The Carters are helping with construction in southeast Edmonton this week on the Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project (CWP), along with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood and hundreds of other volunteers.
“When we get through with this build here, we’ll look back and say ‘this was one of the best we ever had’,” Carter told 630 CHED Wednesday afternoon while taking a break from construction. “It’s because the people in Edmonton work so hard to make Habitat a success, whether we’re here or not.”
WATCH BELOW: President Carter took a break Wednesday to speak with 630 CHED and CISN Country 103.9
The CWP is building 75 homes between Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan. It’s the second-largest work project the Carters have ever been involved in. It’s a cause Carter fervently supports, even as he nears the age of 93, because he has seen the results.
“You take a Habitat homeowner family, where they have been dependent on public welfare or help from the government, and all of a sudden they become full taxpayers, they become equal citizens, and they have confidence in themselves for the first time,” Carter said.
“For many Habitat homeowners, it might be the first time they’ve ever experienced success in life.”
Habitat is building 75 homes between Edmonton and Fort Saskatchewan. That makes up half of Habitat’s national goal of 150 to mark Canada 150. There are about 14,000 volunteers involved in the Edmonton project, including the homeowners, who are required to chip in at least 500 hours of labour.
LISTEN: The full interview between Corus Radio Edmonton and President Carter
In between measuring, cutting, and hammering, there was another important message that Carter wanted to bring to Edmonton. Whenever he comes to Canada or meets Canadians, he continues to say thank-you for Canada’s help in the 1979 Iran hostage crisis.
“In one of the most emotionally charged and challenging times of our life in America, the Canadians came to our rescue. So I took an oath to myself that whenever I got my first chance to speak to a Canadian audience, I would just thank them once more for what they did for us.”
WATCH BELOW: Global Edmonton’s ongoing coverage of the Carter Work Project
As for the current political climate, Carter admits that he does not agree with the Trump administration on basic policies, but he has met with some key cabinet leaders, and he says he is still guided by the advice of one of his former schoolteachers.
“What Miss Suter used to tell us children in the rural community where I grew up is we must accommodate changing times, but cling to principles that never change. I think in a troubled political era when economics are bad or we have setbacks in life, we need to remember that.”