By Cristina Paolozzi, September 10 2021—
This year’s federal election will take place on Sept. 20. As the election is fast approaching, the Gauntlet interviewed the willing candidates from Calgary Confederation — the riding encompassing the University of Calgary — on issues facing students and why your vote matters this fall.
In his first run for public office, Murray Sigler is the Liberal Party of Canada candidate for Calgary Confederation and has a specific background working at the University of Calgary. Involved in multiple different boards and organizations across faculties, Sigler knows how influential the university is in the community and how important it is to consider student voices this election.
Calgary Confederation is home to many major institutions that Sigler claims are overall driving forces for the entire city. The University of Calgary, the Alberta University of the Arts and SAIT are the post-secondary institutions in the riding, as well as three hospitals — the Foothills, the Cancer Centre and the Alberta Children’s Hospital.
Sigler noted that one of the reasons he’s running in this election is because he fundamentally believes he can better support Calgary through the innovation this riding has to offer.
“I believe we have to have that growing economy through innovation. We have to have support for childcare, we have to have support the student grant programs and summer jobs programs — all those things add up to create an atmosphere where there’ll be innovation,” he said.
“So it’s a hotbed for innovation,” said Sigler about Calgary Confederation. “And that’s what we need to build a city, that’s what we need to build a future and to build opportunities for new generations of Calgarians.”
Sigler believes in a united Canada with collaboration and respect between all three levels of government. While the Liberal Party has held a minority government since the last federal election in 2019, Sigler mentioned that despite the many controversies, the Liberal government has consistently been there for Calgary.
“It’s been there with the investment in the Green Line, through the COVID relief measures,” he said. “There were student grants, recognizing the need for advanced education.”
The Liberal government has postponed interest on the Canada Student Loans until March 2023, and has committed to continuing to advocate for mental health supports and economic aid for young people specifically.
Sigler also said he spent time at the U of C, understanding what supports the university needs from the government. Specifically, Sigler mentioned the list of investment recommendations made by the university for federal aid. These recommendations include funding for both new and existing infrastructure and to invest to help strengthen the research environment overall.
“The recommendation was to invest in talent, ensure a candidate can attract, retain and develop individuals with the skills to drive innovation and economic growth,” he said. “I support all recommendations made by the University of Calgary.”
Sigler said that this election comes down to having a strong voice in Ottawa to advocate for Calgary, and he hopes he can do this with a majority government. Sigler stated that a majority government will help bring “certainty and clarity” to address the many complicated issues that have affected the country — especially with the COVID relief effort.
“Some people criticize the Liberal government for the funds that were expended in order to deal with COVID relief measures,” he said. “But we did a survey, and I think eight out of ten Calgarians were the beneficiaries of the various relief programs. And of all the relief programs that were made available, in Alberta, 92 per cent of them came from the Government of Canada.”
Sigler also mentioned the Liberal Party’s climate change policy, and said that real change begins when you actually acknowledge climate change is real. The Liberal Party is committing to transitioning to more Green jobs, and will ban unrecyclable single-use plastics by 2030.
However, Sigler also mentioned that Calgary is uniquely able to help move climate action forward as a leader in the energy sector.
“Canada needs Alberta in order to meet the 2050 commitments,” he said. “And our energy sector wants to be [involved] but it can’t be just inconsistent talk. I really believe in taking a fact-based approach and doing it respectfully and collaboratively.
Sigler believes that it is crucial for young people to vote in this election, and to get informed about some of the key platform points from each party that affect students specifically.
“It’s new Canadians, it’s longtime Canadians, it’s seniors, it’s young people — those are the people we want to believe in our future,” he said. “And it would also be great if they believed in the political process, that they should go out and vote. And if they do, they’ll make a difference.”