Tanya Heyden-Kaye, NDP candidate

Tanya Heyden-Kaye, NDP candidate

Meet the candidate: Red Deer – Lacombe (NDP)

NDP: Tanya Heyden-Kaye

Tanya Heyden-Kaye, NDP

Current occupation: I was program staff at ParentLink in Lacombe and Wetaskiwin but my job and all of my colleagues’ jobs were eliminated due to UCP restructuring and cuts.

What are the three most pressing issues facing Central Albertans and how will you address them?

Reconciliation and racial justice: We live on the unceded territory of the Blackfoot, Plains Cree, Tsuu T’ina, and Michif peoples. I strongly believe that the federal government’s relationship to Indigenous peoples must be based on an acknowledgement of our country’s colonial history of genocide and stolen lands and include legally binding commitments to reconciliation including clean drinking water immediately, safe housing, respectful and safe access to healthcare.

Hate crimes have tripled since the pandemic began. Social media platforms need to be legally held responsible for removing hateful content and I will fight with Jagmeet Singh to make that happen.

Women and childcare: Women make up at least 46 per cent of the workforce in Alberta and they are first line childcare for families. I was still working at ParentLink when the UCP cancelled the provincial NDP $25 per day childcare program and saw first-hand how many women had to leave their new jobs because they could no longer afford childcare, especially mothers with more than one child. It was financially devastating for those families. Single mothers in rural Alberta could no longer afford childcare. A plan including $10 per day childcare would make it affordable for women to work. I am committed to doing just that.

There are too many rural communities in Alberta that don’t have access to women’s health care – including access to abortion, especially since the shuttering of Greyhound this year. Every person in Alberta should have the right to decide what to do with their own body. Every woman should have access to lifesaving health care.

COVID-19 recovery: Over the last year and a half we saw large industries receiving large COVID payouts from the federal government while small businesses, which were much more highly affected by shutdowns, received almost nothing. Rural Albertans deserve more. Small businesses need more support than huge corporations.

A few more things …

You have served in office before. What have you learned? Why are you running now?

Born in Winyard, Sask. and raised in Drumheller Alta. Ponoka has been my home for the last 15 years.

This is your first time running, why are you running now?

This is my first time running for office. I have written so many letters to politicians over the last two years, including Blaine Calkins, Ron Orr, Tyler Shandro, Adriana LaGrange but I have never felt like my concerns were taken seriously. No one was listening.

At the nurses picket in Ponoka I spoke with Janis Irwin (NDP MLA for Edmonton-Highlands-Norwood) about the state our province is in because of the UCP. About two days later she contacted me and asked if I had ever considered running for the NDP federally. I said, ‘how would I go about doing that?’ Janis put me in touch with the right people and now, here I am. I’m happy to be working to help people in Central Alberta.

Why would you make a good representative for your constituents?

  • I care deeply about the people in rural Alberta, especially people whose voices are underrepresented. I am strongly anti-racist, pro harm-reduction and a 2S+LGBTQ rights activist.
  • I won’t change my stance on issues just to get a vote. During this campaign I have found that I love listening to people talk about what is meaningful to them.
  • I want to be a voice for people in our province who aren’t being heard. I want to see Alberta revitalized by investing in sustainable development projects and local business.

Tell us a surprising or interesting fact or story about yourself.

My maternal grandparents were part of the Dutch resistance to Nazi occupation in the Second World War. They’re true heroes.

Notable past achievements/titles/jobs.

My most notable achievement, title and job is being a mother to two amazing kids. I have been a speaker at anti-racism events both in Ponoka and Lacombe and co-founded the Ponoka Pride & Community GSA. Getting the pride flag raised for the first time ever in Ponoka in July 2021.

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