens to be Sinclair’s brother-in-law. “He’s the perfect person for it.”
Gramlich explains Sinclair is a good listener, “an excellent speaker,” knows the region and would represent the people of the region to government, rather than the other way around.
Sinclair has lived in the Edmonton area for the past while, after having grown up in Slave Lake. He’s the son of Gordon and Val Sinclair, and in his youth was known mainly as a very good hockey player. In recent years, he has been in the auto glass business, part of which brings him through the area regularly.
Sinclair stopped in for an interview on June 16. He said he’s always had an interest in politics generally, and community involvement in particular. He’s also very interested in role small businesses play in making communities prosperous and livable. Asked why he chose the UCP as the party to run for, he said “I believe in a strong economy.” That’s what pays for the much-needed social programs.
Sinclair and his wife Shantelle are the parents of two daughters, aged nine and five. He says he never imagined getting involved in politics while his kids were still young. And he figured if anyone would step up to run for the UCP locally it would have been somebody with municipal council experience. But speaking with some of those folks, the question arose: “Why not me?”
And once he started thinking about it…..
Sinclair says his auto glass business is at a stage where he is able to leave daily operations up to other people. He says he’s aware of the level of engagement the MLA job requires and is prepared to do that if elected.
Sinclair grew up in Slave Lake and left to play hockey. After his junior career he came back home and worked in the oilfield industry. He right away took a leadership role with the local Junior ‘B’ hockey club, the Wolves, coaching them for three years. He also played senior hockey with the Winterhawks and was involved with running the club. He says he learned a lot about leadership, the benefits of hard work, and how to form productive relationships. He learned lots more about those things working his way up through the ranks with the company Glass Masters, he says. After a few years he was leading a team of 130 people. Then he took a leap and started his own auto glass company, starting with next to nothing and building it up.
“We’ve been able to grow over time,” he says. “It’s doing really well.”
Sinclair says he’s “always believed in giving back to the community,” and can cite any number of movers and shakers that made a difference in the quality of life in Slave Lake when he was growing up. Now he wants to be one of those people.
“I’m not saying I’m going to change the world,” he says. “But maybe I can make our riding a little better.”
Look for a Sinclair ‘campaign launch event’ to be announced sometime fairly soon. Sinclair plans to do regular social media updates, and also looks forward to meeting and chatting with people in the riding.
For the time being, the nomination process for a UCP candidate for Lesser Slave Lake hasn’t officially even begun. Lesser Slave UCP Constituency Association President Gordon Ferguson says to expect an announcement this summer on that.
Candidates then have 14 days to submit their applications, with the 50 required signatures of supporters to get on the ballot. Ferguson says as far as he knows, Sinclair is the only one so far to declare for the position, but “I’ve heard rumours,” he says, of others who may be interested.