By Alexa Briggs
We’ve seen articles in the Herald recently reporting that more Calgarians are on EI this year and that Calgary has lost jobs in April 2010 while Alberta and Canada have gained jobs (story 1 and story 2). We hope that the candidates running to represent the citizens of Calgary are paying attention to these figures and are giving thoughtful consideration to ways in which this city can make sure that we all prosper in a vibrant city full of economic and social wealth.
We also hope that voters, particularly low-income voters and voters living in poverty, are paying attention to the candidates that are vying to represent them for the next three years. City Council sets the direction for this city and plays a vital role in shaping community outcomes.
Voter turnout in the last municipal election was dismal at 33%. And yet voting is the surest way we all have to make our voices heard. We know that fewer people living in poverty vote and we know that poverty is rarely an election issue. People living in poverty have daily pressures on their lives that impede democratic participation, such as, lack of time to research candidates, lack of proper identification to vote, limited access to transportation, and isolation from a larger community.
This is at the heart of two key goals for VCC in the upcoming election: make poverty an issue that candidates address and increase voter turnout among people living in poverty. If this is an issue that is important to you and you want to be involved but aren’t sure how to make an impact, contact us at the VCC office and we will gladly have a discussion about ways to engage municipally.