Decision Alberta: Can the UCP gain ground in Edmonton-Meadows with a star candidate?
In the 2015 general election, the NDP took every single Edmonton seat. Now, the UCP is hoping to pick up a seat in the riding of Edmonton-Meadows after leader, Jason Kenney, parachuted well-known former Edmonton Eskimo’s boss, Len Rhodes, into the riding in February.
Rhodes calls Tuesday’s election his Grey Cup.
“I want to make a difference,” he said about why he decided to run.
Rhodes doesn’t live in the riding. He commutes more than half-an-hour every day to door-knock in the neighbourhood. He said when it comes to the message on the doorstep, getting Albertans working is top priority for residents there.
“The unemployment rate is far too high,” he said. “They’re telling me their number one concern is jobs, jobs, jobs.”
Kenney made the decision to appoint Rhodes during the nomination race for the riding. Political analyst Duane Bratt predicts that will cause problems for the party.
“It’s a seat the UCP could have won if they wouldn’t have changed candidates,” Bratt said when asked about the UCP candidate’s chances in the riding, but he did not count Rhodes completely out of the race.
The other front-runners in the race, NDP candidate Jasvir Deol and Alberta Party Candidate Amrit Matharu, have each lived in the riding for more than 20 years. Both told Global News they believe without living in the riding, you can’t truly understand the needs of its residents.
“I’ve dealt with the same problems as my community, the issues we are having,” said Jasvir Deol. “And the opportunities even working in this community.”
Deol is campaigning on the need for more infrastructure in his neighbourhood, including a high school.
Armit Matharu agrees a high school is needed and said, as a 25-year-old, he understands what young people are looking for in their next government.
“I was born and brought up in Edmonton-Meadows,” Matharu told Global News. “Everyone’s portraying this as a two horse race and that’s simply not the case.”
Rhodes, Matharu and Deol all agree on one thing, they’re hoping as many people as possible in their riding get out to have their voices heard at the ballot box.
All three candidates have set up their campaign offices inside the same strip mall north of Whitemud Drive along 50 St.
Along with the UCP, NDP and Alberta Party, three other candidates are running. Phil Batt is running for the Alberta Independence Party, Thomas Varghese is running for the Alberta Advantage Party and Marie Omar is running for the Alberta Liberals.