Up for grabs? Left-to-right Calgary voter panel juggles federal election issues
A tutor, legal assistant and student researcher walk into a bar, and against accepted wisdom, talk politics
Trudeau's blackface troubles, funding economic policies and Indigenous promises? How deeply are the issues of the day impacting voter intentions? We get the thoughts and ideas of a panel who self-identify as politically right, left and in between.
Self-employed tutor Kalpana Mistry says she's centrist. Legal assistant Jennifer Clark says she's always "right" and University of Calgary student researcher Spirit River Striped Wolf doesn't want to be "left" behind.
Mistry says it's possible to pull something positive from it.
"It can be a teachable moment, so that we can start a positive conversation, so that something like this does not happen again," she told The Homestretch.
Clark wonders about the timing.
"Why now? Why wasn't this brought up during the first election? Why did they choose this moment? Why is it so front and centre now?" asked Clark.
Striped Wolf said there are a lot of issues at play.
"It has allowed us to have a deeper conversation about structural racism," he said.
"We have to look at this as an intention-versus-impact view…We can't really look into his heart, but we need to look at the impact. A lot of black folks are hurting from this because it's a reminder of racism and these issues in our community."
Other top issues?
"Honesty," Mistry said.
"I don't want politicians making promises that they can't keep."
"Jobs, pipelines and putting out there what you want to accomplish instead of just telling us more things so you can get votes. Let's bring honesty in," she adds.
Striped Wolf says making peace with unresolved issues would be a good start.
"My parents were part of the day schools and the Sixties Scoop. There are still a lot of effects there," he said.
"Assimilation was such a radical policy and I am not seeing any radical policy to counteract those issues…Culture, self-trust and empathy were the biggest things taken away from Indigenous communities. Indigenous people need to be retaught these things."
"I am not really hearing much about economic issues," Clark said.
"I have heard a few of the platforms. Unfortunately with the Trudeau issue, some of the issues we need to address that are important have not come forward yet. We need to have jobs all across Canada, not just for Alberta. If we are working, we can support the economy and pay for the services that we want."
For Mistry, it's about getting along as provinces.
"Provincial trade barriers. In order to have country-wide economic benefits, these have to be addressed at the provincial and federal levels," Mistry said.
Does it feel like Alberta isn't listened to?
"Sometimes, yes," Clark answered.
"We have pipelines and resources, but Newfoundland and Labrador has resources but they seems to be able to get their resources out easier than we can because they are on the ocean."
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Striped Wolf says all of the issues, also affect Indigenous communities, but they don't always have a seat at the table.
"I think Indigenous communities are left out. There is not a lot of listening. The structures we have don't allow Indigenous voices to be heard properly."
The environment doesn't get the attention it deserves, says centrist Mistry.
"If we don't start taking care of our environment, even if we have a strong economy, we might not have a liveable place."
Clark wonders where the funds will come from, to pay for the promises made on the campaign trail.
"How are we going to pay for campaign promises? There are so many. Is it going to be the taxpayer that pays for it, and is the government going step up and make the cuts we need for the promises?" she said.
"There is a dental program, pharmacare [being promised]. My daughter needs monthly medication. Where do you draw the line on a pharmacare program?"
Firm voter intentions?
Clark and Striped Wolf are a no, and Mistry likes good news.
"I am leaning towards the NDP because they are running a positive campaign," she said.
With files from The Homestretch