Throwing his hat into the ring for the upcoming contest is Robert Rudachyk, an outspoken member of Canada’s Heathen community.
Rudachyk is no stranger to politics. He ran as a Liberal candidate for the Saskatoon Riverside constituency, hoping to be elected a member of the legislative assembly in the 2016 provincial election. This bid was unsuccessful, but it did not discourage him from trying again, and making this bid for party leadership.Announcing his campaign for party leadership to the Wild Hunt, Rudachyk explained, “I have also become dismayed at the extremely polarized politics of Saskatchewan, with the governing Sask. Party veering far to the right, and the front runner in the NDP leadership race preparing to take his party far to the left if he wins.
“That means that there is no one speaking for the majority of us in the centre unless you are willing to compromise your ideals. For that reason I felt the need to answer the call to try and lead my party and win some seats in the provincial legislature to bring reason back into politics here. In this way I can serve the needs of all peoples in this province.”
In order to get his name on the ballot, Rudachyk has some work ahead of him.
“The first thing I need to do is to collect the signatures of 150 party members and raise $1,500 to buy into the race. After that, I will be vetted to determine if I am suitable to be a candidate. As I have already been a candidate for the party that should not be difficult,” he said.
Rudychyk is running on a platform that includes a number of issues that he considers very important, and that he feels are informed by his Heathen beliefs. There is a focus on education, energy and the environment, health care, infrastructure and expansion into the north, and also relations with First Nations.
In a recent letter to the Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Ralph Goodale, Rudachyk affirmed his strong anti-racist position, and commitment to developing improved relations with First Nations.
His letter was a response to the racist threats being made toward First Nations persons in the wake of a recent trial that has divided the province of Saskatchewan.
In a Battleford, Saskatchewan courthouse, a white farmer named Gerald Stanley was charged with the second-degree murder of a young Indigenous man named Colten Boushie. Boushie was shot in the back of the head, and killed with a single shot. Stanley was acquitted by an all-white jury and released, sparking outrage across the country.
In his letter, Rudachyk suggests to the Minister that Stanley should at very least lose his license to purchase or possess a firearm. He also suggests that this should be extended to anyone making racist threats on social media, in order to prevent vigilante violence and cause more deaths. Rudachyk wrote:
To that effect, I would like to ask you what is going to be done with regards to all those people posting very racist posts on social media threatening to “shoot any Indian” that comes on their property, or the increasing numbers of people threatening violence on openly racist forums?
In addition to his published platform, Rudachyk is also an outspoken supporter of having non-cosmetic dentistry and optometry added to public healthcare coverage.
Canada is poised to legalize cannabis this summer, and Rudachyk supports the addition of medical cannabis to the provincial prescription drug plan, as well.
Once his nomination is confirmed, Rudachyk will need help to ensure he can win the vote to become party leader, and he is reaching out to Pagans and Heathens in Saskatchewan and across Canada for support.
“I am in need of help to succeed, I need any Pagans and Heathens in Saskatchewan to join the party and help me get on the ballot, I need people across Canada who are willing to donate any money they can to please do so,” he said.
“These campaigns do not come cheap, but every little bit helps, and I need volunteers who can help me with my web design, my phone calls and to sign up more members to vote for me in May. Any help that can be given is deeply appreciated.”
Born in Saskatoon, raised in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, Rudachyk has also worked and lived in Vancouver and Kelowna, BC. His professional life has seen him working as a lab technician, first aid attendant and as an English teacher for two years in Japan.
He calls beekeeping one of his true passions, and also is involved with historical re-enactment, wood and amber carving, brewing, cooking, hunting and fishing. These interests reflect his interest in environmental and scientific issues as well as world affairs.
If he is successful, this father of two who now works as Regional Manager for a transport company expects some drastic changes to his life.
“My life will change a lot. I will need to start actively recruiting candidates to try and get seats in the Legislature in 2020, I will need to aggressively fund raise so that we can compete against the two parties with current MLAs, and I will have to raise our party’s profile so that we can be seen as a viable alternative to both. “
Rudachyk is the first openly practicing Heathen to run for office in Saskatchewan, and also the first to be green lit for a nomination for a major federal party in Canada.
The Wild Hunt will report on this story as it unfolds.