This story was updated Sept. 8, 2021 to reflect a date change in the Chamber's virtual forum. The forum will take place on Sept. 13, 2021.
The federal election is less than two weeks away and many voters are trying to get a quick handle on the platforms each party is offering.
On the local front, there are a variety of issues voters are looking at, however many are questioning why the election was called in the first place.
Abbey Borschneck is a Norquest student who is studying practical nursing. This is the first federal election she will be voting in, and she is a little bit nervous.
“The candidates I’ve seen are not my favourite,” said the Sturgeon County resident while enjoying a picnic next to the Sturgeon River in St. Albert on Saturday.
Issues that are important to her include the federal minimum wage, health care, and climate change. She doesn’t feel like her vote will make much of an impact in her riding, but she is optimistic.
“I'm excited for the young people's impact,” she said.
Her sister, Sydney Borschneck, is also voting for the first time in this election. Her main concern right now is how difficult it has been to get information on each party’s platform.
“I have a hard time finding resources … the websites are all kind of there. And you can find all of their platforms and their issues there, but I find them kind of hard to navigate,” she said.
Sydney would like an easier way to look at issues from past elections and see what has been resolved and what hasn’t, and the impact of different legislation on the country.
She will, however, be tuning in to the leadership debates.
“I definitely plan on watching [the debates] and definitely starting there with my research,” Sydney said.
Climate change is one of the main issues she will be looking at when she votes.
Both sisters questioned why the election is happening now. Sydney said she thinks it was really short notice. Abbey said she would have liked more time.
“it’s just all the students are getting busy right now, so it's kind of hard to keep track of all that,” said Abbey.
Mason Roberts a 23-year-old construction worker who was loading bags into a car in the parking lot by Lions Park on Saturday, said he thinks the timing of the federal election is unfortunate.
“It's hard to keep track of what the COVID guidelines are right now, let alone what different parties are doing. So, it's, I think it’s kind of weird timing,” he said.
He is mainly concerned about the economy and will be looking at what each party is proposing to get through the pandemic and back on track after COVID.
“Something I'm going to be paying a lot of attention to is how they think it is best to proceed, as we kind of hopefully come out of COVID here,” he said.
Roberts’s ideal candidate would be someone who keeps everyone in mind.
“Someone who represents everybody. Not just the businesses and giving tax breaks, but also minority groups and lower-income families, because I think that's two groups that often get ignored,” he said.
Keeping an eye on her four young children as they played on the swings in Lions Park, Lisa Burnson said she has been out of the loop on politics lately. The part-time teacher is planning on researching candidates closer to voting day.
The two major issues she will be voting on are money for education and health care.
Burnson laughed as she said her ideal candidate is someone who has a history of honesty and transparency.
“The problem is, you know, you have these idealistic views of what a politician should be. And in reality, it's not just one person, it's a whole force behind them. It's hard to not enter any voting without being skeptical of what they're able to accomplish,” she said.
Janis Cunningham is a senior from Quebec who is helping her brother get settled in St. Albert. The two were visiting the St. Albert Farmers’ Market on Saturday.
She is disappointed an election was called at this time, as the country is still in a pandemic and there are many other issues. She said the money used to hold the election is not money well spent.
Cunningham does have issues she will be voting on, but she is still uncertain as to which party she will vote for.
“I really am concerned about the health care and, of course, the long-term care that has hit every province, I believe. And I'd like to see that improved and more monitored, perhaps by government,” she said.
What Cunningham looks for in a candidate is honesty.
“I try to look for honesty that they are living up to what they say they're going to live up to. But right now ... I just don't find that they can live up to the issues that they promise,” she said.
St. Albert voters looking to get more information before the Sept. 20 election will have a chance to hear from the four St. Albert-Edmonton candidates on Monday night. The St. Albert and District Chamber of Commerce will be holding a candidate federal election forum on Sept. 13 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at St. Albert Inn and Suites. The forum will be available virtually.
The federal leadership debate takes place on the same night. On Sept. 9, the leaders from the five main federal parties will debate at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, Que., between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. MDT. The debate will be broadcast by multiple media organizations.