The Pride Centre hosted a forum for candidates from Edmonton Centre and Edmonton East. I’ve pretty much decided who I’m voting for, but I went to scope out the Ed Centre folks for a couple pals and to see if there would be any surprises in my riding.
Edmonton Centre is currently held by Conservative Laurie Hawn, who didn’t show up. Nor did Conservative Peter Goldring from Ed East. This really opened things up for the rest of the candidates to slam the Tories– apparently, they’ve barely made any appearances, except the ones where you pay for a rubber chicken dinner first. Shame! But in any event, chances are if you’re queer or queer-friendly, you’re not gonna mark an X for a party that seems to have such a hard time with gay people.
The strongest candidate in Edmonton Centre was the Liberal, Jim Wachowich. He’s a lawyer by trade, and worked for many years as a consumer advocate. This experience means he’s able to work at building consensus, as well as speak knowledgeably on the ins and outs of various pieces of legislation. None of the other candidates (ND Donna Martin, Green David Parker, or Marxist-Leninist Peggy Morton) had nearly his potential. And a friend who interviewed him says he was quite impressed with Wachowski. So if you’re living in Edmonton Centre, he’s your man.
In my riding, the one who is heads and shoulders better than the others is ND Ray Martin. He has years of experience– he used to be the provincial party leader. I asked him a couple questions, and he’s really willing to listen and understand the issues from a broad perspective. Liberal Stephanie Laskoski admitted to being completely inexperienced (even comparing herself, rather regrettably, to Sarah Palin). Same with the Green Party candidate, Trey Capnerhurst, who made kind of a bad impression on the crowd by arriving wearing a jingly belly dancing sash and disrupting the events in progress. Both Liberal and Green candidates also relied rather too heavily on party talking points– Laskoski even turned to her Red Book and promised to “Look into it” when she couldn’t find an answer to a question.
I wish either of the Conservative Party members would’ve shown up. It would’ve made for a more balanced evening, giving the strongest candidates a little more to work with, and I would have a little more to consider in my recommendations here. But Wachowich and Martin are the ones to support, if you ask me.