The federal New Democratic Party announced last week Janine Giles of Cayley will be the candidate in the next federal election.
Giles is a PhD student at the University of Calgary studying political behaviour in the department of political science.
Giles lives in Canmore as she completes her studies.
“Even though Macleod is one of the toughest ridings to compete in, I am prepared to use my knowledge of federal issues to fight this campaign and to give voice to political opposition in Alberta,” Giles, 28, said.
“I also want the campaign to have the humour and satire — used by Rick Mercer and Jon Stewart — that marks my generation’s relationship with politics, though perhaps with a rural twist.”
The New Democratic Party has a strong rural heritage in the prairies. It perennially receives the second largest federal vote share in Alberta, next to the Conservative Party.
The vote on the next federal budget on March 22 could determine whether there is an election soon. The Conservative government needs the support of at least one opposition party to remain in power.
Giles plans to bring such issues as health care, gun control and the environment front and centre to campaign debates.
Giles said Harper’s Conservative government has not been a strong enough advocate for Canada’s universal health care system.
“If you try to look at Harper’s position on health care, it’s hard to find,” Giles said. “A lot of voters are disappointed in its demotion to a junior ministry. Most Canadians can’t even name the federal health minister — not because of her abilities as a minister, but because her role has been diminished by Harper’s government. It can be attributed to the absence of any real policy in this portfolio.”
Giles said the New Democratic Party has something to offer a large rural riding like Macleod when it comes to issues such as gun control and the environment.
“Harper’s government has taken important Canadian values and turned them into wedge issues to divide us for political gain,” Giles said. “Indeed, Harper has focused on partisan games rather than doing what’s right.”