A Chevere TALK about elections with MLA Ric McIver of Calgary Hays
How is the election process in AB?
Yeah, well in Alberta the elections take place generally speaking every four years because it’s a democracy, if somebody loses a confidence vote the election could be more often than that, but under normal circumstance the election takes place every four years. It’s a party system, there’s no limit to the number of parties that can participate in the elections in Alberta. I think if you go on the elections Alberta website, which I haven’t lately, I think you will find as many as 15 or 20 political parties, but you probably won’t see all of them if you’re voting in Alberta, you probably will have somewhere between two and six candidates to vote for, so the main parties are: the United conservative party, the Liberal Party, the Alberta party, the NDP, there’s the Independence Party, wild rose Party, there’s also you know what there used to be even a Communist Party, I don’t know if it’s still there or not, but anyways, there’s a bunch of parties actually registered to run in Alberta and several of them will have perhaps one or two or three candidates across Alberta, but there’s 87 ridings, more or less well known parties may have 1,2,3 or 4. But the parties that probably will have close to 87 candidates, in other words one in every riding will be the liberals, the UCP, the Alberta party and the NDP, probably those four mostly and to varying degrees.
For someone to be a candidate do they have to be living in that area?
No, in Canada the rules are interesting, and just to illustrate it, so if you live somewhere in the city of Calgary, in the municipal election, you can run anywhere in the city of Calgary. In other words, if you live somewhere in Alberta, you can run anywhere in Alberta in the provincial election and in the federal election, if you live somewhere in Canada you can run anywhere in Canada, which is kind of interesting, so you could live in Halifax and run in Victoria, we can live in Tuktoyaktuk and run in Windsor, and I’m just trying to think of roughly the most northern part of Canada, the most southern part of Canada, and that’s consistent, whether it’s municipal elections, provincial elections, or federal elections.
Is there a limit of how many times you can hold that position, like is there a limit?
There are no term limits per se, of how many times, you get elected is due to how many times the voters will choose you to be elected, so in other words, if someone, somewhere, keeps voters interested for 25 elections in a row technically you could be elected for 100 years in a row, that I don’t expect will ever happen, but there has been a couple of instances where someone has been elected for 30 or 40 years, I I don’t know what the average is in Alberta, the average is two or three terms, six or eight or ten years of time elected, so I guess I’ve been hanging around a long time, I was elected for three terms on City Council, and I’ve been elected for three terms in the legislative assembly for of Alberta, and if I get reelected again on May 29th, that’ll be my fourth term of office.
Who is Ric and who is he representing?
I represent everyone, all my constituents, I mean I one thing I try to remind myself every day that the people that live in my riding and vote for me or even they don’t vote at all, they are still all my bosses, and like I said, even in my outdoor knocking, as I have been here now, and somebody says Rick I’m never going to vote for you, I don’t like you, I don’t care for the things that you want to do, they’re my bosses too, and I need to listen to them, I mean it’s a service, I think it’s a service job, and it’s a servant leadership style I think when it’s done properly, and all the people who live in that area are my bosses, whether they like me, whether they agree with me, or whether I agree with them, or like them or not, I need to serve all of them.
You have been there for a good time, meaning your work is valuable and get a good reception
Reason is, I’ve been fortunate enough to be elected six Times Now, and then so is because of the specific topics that I fight for, or some issues that I focus on, or it’s because I work hard, and I try to listen to people, and I try to represent the majority views of my riding, if you talk to individual voters they may have other completely different reasons, why they either do vote, or never vote, or why they didn’t use to vote, or they do now, or why they did used to vote for me, and stopped voting for me, I think there could be a different answer for every person you ask.
Is there any specific achievement that you like pointing?
yeah there’s probably several, probably the one I think is the biggest thing that I’ve ever been able to achieve is that when I was term of office from 2012 to 2015 when I was transportation minister, I was able to negotiate with the chief of counsel and the people of this nation, to make an agreement to allow for the railroad to get built, and that was something that had been attempted for I don’t know 60 or 70 years, and no one was able to get it done, but I was able to achieve that when I was there, so that I think that changed a lot of people’s lives particularly on the West side of the Calgary’s green line LRT, got also work with our friends at the Stony nations to end up with the highway from Concord to Canmore which will be a big safety issue and an alternate route for when there’s accidents on the number one highway and also just a beautiful different way to head out to Banff for Calgarians.
Who are the most involved in politics here in Alberta?
Persons that are active in the process you know, I guess if you break out the population by age, in general, older people vote more than younger, but I think in general terms most people would agree that older people vote more consistently than other people, I think people go through their lives and have more things to worry about, for instance, when they own a home and an automobile and whatever else, they may pay more taxes, typically then is when they start paying more attention to government.
When they got a paycheck for $1000 and they only get to take $700.00 home, they start asking the obvious question where did the other $300 go?, and who’s spending it? and that pretty much leads you to start thinking about government, so I’m proud to say that there’s lots of young people and are very politically involved, even in some cases running for office, but being involved in helping the other people get elected, I’m blessed to have many of those help me out in my campaigns, and I think it’s something we need to be encouraging for, younger people getting involved, because most of what the government does, affects the future of all of us, and the young people of course have mathematically speaking the most future, I mean I’m 64 years old, certainly an 18 year old has on a lot more future to look forward to than I do, so they should be interested in what the government is doing because they have to live with it from a longer period of time.
Do you do you think the Latino community is a big active force?
I get the sense that Latino community is active, I’m sure there’s lots of them that support me, and I’m grateful for that, we need that everybody’s voice be heard, we certainly need the Latino community’s voice heard,, because they live here they pay taxes, they have to be treated fairly and be recognized in society, so and to your readers, and the people that will pay attention to this, get involved! I would say to the Latino community have your voice heard if you want whatever, and I also would say that Latino interests to a large degree are the same as everybody else’s interests, we’re all human beings, the most important part about Latino people or white people or Asian people or any other people, is the word people.
We’re all people, I think most people want their children and grandchildren to have a better life than they had, that’s just human nature, and that’s why it’s important to get involved in the political process, I know there’s people that will listen or read this, don’t like politics or don’t like politicians, some of them may not like me, and that’s all fair enough, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but remember folks, whether you like me or like politicians or not, we politicians make rules that everybody has to live by, so that’s a good reason to get involved in politics and when an election comes up find out which candidates are going to be have their name on the ballot where you live, and do a little research, find out who they are, what they’ve done in the past, and what kind of people they are, and vote for someone that’s going to be good for you and your family’s future, vote your own self-interests, that’s the best thing you can do because otherwise you got other people that may completely disagree with you voting their self-interests and then your voice gets lost and your influence on the future decisions of a government gets lost, so yeah, all people but obviously including Latino people, that’s my advice is please get involved, inform yourself and vote, and be active other ways if you’re so inspired.
Why should we vote?
you know sometimes I’m lucky enough in my job that I get to talk to grade six students in school in their classrooms ,and I always try to remind them that look at yourself in the mirror and realize that what you see in the mirror, in other words when you look at yourself, that person could be the next mayor, the next premier, the next Prime Minister, the next counselor, the next MLA, the next MP, you could be the one that is asking people to vote for them and is making decisions on the on behalf of other people, and why can’t it be Latino? why can’t it be whatever way you want to describe people as you know, race, creed, color, religion, orientation, the most important descriptor is the word people and those people Latinos should consider that they could be the next Prime Minister, Premier or Mayor and if that’s what they would like then they should vote!
By: Omar El Kadi