It’s time to embrace new economic era

Lauren Pezzela

New Democratic Party

I am not a career politician. I never expected to run for public office.

I am 24 years old. I should be eating avocado toast and swiping on Tinder, but our current government and governments past have ensured I will no longer stay silent on the sidelines.

If I want a good future for myself and my future children, I will have to fight for it myself.

Last summer, we had forest fires so bad, we could barely breathe, and this summer, it flooded, destroying millions of dollars of property. Yet, some political candidates deny climate change and insist fossil fuels are our only future.

Alberta has been an economic powerhouse for as long as I can remember (albeit, I am only 24), and yet we pass by opportunities to train our workers in new technology and carbon-neutral energies to support an industry people across the world are actively reducing their dependency on.

It may just be the business student in me, but that doesn’t seem right. I want to help bring Alberta into a new economic era, where we are world leaders, not just citizens clinging to a disappearing resource.

Nearly half of Canadian workers are living paycheque-to-paycheque. We need to take better care of each other. It’s time to lift the debt burden from our young people, make sure everyone has an affordable place to live, and expand public health-care services to areas like prescription drugs – so Canadians save money.

We need to make investments in new technologies and infrastructure to create more jobs and opportunities all across the country, while protecting the environment.

We should be working towards full equality for LGBTQ2+ Canadians. That’s why we need to end the discriminatory ban on blood donation by men and trans women who have sex with men.

Ban so-called conversion therapy for minors in Canada and work with provinces and territories to ban this practice across the country. Add sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to the Employment Equity Act to end employment discrimination.

Canada thrives when women are given the opportunity to thrive. That’s why I am defending the right to choose and improve access to abortion services. I want to make affordable childcare available to all families, so no one has to choose between a job and a family.

Develop a national action plan to end gender-based violence and improve access to shelters. Promote domestic violence (awareness), leave policies in workplaces and improve police training on sexual assault.

Tackle gender-based wage discrimination and improve women’s political participation. Implement the calls to justice of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

We’re at an important moment in our history – so many Canadians want to engage in meaningful reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. We’re committed to a true nation-to-nation relationship; reconciliation, recognition of Indigenous rights, and equal funding.

Under our plan, Indigenous communities can have safe housing, clean drinking water, access to health care and quality education.

We’ll end the underfunding of Indigenous children’s services and education and invest what’s needed to lift all drinking water advisories across the country by 2021.

Let’s create a better, more prosperous future together. My name is Lauren Pezzella, and I am your NDP representative for Red Deer-Lacombe.

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