Rosemarie Falk never imagined herself becoming a politician, but the Conservative Party candidate won nearly 70 per cent of vote in Monday's byelection in the Saskatchewan riding of Battlefords-Lloydminster — and she says she'll bring something different to federal politics.
"I think women bring a different perspective, especially into politics," she said when asked how she'll set herself apart from Gerry Ritz, the now-retired member of Parliament she'll replace in the riding.
"I'm younger. I have the energy and enthusiasm."
Ritz held the Battlefords-Lloydminster riding for two decades. Even so, Falk says she didn't take her win for granted.
"I had a lot of people telling me, 'Oh, you don't have a name, nobody knows who you are,'" she said.
Not everyone was surprised by her victory, though.
"It would be hard to imagine a safer Conservative seat than North Battleford," said University of Regina political scientist Jim Farney.
He wasn't surprised either by Falk's win, or that she was nominated to represent the party in the byelection. Constituency associations and parties often consider renewal and succession planning, he said.
"They know if you've had someone like Gerry Ritz who's been in there for, you know, 20 or 25 years, you will need a fresher face," he said.
"That she's young and a woman matters and is important."
However, Farney said it's likely she won't have a lot of national visibility for a while because the Conservative party is on the Opposition benches and she's a brand new MP.
"She'll spend her time basically being a good constituency MP, which takes a lot of work," he said, noting this will be a period for her to learn the job.
New to politics
Falk got involved in politics when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was elected. She and her husband felt his platforms didn't resonate with their Conservative values.
They began volunteering for the Saskatchewan Party provincially and the Conservative Party of Canada federally.
Recently, Falk has worked as a legislative assistant for Alberta MP Arnold Viersen.
She wants her win to set an example for youth.
"You can really do anything," she said. "I mean, I didn't go to school for a political science degree."
She said she'll focus on conversations with constituents so she can get a sense of what they need.
Falk is opposed to a carbon tax because, she said, that stance is "what people want." She also said people have told her they want more clarity on small business tax reform and marijuana legalization.
She's worked as a social worker and said she will draw on that experience in her new job.
"We work with people in these different walks of life, right, and really it's just having a conversation. Reaching out to the people, talking to them and hearing what they have to say, and genuinely listening and taking that to the House of Commons."