As week two of the federal election wrapped up, several first-time Lethbridge candidates continued their push for votes.
The Green Party’s Stephnie Watson, Grant Hepworth from the People’s Party and Marc Slingerland, who is representing the Christian Heritage Party, are up against Amy Bronson from the Liberal Party, Shandi Bleiken representing the NDP, and Conservative incumbent Rachael Harder who is seeking a second term.
These candidates may be seen as the underdogs, but that doesn’t mean they’re not campaigning just as hard as their counterparts.
“We just picked up brochures and literature today, we’ve got some signs starting to go out and we’ll hit as many doors as we can,” said Slingerland.
Watson noted the campaign is “really about getting out and meeting with people and being in the community and talking to them directly,” and Hepworth said his party has several volunteers ready to “go out and pound the pavement.”
In the 2015 federal election, the People’s Party didn’t exist, while the Green Party and Christian Heritage Party combined only made up about four per cent of the vote. In comparison, the Liberals finished in third with about 19 per cent. Conservatives won the 2015 election with about 57 per cent of the vote, NDP was second with about 21 per cent.
Although the odds for a victory are slim, these candidates are hoping for a change.
“We need a government that is not afraid of the big issues, that is willing to grapple with the moral issues that really underlie our country and that looks for solutions from the past,” said Slingerland. “Not just giving people what they want to hear to try to sway a few votes.”
While representing Lethbridge in Ottawa is the goal for Hepworth, he said increased political engagement would also mark a successful campaign.
“I would like to see it more prevalent within society that we actually pay attention,” he said.
“A win would be that people are talking about it. We planted a seed and it’s going to grow — that would be a win.”
Watson said they hope the engagement in politics doesn’t end with the election.
“The part of democracy isn’t done once they vote, there are ways and steps that we can continue to move things forward whether or not the person you voted for got elected,” they said.
Canadians will vote in the federal election on Oct. 21.