Saturday, April 14, 2012

The Race for Calgary-East

Calgary-East, not to be confused with the federal constituency of the same name, was formed in 1993 (a previous riding named Calgary East had been around in the 60's). It includes the communities of Vista Heights, Rundle, Marlborough, and Mayland Heights. Entrepreneurship and blue collar concerns carry a lot of weight as issues here. Many residents are first-or-second generation Canadians, although voter turn-out tends to be below average (families that come to Canada from elsewhere are more likely, generally, to vote than those who have been here for many generations - they haven't yet learned to view democracy as a nuisance rather than a blessing). For the past 19 years, the riding has been represented by Progressive Conservative Moe Amery.

The Candidates:
Ali Abdulbaki (LIB)
Moe Amery (PC)
Bonnie Devine (Communist)
Robyn Luff (NDP)
Jasbir (Jesse) Minhas (WRP)

Ali Abdulbaki does not have a campaign website, and information about him is fairly thin on the internet. Assuming that I've found the right one, then: He is in his late 20's, is a Jersey Shore fan, and someone on his campaign might have wanted to tell him to make his Facebook page a little more "fit for public consumption" before running for office.

Moe Amery has represented this area as MLA since 1993. The former realtor and father of 5 moved to Canada as a 20-year old and came to Calgary shortly after. Amery has never been shy to step out and state the position of his constituents, even when they don't jibe with PC Party policy. Pre-writ, Moe served on 4 committees, including (along with 20 other MLA's) the infamous "No-Meet Committee".

Bonnie Devine is a former mayoral candidate in Calgary, and ran in this riding provincially for the Alberta Communist Party in 2004 and again in 2008. An outspoken activist and critic of Calgary's small but well-publicized White Pride movement, Devine's home was broken into several years ago and her husband beaten in an effort to silence them. Her party platform includes the institution of a 32-hour work week with no reduction in pay, and doubling the minimum wage.

Robyn Luff is a math and science teacher (grade 8), and avid community volunteer. The NDP runs in her veins - her grandfather ran for the party in the 1960's. The bulldog owner lists the cost of living as one of her major concerns, touching on tuition fees, daycare costs, medication for seniors and electricity rates as costs that need controlling.

Jasbir (Jesse) Minhas was educated in India and then spent years working his way up to the Canadian Dream: From CP Rail, to Calgary Transit, to finally opening his own convenience store. Minhas has been politically active for over 20 years, and currently works as a real estate consultant, helping local businesses find new homes. He lists health care as the largest issue facing the riding.

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