Candidate profiles for Calgary West

By Susan Anderson

With the federal election only a few weeks away, the Gauntlet spoke with several candidates running in the University of Calgary’s riding of Calgary West.

The Students’ Union is holding a candidate forum April 14 at noon at MacEwan Student Centre for the nearby riding of Calgary Centre North.

Rob Anders
Conservative Party

Rob Anders believes in making government smaller, cutting taxes, being tough on crime and having strong national defence.

“The really key thing for students leaving school is that there are jobs, that there’s a viable economy,” said Anders, adding that Prime Minister Stephen Harper is the most qualified to handle the economy.

The Conservative platform regarding post-secondary includes enhancing the Canada Student Loan Program for part-time students, doubling work exemption for Canada Student Loans, establishing 30 Industrial Research Chairs at colleges and polytechnics, supporting research partnerships between college and university researchers and extending support for the Canada Youth Business Foundation.

“I really think that all the universities trying to offer the same cookie-cutter is not a good idea,” said Anders, explaining that the University of Calgary, with its proximity to oil and gas should have strong geology, commerce and related degree programs.

Anders is the incumbent for Calgary West.

Janice Kinch
Liberal Party

The Liberals’ post-secondary platform revolves around the Learning Passport, which promises students with the necessary grades will get to go to university. When students are in grade nine, their parents can open a registered education savings plan account and the government will deposit $1,000 in it each year, up to $4,000. Low-income families will receive up to $6,000 for post-secondary education. There would be no need for the parents to match the amount.

“I believe that it is a privilege to go to university and that every one of us should have the opportunity to get there by some way, shape or form,” said Kinch. “In Canada, we have a very highly subsidized education already, but some students can’t even afford the education being subsidized and we have to make sure we support those students.”

To address post-secondary issues such as increasing tuition, Kinch believes government, universities and students have to work together.

“I believe I can represent Calgary West better, all the people of Calgary West,” said Kinch.

Kinch is a tenured professor at the University of Calgary.

Anna Wagner
Green Party

“I’m running because I support the Green Party values,” said Wagner. “I believe we need to be the change we want to see in the world.”

Wagner proposed proportional representation be instituted in place of Canada’s current voting model.

“We need to re-evaluate our Canadian National Student Loans Program,” Wagner said. “We need to provide more funding for low-income students, disabled students, first generation immigrants and Aboriginal students.”

Wagner proposed the government consider student loans on more of a case-by-case basis and increase opportunities for students to receive funding. She also wants to raise the professor-to-student ratio, increase opportunities for co-ops and internships and make post-secondary a more equitable learning experience.

“Our government is not as responsible in spending as it could be. The money is there, it’s just not being allocated properly,” said Wagner.

Wagner is a University of Calgary alumna and currently working at the U of C.

Shawna Knowles
New Democratic Party

The NDP platform for post-secondary includes making higher education more affordable by addressing tuition costs. The NDP promises to transfer $800 million to the provinces and territories to lower tuition fees. They will also increase funding to the Canada Student Grants Program by $200 million, focus on accessibility for Aboriginal, disabled and low-income students and will raise the education tax credit from $4,800 a year to $5,760 to help with increasing education costs.

Knowles was unable to comment. She has worked at Safeway for 17 years, has been a Union member at UFCW 401 since 1993 and a shop steward since 1995.

Andre Vachon
Marxist-Leninist Party

Vachon was unavailable for comment. The Marxist-Leninist party has no official stance on post-secondary.

Leave a comment