Supporters and campaign volunteers gathered at the Richie Community League on Sunday afternoon as Edmonton’s lone non-Conservative member of parliament launched her re-election campaign.
Heather McPherson, NDP MP for Edmonton Strathcona, stepped into office in 2019 and she told Postmedia she will be pushing against some “disastrous” decisions being made by the provincial government.
“When I knock on doors, we’re hearing that Jason Kenney and the conservatives are not fighting for Albertans, they’re not doing what Albertans want,” said McPherson. “Albertans want investment in health care, childcare … and for us to invest in our post-secondary education, that’s going to be a big piece for me.”
McPherson said her campaign will look different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There won’t be as many people in the office and there won’t be any big rallies because keeping people safe is a priority for her.
Heading into the federal election, which is set for Sept. 20 after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau triggered a snap election on Sunday, McPherson said she is optimistic she won’t be the only orange spot on the map.
“I will tell you that on election day in 2019, I said I wanted this to be the very last election where I was the only New Democrat in Alberta and I think that that’s going to be the case because I have a really strong belief we’re going to be able to get more seats in Edmonton for sure, maybe even some in Calgary as well,” said McPherson.
McPherson said she is proud she was able to get the federal government to stop coal mining in the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains and she said even though her riding is in an urban area, it was a priority for her constituents to see that stopped.
She said the NDP will also be focusing on pharmacare, dental care, mental health care supports and a wealth tax to ensure the “ultra-wealthy” pay their fair share. She adds reconciliation is important as well and they need to deal with Indigenous issues with legitimacy instead of promises.
Linda Duncan has set the groundwork for the NDP in Edmonton Strathcona, said McPherson, and she said the riding is a special place in the city.
“We’ve got the University of Alberta, we’ve got lots of post-secondary institutions in this riding, Rachel Notley is our MLA, so it’s really just a cool a place,” she said. “It’s where the arts community is, it’s where the music scenes are, it’s where we have Whyte Avenue and it’s the heart of our city.”
Duncan showed support for McPherson on Sunday and she said McPherson volunteered when Duncan was the MP and she knew right away she had found her replacement.
“I was bang on right,” said Duncan. “I’m actually in awe of what she’s managed to do especially with the party whittled down and being smaller.”
Duncan also said she thinks there could be more NDP representatives in Parliament this year and she said the calibre of people running for the party is high and they would be good representatives for Alberta.