As many of you who are friends with me on Facebook know, I attended the Provincial Candidate Debate last night for the upcoming Alberta election on April 23rd. One of my values is a sense of belonging and responsibility for the province I live in, and if that means being involved and informed in politics, so be it.
I recognize that it is difficult for people, especially my age, to be involved in politics due to youth alienation. Political parties are just not geared towards youth, and on a bigger note, it's hard for us to feel a sense of ownership for our province (or country). I believe that lack of ownership is the reason for low voter turnout especially in the younger demographic. I'm not writing this to guilt anyone into voting, but my two reasons for making it to the polls are as follows: 1) I am living in a free country, and due to my thankfulness of that, I am going to vote in our democracy, even if the system is flawed; and 2) I am a woman with the eligibility to vote; this was not always the case and for the many who fought for this right, I am thankful.
Now to make things easier, here are the candidates and little bit about what they had to say.
To be honest, this first debate was somewhat of a joke. There were three candidates present, but the whole thing felt very uncomfortable, due to the lack of knowledge of some of the candidates.
- Wildrose - Doug Faulkner. The very first thing he said in his introduction was, "It's time", which is one of the Wildrose's slogans. However, the unfortunate part was that the rest of his speeches were chalked full of similar slogans and cliche phrases. I didn't actually hear a lot of practical plans or future decisions. Some of his stories felt inappropriate; however, his view of the pipelines and lack of physicians in Fort McMurray was promising.
- NDP - Paul Pomerleau. This was an unfortunate representation. This candidate was not relevant and did not possess the adequate knowledge to represent Fort McMurray. I tuned out shortly after he began talking, because he was extremely uninformed. One interesting thing of note was his platform on the pipelines - he wasn't in favour of them being built.
- PC - Donald Scott. This candidate addressed a lot of healthcare concerns, which I appreciated. He referenced a lot of recent reports and was in favour of the pipelines. He also promoted making Keyano College a degree university.
Wood Buffalo Riding
This was the debate to see if you were to choose one. Although there were only two candidates present (pictured above), they both knew their information and were relevant to Fort McMurray.
- PC - Mike Allen. He began by saying that the PC was a tried & true party for Alberta. He stated that their focus was health, education, and families. He wanted to look at the national immigration system in order to fix health care worker accreditation. He fully supported both pipelines and promised to put the dollars back on the health care frontlines. His delivery and speeches were very calm and polished.
- Wildrose - Guy Boutilier. He began by saying this his party represents voters. Their slogan is, "Balance the books & save for the future". He talked a lot about listening to doctors & nurses and knocking down the provincial barriers for immigration relocation. He fully supported the pipeline. His delivery and speeches were very passionate and engaging.
There you have it. I think the funniest question from the night is when an audience member asked what the Wood Buffalo candidates thought about each other. Either way, I hope this information will help you, and I'll see you April 23rd!