With the federal election fast approaching, Town & Country News spoke with the candidates in our Grande Prairie-Mackenzie riding.
New Democratic Party of Canada - Jennifer Villebrun
Jennifer Villebrun has put her foot into the race as the NDP candidate for Grande Prairie-Mackenzie.
Villebrun, a long-time Valleyview resident, has worked as a lawyer and is now a school teacher in High Prairie.
“I've always been interested in politics right from the time I was a young girl, and I think one of the things that has drawn me to it, is that I see so many opportunities where I feel our government could be doing better,” she told the News.
Villebrun is no stranger to politics as she ran for office in the Peace River-Westlock riding in 2019, under the NDP banner and lost to CPC candidate Arnold Viersen.
She has also worked with non-profit organizations advocating for government resources and with groups such as Habitat for Humanity.
“Many people I encounter in our region are struggling to live affordably (with) the cost of housing, the cost of childcare … all of those things are really putting a financial burden on the people and then it's only been amplified over the last 18 months with a pandemic,” she said.
“The policies regarding housing support, childcare, pharmacare, things like making sure that workers have paid sick leave, to me, those are hugely important things that need to be emphasized in this area.”
She said the NDP also wants to help rebuild the economy.
“I think that the NDP has some really great ideas.
"They want to focus on rebuilding manufacturing industries and attracting industries, such as the auto industry back into Canada and helping build those so that we have a diverse economy.”
She noted that oil and gas and the forestry sectors are crucial parts of the economy but said she hopes to see those expand so that new possibilities can happen in the area.
If elected, she wants to have a more hands-on approach to representing the community, something she says is missing.
“I want to meet with the people,” said Villebrun. “I want to know what their concerns are at the end of the day.
“I really do think that Jagmeet Singh (NDP national leader) is someone who has done a lot for Canadians in the past few years, through his role in the House.
“The NDP pushed hard to increase access to CERB and wage subsidies over the last 18 months. “They really focused a lot on the reality that people in our communities need help with affordability and the policies that the NDP developed really reflect the real lives of people.”
In a previous issue of Town & Country News, we spoke with Grande Prairie-Mackenzie candidates: CPC candidate Chris Warkentin, PPC candidate Shawn McLean and Maverick candidate Ambrose Ralph.
Dan Campbell has been named as the Liberal party candidate for Grande Prairie-Mackenzie. He did not respond to a request for an interview before press time.
Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News