NDP candidate for Battlefords-Lloydminster Sandra Arias may be a little late to the game in terms of campaigning for the federal election, but that hasn’t put a damper on her attitude as she says she’s feeling good about the race and is looking forward to a successful run.
“It’s really busy. It’s already gearing up and I’m feeling really good about it. The response I’m getting is unbelievable,” she said. “The momentum is building and it’s really quite exciting to be a part of this. I believe that there will be lots of support in this riding. I think the support is there and it’s showing.”
Some of the issues she wants to talk about in this campaign focus on the economy, affordable childcare and housing, strengthening universal healthcare and renewing Canadian democracy. She says Conservative Leader Stephen Harper has been “chiseling” away at the country’s democracy and Canadians should be more concerned about the issue.
“Canadians should really try to inform themselves in just the direction our country is going in under his leadership,” she said.
Arias’s official nomination announcement was on Sunday, Aug. 16 and she is now working on getting her headquarters set up. She says she will soon start working on her signage, begin canvassing and attending events in the constituency. According to Arias there are a number of potential voters in the riding, those who hadn’t felt inclined to vote in the last election, and she aims to engage that portion of the electorate and is already getting a positive response from many of them.
“I’m not naive to the stronghold the Conservatives have here in this riding, but I also know that there are untapped voters here that did not come out and vote in the last election and it showed in the polls. That’s why I feel very hopeful and positive about this because these undecided, these untapped, these voters who didn’t come out are contacting and supporting me,” she said.
“They’re reading my material, they’re talking to me in the street. I’m reaching out to people one by one and it seems to be building that momentum. I’m going to try my hardest to be engaging all of them.”
Arias has a background in politics, having run in two elections for council in the Red Pheasant First Nations, and was successful in the second campaign, becoming an elected official in that area. She says she believes politics are similar at every level, though admits they become more sophisticated at higher levels, but she doesn’t feel intimidated running in this election.
A longtime NDP supporter and admirer of former party leader Jack Layton, Arias said she believes the New Democrats care about every individual in the country and doesn’t see that in the other parties.
“They don’t have a focus on who they’re going to be targeting. If they we’re going to be in power I don’t believe they would have a focus on corporations or a specific community,” she said. “They don’t believe in taking a way a person’s democratic rights or human rights and I can stand behind that 100 per cent.”
As to what makes her a good candidate to vote for in this election, she says she is passionate and willing to be the voice of the people who she feels have been ignored in her riding for years.
“I think people can support something like that when they know someone has their best interest at heart. Things like climate change, affordable housing, health care, nation-to-nation relationships with First Nations and the MÃ©tis people, the economy, those are some things I truly believe the NDP has the right plan for.”