Well Calgary West, it’s been quite an adventure being your Green Party Candidate.
On February 28th I was chosen by the Green Party Calgary West Electoral District Association to run in the next election, whenever that would be. As you know, the 41st edition came quickly.
I began my campaign believing that I could win, and am proud to say that I maintained that hope and confidence in the face of many rude and disparaging remarks by people in the riding (see Attention Voting Psychics of Calgary West). I strongly believe that if you don’t think you have a chance, then you don’t. But if you start out thinking you do, then you just might. I believed in my message till the end.
I am proud of the heart I put into this campaign. You may or may not know this but I was still working at my job at the U of C while campaigning, and managing to take a day or two off per week to stay sane. I am proud to say that I was able to reply to nearly all of the 1123 emails I received since the election was called, only missing a few at the very end. It was clear to me that people appreciated getting a reply from me, and that I was often the only candidate who did reply to them. I also received several phone calls a week from people in the riding to talk about my stand on different issues and I really enjoyed having that connection to you.
It was my intention to run this campaign without using cheap, dirty attack politics, and to remain positive and forward thinking. I believe that I have accomplished this goal, and I have nothing to regret about my behaviour.
Of course there are many things that I would have done differently in terms of campaign strategy, but I am proud of what I accomplished with the time, resources and experience that I had available. I may not have won the election, but I believe I accomplished something valuable – I gave many people in Calgary West an opportunity to be heard, and a voice. I listened to you tell me about what is important to you. I shared some of it on this website, and would have added more examples had I more time.
Ultimately, I believe I accomplished something very important in this campaign: I reminded you of what true democracy can look like – that it’s not a pipe dream to be represented properly and to have a real voice and the opportunity to be heard. I know that many of you have contacted me with your frustrations at being ignored by your MP, and some of you with stories about being hung up on the phone. Do not give up.
If something is important to you, keep voicing your concerns to your MP, Rob Anders. That’s what he’s there for, and that what our taxes pay for. I also advise that you copy any correspondence to the Prime Minister, and that you keep track of your attempts to make contact. I also strongly suggest that if you are consistently ignored or dealt with unfairly that you take that documented history to the media. You deserve to be heard, and with pressure, you will. If you don’t believe me that change is possible, watch this very inspiring video from a TED conference in Egypt where the speaker Wael Ghonim reminds us that ‘the power of the people is much stronger than the people in power‘.
I urge you to keep caring about your country. I have to admit that as soon I found out that we had a Conservative majority (the weakest ‘majority’ in Canadian history by the way), I started wondering where I might be able to move to as a political refugee. I am not comfortable with Stephen Harper’s vision for Canada. I am not interested in becoming a mini version of the USA. I value having basic rights and freedoms and will not be quiet when they are violated. I predict that we will see attempts to put into law several ways to violate our privacy, especially online, in the coming years.
The events of the G20 in Toronto last year are a warning to us of our government’s attitude toward our basic rights. It is important to make sure they know you don’t approve. I urge you to pay attention to what is happening in Parliament and write letters and emails to your MP and to every newspaper in Calgary about your opinion. If you don’t speak up, the government will assume that you agree with what they are doing. Whether or not this will change their plan or behaviour is not the point. The point is that you speak up about what kind of country you want this to be. One of the main points of having a democracy is to be able to express yourself without fear of retaliation.
I want Canada to be the kind of country that is committed to learning how to become the civilization we need to be. We need to plan ahead, and show the world that we are capable of being a nation that is committed to human rights and ensuring a good quality of life for our citizens, while remaining economically competitive.
What does the future hold for Anna Wagner? Well so far it’s been a day of sleeping in, watching the movies I’ve missed out on in the last 2 months, and not wearing make-up. Tomorrow I return to my job as a Program Advisor where I will finish processing several hundred graduation applications for the next convocation ceremony. I plan to complete the Management Certificate in Public Relations this year, and make a short film about my experience in this campaign.I’m looking forward to finishing my eco-friendly home renovation and getting back into the routine of practicing yoga and reading the stack of books by my night table.
Everyone who knows me personally also knows that I’m an avid knitter and that I haven’t knitted anything in the last 2 months. I’m looking forward to picking up my needles again soon.
“CON 167, NDP 102, LIB 34, BQ 4, GREEN 1
If the seats were won in proportion to the votes that were cast, the numbers would look like this:
CON 122, NDP 95, LIB 59, BQ 19, GREEN 13
According to these results, the Conservatives have won 54.22% of the seats with only 39.62% of the votes, one of the least legitimate majorities in Canadian history.”
This is ridiculous and must change. If you agree, please talk about it to others so that by the next election, it is a major election issue and has the press it deserves.
Thank you all for your encouraging emails, phone messages, Tweets and Facebook posts since the polls closed. It’s been my pleasure and an honour to have been your Green Party Candidate and I’m pleased that 6,068 people in Calgary West believed in my message and/or the Green Party’s message enough to vote for me.
I will be publishing more posts on this site in the future, so remember to add me to your bookmarks and come back and visit often. I still encourage you to leave comments, ask questions.