Hello Chestermere! It has been an interesting week weather wise as we went from -4 to +27, the hottest spot in Canada within the span of a couple of days. I was sad to miss this fabulous weekend in Chestermere as I was attending a workshop in Montreal. It was beautiful there, but we sure did not have the warmth experienced out here in the West.
I wanted to chat with you about a few things that have been going on politically that are a bit concerning regarding the upcoming nominations. Social media can be a wonderful tool, but can also lead to some extremely negative and in my opinion disrespectful banter. I realize that people are passionate about their points of view, and freedom of speech is imperative to protect, so this is not about infringing on those rights, however character assassinations, misinterpretations of the truth and racism need to be addressed. So, firstly for clarity, the United Conservative Party (“UCP”) will be running an open nomination for the privilege of running in the next election, so I am not guaranteed this position, nor should I be. Part of a great democracy is to have your elected officials run for their positions every time, to earn your vote, at your door, or through emails, phone calls or flyers, their work ethic, and competency in their job. My responsibility is to earn every one of those votes so that when nominations are called, and should there be a competition, that I will have your support and win my spot as your candidate for the UCP in the upcoming 2019 election. There are some times when incumbents have been protected. Those are very rare and for specific reasons. Only UCP members can vote in the nomination, so you have to be a member and at least 14 to be able to vote. We will keep you updated on that once the date for our UCP nominations open. Presently I only have the membership lists for Chestermere-Rocky View as that is my riding. Once the nominations are open, then I will have access to Strathmore as well, which is in the new riding. These are the rules, and no one is above those. Those who fail to follow those rules can be banned from running for 5 years. We are allowed to door knock in Strathmore, hold events, and sell memberships, but we are not allowed to target members as I am not privy to those lists. I know it sounds complicated, but it is important for you as the electorate to understand some of the rules so that we as politicians do not take advantage of the information we are privileged to have.
Secondly, If you are interested in reading my bio, it is on our VOTELEELA website. I am directing you to this because of some misinformation and extremely racist comments we have encountered at the doors. I have to say racism is truly not something I encounter that much, and I feel extremely blessed to live in a very kind and compassionate riding that is unique, and diverse. I have dear friends from all ethnic and religious backgrounds from Christians to Muslims, Buddhists to Jehovah Witnesses, and everything in between. My mom is Christian, and my dad is Hindu, so I had a very colorful and well rounded childhood both culturally and religiously. People who move to Canada are here for a multitude of reasons, and mostly to start lives, build businesses and be successful in country that allows them that privilege. When we vote in elections, we have the right to vote along many lines, and for some of us, we vote for the person, or the ideology, the leader, or similar values sometimes because of racial or religious similarities. We are so fortunate to live in a country that affords us this tremendous freedom. I cannot imagine living anywhere else, and I feel blessed to even chat about this with you. I believe it is important, especially as we sit at our kitchen tables with our children, or have coffee with our friends and determine what we want our political world to look like, and who we would like to see represent us. Finally, I would just like to say that on our Facebook pages, we have every kind of person following us and that includes children as young as 10 and all the way up. We love the robust debate, and the ability for people to have a forum to talk about what is important to them. I so appreciate the time and effort people take comment and to put themselves out there to talk about difficult and sometimes divisive topics. The only thing we ask is that comments be about policy. We have every right to speak out about a particular party’s platforms, the decisions that they make, politician’s commentaries, policy decisions and some of the hypocrisies we encounter. No political party is free from this, and you as the electorate have the right to your commentary, and I certainly use every platform available to me to speak out. The line in the sand for me is when we attack the person, or make comments that do nothing to elevate the discourse, or the discussion. The wonderful thing about the world we live in, is that we have constant access to information. We may google the information, call our local representative, talk at work, community events, hockey or dance practice or around our coffee tables. We are able to engage in so many discussions, which I believe is fabulous. We have some incredibly important decisions to make in the next election, decisions that will impact our province, and more importantly our daily lives. Please feel free to ask us anything when we come to your doors, or call you. Our small but mighty group of volunteers wants your feedback, and they take time out of their incredibly busy schedules to help the cause. We are so blessed to live in this democracy, and it has been a tremendous privilege to represent you, and I hope with your support that I am able to continue. Please get involved in some small way to help our province, and to help build our communities, and to help our neighbors. That is who we are as Albertans. We are strong, resilient, thoughtful, compassionate and hard working. You inspire me everyday, and I am very grateful for the opportunity. As Jason Kenny has said on many occasions, we must work hard and stay humble. I couldn’t agree more. As always, we love to hear from you.