Calgary

Calgary Centre candidates grilled by 11-year-old for school project

A Grade 6 student in Calgary scored interviews with some of the most closely-watched federal election candidates as part of a social studies project.

Joan Crockatt's campaign manager now says he will try arrange an interview with student

Emma Sveistrup and Calgary Centre Liberal candidate Kent Hehr. (youtube.com)

A Grade 6 student in Calgary scored interviews with some of the most closely-watched federal election candidates as part of a social studies project at school. 

Emma Sveistrup, 11, sat down with Liberal candidate Kent Hehr, the Green Party's Thana Boonlert and Jillian Ratti from the NDP.

The three are running in Calgary Centre, the Calgary riding seen as most likely to unseat the incumbent Conservative candidate. 

Conservative candidate Joan Crockatt initially accepted Sveistrup's request for an interview but backed out, according to the girl's father.

After CBC News contacted the Conservative campaign to confirm her reasoning, Sveistrup's father got a call from Crockatt's campaign manager. 

He then contacted CBC News to say he would try to arrange an interview with Emma. 

The interviews were all shot in different locations and edited into a 17-minute video.

Emma Sveistrup and Calgary Centre NDP candidate Jillian Ratti (youtube.com)

"Why do you think it's important for kids my age to learn about politics?"

Ratti

"Politics affects everybody, even kids. Especially kids, maybe, because the decisions we're making right now are going to affect you when you're older."

Boonlert

"The more you get involved now, the more interested you are, the more likely you'll be to vote. Right now one of the biggest problems in Canada is low voter turnout."

Hehr

"You can build your life as a Grade 6 student, go to school, get health care, get access to post secondary so you can take care of yourself and become whatever you want."

Calgary Centre Green Party candidate Thana Boonlert and Emma Sveistrup. (youtube.com)

"When you were in Grade 6, what did you want to be when you grew up?"

Boonlert (an engineer): hockey player, musician or astronaut 

Hehr (a lawyer/politician):  centre field for the Yankees, centre ice for the Flames, or a school teacher

Ratti (a family doctor): doctor 

"Often when people get elected they stop doing what the voters want and they start doing what the leaders tell them to do instead.

What do you think about that?"

Hehr

"You fight hard on behalf of your constituents...you don't always win those battles but if you fight hard with reason, common sense and science, you're more successful than you're not."

Ratti

"I believe in most of what my party does but at the end of the day, if it came down to something that was obviously not going to be good for the people of Calgary Centre...I would have no problem voting against my party but it's a tough thing."

Boonlert

"Luckily with the Green party, we have a no whip policy, which is great so I can truly and fully represent the constituents of Calgary Centre."

Family project

The interviews were shot and uploaded to youtube.com as part of The Owl's Nest, a Sveistrup family project that allows Emma and her brother, Josef, 15, to pursue their interests.

"The intention was to allow each of my kids to develop their talents," said Chris Sveistrup.

Emma is interested in public speaking and acting while Josef is into videography.

The video with the candidate interviews was developed when Emma was assigned to a social studies project on federal politics. 

Chris Sveistrup says Emma hasn't yet received her mark from her teacher. 

Emma Sveistrup's youtube.com show The Owl's Nest features Calgary Centre candidates in episode 5. (youtube.com)