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IF YOU WANT MY VOTE THIS MAY, HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Politics has always been a topic near and dear to me. From organizing my middle school and high school Student Vote campaigns, to debating current events over the dinner table, I have always tried to keep a keen eye on what’s happening and have never shied away from differing opinions to my own.
In my eyes, we all have a responsibility to ourselves and those around us to keep our governments in check and speak out when something isn’t right. Elections are the perfect time to make sure your voice is heard.
As a young professional in the midst of my career and just starting to embark on those next steps of life (purchasing a home/starting a family), my priorities are going to be very different from someone in university, a parent with teenagers or a couple looking to retire.
As a socially liberal and economically conservative Albertan, it is difficult for me to know who I should vote for. Who will be able to best represent our province and enact important changes that are needed over the next four years?
If you want my vote this May, here are a few things you need to consider:
Economy: The economy will always be an issue that needs to be addressed and adjusted to ensure the continual growth of our province. This needs to include diversifying our market and encouraging companies and industries to move into Alberta. One thing I have always said is that we don’t have an oil & gas industry in Alberta, we have an energy industry and we need support that energy industry by focusing on the transition from exclusively oil & gas based commerce to a wider breadth of energy resources that will support long-term economic prospects for Albertans.
Transportation: Alberta has some of the best roads in the country, aside from normal growth and construction; our roads are well maintained, easy to navigate and well designed. The area the province greatly lacks in is easy access to public transportation in cities and across the province. Alberta needs to support and fund these types of developments to encourage our provinces growth and ensure we have walkable cities and other modes of transportation other then private vehicles to get around the province.
Environment: The environment is a very important issue that needs to be a focus at all levels of government. This means we need to put the environment first before catering to the wants and whims of large corporations. Corporations must be responsible for the pollution they create and must be held accountable for their actions. We also need to ensure we are protecting our natural spaces and parks by not allowing large residential or business developments to take over those spaces and ruin their natural ecosystems.
Health Care: Public health care needs to be accessible to all Albertans and everyone should have the opportunity to have a family doctor close to their home. Emergency rooms in rural areas should never need to close down and everyone should be able to receive life altering surgeries and procedures in a timely manner without overwhelming the healthcare system and those that work tirelessly to provide that care for us.
Housing: A large issue for many people my age is housing. For many years, we have been told we are lucky to live in Alberta because we will be able to afford a home unlike places like Toronto and Vancouver. However, this dream is becoming less and less attainable. When a small starter home is going for over half-a-million dollars without any renovations since 1995, I really question if I’ll ever be able to own.
In the same lease, renting is also becoming unattainable. I’ve heard stories from friends whose landlords have raised their rent by over $600 recently and these friends have had to move back in with their parents because they have no other option. Alberta needs to enact stricter rent laws to protect renters and ensure landlords are held accountable. Provinces such as Ontario have rules in place to how much a landlord can raise rent each year. This is something I would like to see in Alberta.
Immigration: Immigration is an important part of Alberta’s history and it will be an important part of our future. As our province’s needs change, we need to encourage growth and embrace new cultures, but we need to ensure we are prepared for that growth. A large part of this is ensuring we have the infrastructure in place to accommodate an increased number of people in our cities and our rural areas before it becomes an issue. School, hospitals, community spaces, roads and resources need to be available to new Albertans without creating a strain on the existing system. If this is not accomplished, we’re going to see a deeper divide between Albertans and how they view immigration as whole.
Alberta Sovereignty: The more we try to separate ourselves from the rest of the country the more we alienate ourselves. I think a more appropriate response would be to work with our fellow provinces and the federal government to create strategies that work for Alberta and the country as a whole instead of taking an ‘us vs. them’ approach.
This May, my vote will go to the party that is looking to our future instead of our past, is willing to adapt to the social and economic ideals that are moving us forward and ensures our province will be ready for the world yet to come.
Brittany Haines is a legal marketing and business development professional in Calgary for a Western Canadian based law firm. She has over five years of corporate, technical and creative marketing/communications experience and a Communication and Media degree with a minor in Political Science from the University of Calgary.
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The point of view of your article has taught me a lot, and I already know how to improve the paper on gate.oi, thank you.
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