Opposition Leader Rachel Notley joined NDP candidate Gwendoline Dirk, along with more than 50 volunteers, on the doorsteps of residents across the Brooks-Medicine Hat riding on the evening of Oct. 25.
“What we are hearing from the folks in this riding, is they want to see a government that is focused on addressing their priorities,” stated Notley. “Gwendoline has lived here for many decades, has taught so many people who live here either in school or college and is a huge volunteer. That is a big contrast to the UCP leader who is running here, who has never lived here before and doesn’t live here now. Who is refusing to commit to move here after the election. She is not only a parachute candidate but a parachute candidate with no plans to stay here after she lands but rather just pick up and leave again.”
Dirk took the floor and started by saying the number of volunteers working on her campaign grows by the day. They have talked to about 3,000 people, made 7,000 calls and knocked on 1,400 doors.
“When I’m out on the doorsteps talking to people, I know what their concerns are because they tell me,” said Dirk. “I’ve been hearing their concerns for the last three years. People are worried about not being able to find a family doctor in Medicine Hat because so many doctors have not only left our beautiful city to find opportunities elsewhere but they have fled the province because of the chaos.”
Affordability is another concern, particularly for seniors on fixed incomes, along with a desire for a stable, resilient economy in Alberta.
When asked what her first steps would be if elected, Dirk said she hadn’t thought that far ahead as she hadn’t anticipated a byelection. She says finding the best ways to continue to connect with people and to advocate in Edmonton will be her primary goals.
Notley jumped in with, “We have a caucus of 23 people who have spent a good deal of time knowing how to engage most effectively with the folks in their riding. Knowing how to connect with the stakeholders and knowing how to ensure that their voice can be heard in the legislature.”
Notley added the legislature sits again, in theory, on Nov. 29 and Dirk would get the support and advice she needs from strong advocates there.
SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News