6 reasons I’m voting Shannon Phillips for MLA of Lethbridge West

I hate the party system. Well, more specifically, I hate what it has done to our political system. We now live in a time where everything revolves around the party.
We cannot discuss politics without others assuming we belong to one party or another. Politicians represent their party to us instead of us to their party. The Senate has lost its way and is nothing more than an extension of the Parliament.
Anyone who knows me well, knows I am a non-partisan voter. I vote based on candidates, not the party they represent. It’s tough though because no one ever sees that; all they see is the party of the person I vote for. No one party ascribes to all principles that are important to me; each major party stands for things I believe in, but when I try to say such-and-such party stands for so-and-so, I am painted automatically as a supporter of that party. And that frustrates me.
After all, if I stand for gay rights, it doesn’t make me gay. If I defend women, it doesn’t make me a woman. If I try to speak for black people, it doesn’t make me black.
Until today, I have been undecided regarding who I would vote for, and I have struggled trying to make a decision. Some candidates made it easy. One candidate removed me as a friend on Facebook when I questioned one of his posts. Two candidates use the MLA position as a stepping stone to advance their political career. Two of the candidates, when asked what assurances they could give me that they would represent me over representing their parties, sent me to their parties’ websites for their stance on the issue.
That being said, it was still a tough decision, but here is why I finally buckled down today and made the decision to vote for Shannon Phillips.
First, Shannon was the only candidate who sought me out. She contacted me personally early in her campaign to actually sit down with me and discuss politics. No other candidate did that. I received no unsolicited, personal emails from any other candidates. I received no unsolicited, personal emails from any other candidates. No other candidates came to my door. Shannon was the only candidate who made me feel that my vote was actually important to her.
Second, when asked whether she would represent the constituency over the party, she said she would. Unlike some of the other candidates, who tried to slide out of answering the question by sending me to their parties’s websites, she actually outlined not only why she would do so, but why an environment exists to allow her to do so.
Third, her background in politics and policy means she is intimately familiar with the political process and how the Legislature works. She doesn’t need training. She is ready to hit the ground running. She isn’t using this opportunity to advance from alderman, to mayor, to MLA, to minister.
Fourth, last night, after the Chamber of Commerce forum ended, Shannon was the only one of 9 candidates who left the stage immediately to be at her table to meet with constituents. Everyone else stayed behind to chat with one another, as if it were an old boys club or something.
Fifth, she is intelligent, knowledgeable, and well-spoken.
Lastly, she is feisty. She is determined, and she has shown that she has real passion and a willingness to stand up for people. She works very hard and doesn’t expect to assume she has votes. She has a tenacity that assures me she will stand up for her constituents.
It took me a long time to decide who to vote for, and I nearly ran out of time, but I am confident I’m making the right choice for Lethbridge West.

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By Kim Siever

Kim Siever is an independent queer journalist based in Lethbridge, Alberta. He writes daily news articles, focusing on politics and labour.

6 replies on “6 reasons I’m voting Shannon Phillips for MLA of Lethbridge West”

It is so refreshing to find someone who has taken the time to consider his vote. It is so important for people to our keep politicians honest. If more Albertans would follow your example it would be but the first step of an informed community voting and putting together the first building blocks towards a true democracy in this province, where the voting sytem reflects allow people with an opposite point of view a voice in the Legislature if their total votes warrants it. We need a system when there is also no rural gerrymander. Then and only then will we have a true democratic system here.
In my case I will have to cast a strategic vote as my choices are limited to the PC’s and WR and I want my voice, hopefully, in the Legislature.
My preferred realistic outcome for this election is a minority government where there are enough opposition members to stop or modify to Albertans advantage any legislation that is extreme. I know that there are advocacy groups for strategic voting like and I intend to find out what they have to say.

Thanks, Mike. I too would prefer a minority government with sizeable oppositions.

I take exception to point #2. “…when asked whether she would represent the constituency over the party, she said she would.”
Let’s not kid ourselves, it’s unlikely that she would actually do so and even if she did, it’s likely that the party would limit her ability to be politically involved afterward as punishment. Sound far-fetched? It’s happened before at the federal level with the NDP party:
I’m not bringing this point up as an attack on the NDP party, as this is a problem that plagues all political parties. I bring this up because I feel people should question a political system where representatives are more loyal to their parties than they are to their constituents who elected them. As you have pointed out, our current party system seems to be a perversion of the original intent of the political system. I really wish more people would take issue with elected representatives who seem more concerned with furthering their political career than representing their constituents.

I agree with you, Cory, on the fact that our system is corrupt, but I disagree with you on the point regarding Shannon specifically. I am confident, based on the conversations I have had with all the candidates, that she is the one most likely to stand up for the desires of her constituents.

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