Calgary

What matters to you? CBC Calgary starts with an ask this federal election campaign

This campaign, CBC Calgary wants to help bring the voices, the ambitions, concerns and hopes of Calgary voters front and centre. We're also launching a special focus on Calgary Forest Lawn.

Set the party leaders aside for a moment; let's start with the voters

As part of our extensive election coverage around Calgary and southern Alberta, CBC Calgary is doing a deep dive to better understand one area in our city in particular: the electoral district of Calgary Forest Lawn. (Elise Stolte/CBC)

As part of CBC Calgary's federal election coverage, we're taking a key question to the streets of our city: What do you want candidates to be talking about as they compete for your vote?

Election coverage is often focused on political strategy, intrigue, horse races, pundits and party platforms, and, sure, those things certainly have their own value and utility. But we want to also take a community approach and help bring the voices, the ambitions, concerns and hopes of Calgary voters front and centre.

So, as part of our extensive election coverage around Calgary and southern Alberta, CBC Calgary is doing a deep dive to better understand one area in our city in particular.

The electoral district of Calgary Forest Lawn. 

Why?

Well, it's the Alberta riding that had the lowest voter turnout in the 2019 federal election.

According to Elections Canada, just 53 per cent of registered voters made it to the polls. This compares to an average 69 per cent for the rest of the electoral districts in Alberta.

A low turnout can point to a sense of disconnection, a feeling that political debates and politics aren't connecting with local concerns.

On that point, we caught up with the first few Calgary Forest Lawn residents last week.

Why didn't they vote?

Peter Tang, a single dad keeping four kids busy at home this summer, said he normally doesn't vote because he doesn't find the time.

"Kind of busy. First you have to figure out who you want to vote for, which one is good, is OK," he said.

Nerissa Jobe, a mother who was picking up groceries from The Alex Community Food Market, said she didn't vote last time because she didn't have faith in any of the candidates. "I did not find a candidate I could align with, to stand up for the people who are suffering the hardest."

The lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic mean Jason Wiebe is still getting only 60 to 63 hours a pay period at the glass warehouse where he works. He wants candidates to be talking about how to boost the economy this federal election campaign. (Elise Stolte/CBC)

As for Jason Wiebe, a glass warehouse employee anxiously waiting for the economy to rebound, he said he does vote and it's a deliberate act of hope.

"To hope for change. If you don't vote, you can't hope for change," he said. "We're struggling pretty bad here."

Calgary Forest Lawn includes neighbourhoods east of Deerfoot Trail, on both sides of 16th Avenue. It includes neighbourhoods such as Mayland Heights, Pineridge, Marlborough Park, Penbrooke Meadows and Southview.

The riding went Conservative in 2019, represented by Jasraj Singh Hallan. It has a population of 111,800 people with 75,700 registered voters.

The 2016 census, the most recent available, measured the average annual employment income as $39,300, compared to $59,300 across Alberta. The census also paints a picture of an ethnically diverse population. A quarter of families speak a language other than English or French most commonly at home.

For this project, CBC Calgary will be spending time in these neighbourhoods over the weeks ahead, talking one-on-one with residents. We'll share what we hear through a series of articles. 

For our broader election coverage, we want to hear from as many perspectives as possible. So, whether you live in the riding of Forest Lawn, or anywhere in southern Alberta, feel free to share what's on your mind in this online form here.

We'll read all your comments, and they'll provide insight to help guide our coverage of the federal campaign.

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