Thursday, 5 April 2012

Alberta Elections

Yesterday I had the opportunity to be interviewed by the Western Producer about the upcoming Alberta election. The questions revolved around what young people in agriculture are looking for in the candidates.

I will not be using this blog post to tell you how I will vote, this will be more of a thought process of what I, a young person in agriculture as well as a student, am looking for in this election.

For those of you who are unfimilar with the Alberta election process, here is a little background.

Eligible voters must be 18 years of age at the time of voting, as well as be an Alberta resident for the last 6 months and be a Canadian citizen. For more information on how to register to vote please visit the Alberta Elections website.

The political parties include the Progressive Conservatives, Alberta Liberals, Wildrose, Alberta New Demoractic Party(NDP), and the Alberta Party are the only parties that have been represented in the legislative assembly. For a full listing of political parties please visit Wikipedia.

Best picture I could find to show the constituencies in Alberta.
Shout out to
My constituency is Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville. My candidates are Spencer Dunn from the Liberal party, Shannon Stubbs from the Wildrose Party, Chris Fulmer of the NDP, and Jacquie Fenske from the PC party.

Who has the best promises to sustain agriculture?
It is vital to Alberta that our government supports farmers.   Everyone eats everyday, and farmers put the food on the table. If our government does not support the farmers in the province, it will hurt every single Albertan. Long term farming and sustainability is important to ensure not only we have food on the table, but so do our upcoming genrerations.

Is there help to promote youth being involved in agriculture?
 Many family farms were sold after the BSE outbreak.  A lot of youth who grew up on these farms are now seeing that agriculture is becoming a large industry again, with rising market prices. This is encouraging to have them go to school and start their own farm. Promotion for this generation is not just agricultural youth programing like 4-H, but to help them get their foot in the door. This could be achieved by providing grants or low-interest loans for new and upcoming farms.

What help is being proposed to post-secondary students?
 With rising costs of living comes rising tuition costs. Sitting on the Students' Executive Council at Lakeland College opened my eyes to the fact that tuition increase is allowed if the cost of living increases, not necessarily because the cost of education is rising. This is not helpful to students who have little support from outside sources. This is a huge deterrent for  youth in Alberta to want to further their education. Why would they PAY money to go to school for 4 years and gain massive loads of debt, when they can get PAID to work and make good money right now?  Tuition costs and extra fees freezing would help keep these costs minimal, or have a forgiveness program for student loans. If a student can guarantee they will stay in Alberta for 5 years and keep a job in the field they studied, maybe payback if not all, at least a portion of their tuition fees?

Are there proposals for help with child care?
I had never thought of this until the Western Producer interviewer asked me, "You are around child bearing age, do you have concerns regarding childcare fees?" I had never considered myself to be of this age, however, I will become this age while this elected government is in office. This is something people my age should consider, in 3-5 years, where will I be in my life? Should I look into additional proposals in case I have children while this government is still in session? Somethings to consider with this side of the platform is if there will be funding provided to low income families seeking child care, or if there will be incentives for youth to go into the child care sector.

What promotion is being made to get youth to vote?
 Talking to many other students at my school, they are not concerned with voting in this election. This kind of scared me, to think that they do not care how our province will be run. This is vital as each age category has different views and needs they are looking for in the election. For example, someone who is 50 years old is looking for solutions regard electricity lines and oil pipelines being run through the province, or what proposals are being made for the Canadian Pension Plan. This can cause a government to come into session that is focused on these issues, and not at all concerned with issues relevant to our generation.

Is it important to have younger people in office?
Yes and no. Yes it is important to have young people representing us in office to help provide a new fresh prospective in the "old mans" club. However, what age is the best? Anything younger then 25 may not be suitable. They make lack the experience in the government world that would help them become contributing members of the assembly. Especially if they are still attending school would make me wonder if they  have the time to commit to the job. I do agree it is great to have younger people within government, but too young can be an issue. It would be great for them to be a page or some other job within the assembly first to help them gain experience.

I hope that this blog post have helped some other youth become involved in the elections in Alberta, and want to vote. As soon as the interview with the Western Producer is published, I will post the link. :)


The story has been published: 

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