It would be an understatement to say that this year’s federal elections have been a topic of controversy. I am not all that comfortable with the topic of politics, and I usually find myself backing away from any political conversation from fear that I will not make any sense if I try to participate. I think that other people may share that same sentiment. This is why attending talks such as “How the West Was Won” can be enlightening, and hopefully help shed some light on a topic that may seem unfamiliar to you. This free event, hosted by the university, is led by Professors: Lars K. Hallström, Sandra Rein, and Shauna Wilton. They specialize in political science.

Among the topics covered were identity, ideology, and antagonism, particularly with how it relates to Alberta. The issues revolving around the Canadian federal elections are multi-faceted and can be difficult to fully comprehend. The goal of the talk wasn’t to sway anyone one way or another, but rather to inform. We are in a rather interesting situation as we are situated in rural Alberta, where political views tend to lean towards the conservative side. This was a major theme discussed in relation to  the public’s opinion on climate change, immigration, and ethics.

We are in one way or another affected by these circumstances, and with the current lack of interest on certain issues, and fixation on the scandals surrounding our Prime Minister, we are facing precarious times ahead. Attending this event, I was encouraged to not only begin thinking about issues happening around me, but to consider how they can affect us globally. Events that may be happening elsewhere in the world concern us as well.

Despite there being so many differences in the issues that concern people from province to province, climate change seems to be one of the consistently talked about problems regardless of where you may live. It is evident that people are beginning to take notice. From the climate change protests to the news coverage concerning this, it will undeniably play a part in this year’s federal elections. Trying to balance economics, ethics, and eco-friendly solutions while having the best interest of Canadians in mind is no easy task. This is indicative of the shifts in mindset happening not only in Canada, but globally as well. We need to begin seeing the bigger picture. 

With the way things are now, it is difficult to tell in what direction we are heading; the upcoming weeks will be decisive, as the parties leading the polls are neck and neck. There are still undecided voters, which will be vital in determining what the outcome will be. After attending this session, I felt more informed. One of the major messages I took was just how important it is to go and vote. Young people need to become more proactive, partake in, and stay informed on political issues. As this will undoubtedly have a great effect on the future.

(Originally published November 6, 2019)

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