Nominations have yet to reopen for Livingstone-Macleod UCP candidates, but one person is already busy collecting signatures.

Parkland resident Don Whalen announced his intent to run in the riding last week via a post on Facebook.

Whalen lived in the riding for several years, working as a pastor in Claresholm from 2010-2017.

Before that, he worked in the oil patch and construction, and has recently been pursuing entrepreneurial ventures.

He's aware of the recent events surrounding potential nominees in the riding (the sitting MLA's decision not to run, and the rejection of another potential nominee,) which played a role in his decision to enter the race.

"I believe that conservatives need to step up, and that's why I'm stepping up. So far I'm the only one who's declared, and I'm not saying nobody will, to seek the nomination. It's a process still, they haven't reopened the nominations yet, I've kind of gotten out ahead of it because I'm trying to get my finger on the pulse a little better of what concerns people here. I think I've got a good idea of what concerns a lot of people."

His desire to venture into politics had been building up over the last two or three years.

"It's been a tumultuous time, to say the least. I've been very concerned about Ottawa's overreach in our provinces, especially Alberta, having to go to court to fight things the federal government is trying to bring in that should be provincial jurisdiction. I feel like a lot of people have lost their voice and have lost confidence in politicians and governments as a whole. Many people feel like they're not being heard I think."

He continues, "there's been way too much censorship of people at least being able to talk, and I think that's why we've had so many protests, people don't feel like they're being heard. I want to represent people whether I agree with them or not, it doesn't matter, I want to represent our constituents in Livingstone-Macleod."

Whalen pointed to a few specific examples of federal overreach.

"I believe that we have a right as a province to develop our resources in a responsible way, and I think, by and large, we are doing that... We have trouble getting our existing resources to market because of the pipeline laws, the tanker ban, all of these things have affected Albertans in a great way and have affected our economy in a great way."

Disputes between the provincial and federal governments over gun control legislation have been continuous, and the topic holds particular significance to many constituents.

Whalen sees it as another glaring example of overreach.

"Personally I don't own any guns but I also support people's right to have guns, to hunt, for recreation, for those things. I don't believe the legislations they keep trying to bring in are effective at targetting criminals, they're targetting law-abiding citizens who hunt and do things recreationally with guns that don't ever hurt anybody."

Though Whalen approves of Danielle Smith's leadership, that wasn't the driving force behind his choice to run in the riding.

"I don't pin all my hopes on one person, although I will say, so far I like the way she's going. There were a lot of things with Mr. Kenney where I felt he was one of the guys that stop listening in a lot of ways, except to people who agreed. One of the things I haven't liked from our politicians federally as well as name-calling people and labelling them if they have a different view. I think that's totally wrong for somebody in office to do that. If you represent all Albertans or all Canadians then you should represent them all."

It's currently unknown when the riding's UCP nomination process will start again.