NDP puts Edmonton in the hands of conservatives in its crosshairs | The Canadian News

A young, two-spirited Metis leader hopes to deliver one of the biggest surprises of the election campaign, if he can persuade listless voters to head to the polls on Monday.

NDP candidate Blake Desjarlais has launched a dynamic voter turnout campaign to persuade thousands of Edmonton residents to register.

Edmonton Griesbach’s seat, where the NDP ranked second in the 2019 federal elections, has now become a prime target for leader Jagmeet Singh. If elected, Desjarlais, 27, would be Alberta’s only indigenous MP.

Read more:

PCU constituency association calls for Prime Minister Jason Kenney’s leadership review

The incumbent Conservative, Kerry Diotte, won the seat in the last election with 51 percent of the vote.

Diotte has served as a deputy critic of the Conservatives on national revenue and public procurement, and says on his campaign website that a Conservative government would support Alberta’s interests and future prosperity.

The story continues below the ad.

Also riding are Habiba Mohamud for the Liberals, Heather Lau for the Greens and Thomas Matty for the People’s Party of Canada.

To win at Edmonton Griesbach, the NDP will also have to persuade liberal supporters to vote tactically and mobilize apathetic and undecided voters.

Click to play video: 'Will Trudeau's bid for pandemic elections pay off for his party on Monday?'

Will Trudeau’s bid for pandemic elections pay off for his party on Monday?

Will Trudeau’s bid for pandemic elections pay off for his party on Monday?

Desjarlais said that inspiring “the great population without the right to vote” to go to the polls has been “the lifeblood of the campaign.” He hopes to increase voter turnout by 10 percent.

In the last election, only 47,000 of the 83,000 registered voters in the parade turned out on Election Day, figures from Elections Canada show.

“We have one of the largest constituencies of apathy in all of Canada (and)? one of the lowest votes in the country, ”Desjarlais said. “My challenge has been to make people feel that the federal government can work for them.”

The story continues below the ad.

Desjarlais has been campaigning for voters to register for mail-in ballots, with information campaigns on when and where to vote.

“We believe that if we exceed 60 percent, we will have served the community well, regardless of whether I win,” he said.

Read more:

2021 Canada Elections: Here’s Your Guide For Last Minute Voters

Desjarlais, who grew up in a Metis settlement north of Edmonton, said riding has one of the largest urban indigenous populations in Canada.

Ten percent of the voters are indigenous and he has been holding voting promotion events, with dancers and musicians, where he can “talk to them about their opportunity to vote and how important it is to have indigenous representation in Parliament,” he said.

Desjarlais said he sees a great overlap of interests among many groups, including indigenous peoples and immigrants, that make up horsemanship. Access to health care and housing are big problems for everyone, he added.

“(These are) people who work more than 12 hours a day, single-parent families and multi-ethnic families,” he said. “There are a lot of people who would vote for the New Democrat and they just don’t vote for their life.”

Click to Play Video: 'Calls Growing for Kenney to Step Down Over COVID-19 Crisis in Alberta'

Calls for Kenney to Step Down Over Alberta’s COVID-19 Crisis Grow

Calls for Kenney to Step Down Over Alberta’s COVID-19 Crisis Grow

Desjarlais, whose parents grew up in homes where Cree was the first language, was raised by his aunt. His biological mother, who was raised in foster care in various homes, was forced to leave him as a newborn after battling addiction.

The story continues below the ad.

He said his aunt fought the government to keep him in the family as a baby and raised him in one of the few Metis settlements in Canada.

The activist said he distrusted politicians but was persuaded to join the NDP due to the party’s focus on indigenous issues while negotiating with the federal government as the Metis leader.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s decision to oust Jody Wilson-Raybould, a former indigenous cabinet minister, out of the caucus over the SNC-Lavalin affair removed him from the party.

Read more:

Canada Elections 2021: Which Alberta Districts to Watch For Possible Political Change

He said indigenous peoples need more representation in Ottawa because they are “people who value life above greed and life above profit.”

During the electoral campaign, the elders and chiefs, who came out to support Desjarlais, sang the “Song of Honor”, which is reserved for esteemed indigenous leaders.

“One of the proudest moments in my life was having the ‘Song of Honor.’ My ancestors, my relatives, hundreds of people were there. “

© 2021 The Canadian Press


Leave a Comment