The Students’ Union at the University of Alberta hosted the first of two forums for the provincial election, this one for the candidates in Edmonton-Riverview which includes part of the University of Alberta campus and is the home to dozens of students. Post-secondary education was a hot topic among the candidates, as the debate comes hot on the heals of several post-secondary related announcements from the past week.
John Corie (Wildrose), Arif Khan (Liberal), Lori Sigurdson (NDP), Timothy Wong (Alberta Party), and Steve Young (PC) all were present to highlight their campaigns and encourage students to get out and vote on April 23.
Dozens of students came out for the lunch time event, peppering the candidates with questions about our environment, our K-12 education system and of course issues around the affordability and accessibility of our campuses. Given the proximity of the election campaign to our exams the debate was also livestreamed over the internet for students unable to make it to the forum.
Get Out The Vote volunteers were also on hand, collecting pledges and reminding students how important is to cast their ballot on April 23.
Edmonton-Riverview is expected to be a hotly contested riding, with the sitting MLA, Liberal Dr. Kevin Taft, retiring and active campaigns from all five parties. Only 2,300 votes decided the contest in 2008 – and that was with the Leader of the Official Opposition being the incumbent. All parties are expecting a much closer race this time and with polls indicating that there is three-way and in many cases the possibility of four-way races in Edmonton ridings Edmonton-Riverview will likely be a riding where students who get out and vote will make the difference between who wins, and who loses.