After much deliberation, I have decided to post my Letter to the Editor. I sent it to the Fort McMurray Today and was denied being published. I was asked to edit it and not talk about what the UCP leader Jason Kenney and UCP candidate Laila C Goodridge have said about NDP voters. I personally thought the only way to get my message across was to leave it the way it was. I’m disappointed in our local newspaper. I have heard that one of their editors decided to run his own story on it after someone more prominent asked him to write on it. My concern at this point is that the UCP does not view all voters as equal and I wanted to share my opinion.
Throughout the campaign for the Fort McMurray-Conklin by-election, Laila Goodridge and Jason Kenney have referred to NDP supporters as “special interest groups”. Laila has also claimed that few support the NDP in this riding. Yet, the UCP has hinted that it may lose the vote later this week.
I think one of the “small, special interest groups” that the UCP is referring to is Indigenous people living in rural communities, such as Fort Chipewyan, Fort McKay, Anzac, Janvier, and Conklin. After reading these comments first in a My McMurray article and more recently in a CBC news article, I wanted to point out to Laila Goodridge and Jason Kenney that Indigenous people are not a “special interest group”. We are citizens of this community and eligible voters.
I want to support a candidate and party that sees Indigenous people as more than a “special interest group”. I want an MLA that supports reconciliation and building a better future in our region for future generations of Indigenous people. Conservative governments at all levels have an appalling history when it comes to the treatment of Indigenous people. Even now, the UCP does not consider us voters, only a “special interest group” of the NDP. Rather than trying to win our votes, the UCP treats us as though we aren’t even worthy of voting for them. With the NDP running a successful campaign, the UCP has resorted to blaming voters for their potential historic loss. This is not the behaviour of a confident or winning campaign.
The UCP’s message doesn’t seem to be sitting well with many voters of this region. With the community being unreceptive to their message, the UCP has resorted to fear mongering as a way to get votes. I believe the UCP was hoping for an easy win here and has now realized that many want a forward thinking government that looks out for all Albertans, not just the privileged few. I hope the voters of Fort McMurray-Conklin elect Jane Stroud this Thursday.
This article is an opinion with links to supporting documentation.