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.
Edward Gao is the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) candidate for Calgary Confederation, and is a graduate of the University of Toronto in mechanical engineering. Gao said that he strongly believes that politics in Canada has been “hijacked by special interest groups,” and said these interest groups are too focused on chasing votes in Ottawa.
Gao also mentioned that the mainstream political parties in Canada have become out of touch on most major issues.
“If we look at the mainstream parties, they’re all following this approach to politics — oftentimes looking at polls before taking a stance on an issue rather than going off principle,” he said. “They are looking at petitions that get them the most votes and even policies that are often targeted towards specific voter blocks.”
Gao stated that the PPC’s focus on principles will cost them votes in the long-run, but believes that this is the best practice to maintain when potentially advocating for Calgary Confederation in Ottawa.
Although the IPCC’s Climate Change Report states that human activities have warmed the atmosphere, creating widespread and rapid changes across the globe, the PPC maintains that “climate change alarmism” is something that has been overused and that the policies currently being debated are not founded in science anymore. The PPC’s policy is committed to pulling out of the Paris Agreement and would also remove the carbon tax at the federal level.
“In terms of controlling the amount of CO2 in our atmosphere, that’s not really a focus of the PPC,” said Gao. “Climate alarmism and these dramatic calls to reduce carbon emissions are impacting our economic development.”
The COVID-19 relief efforts have been a major topic of concern in this election. Gao said that he is against creating vaccination passports and that it is important for people to make their own decisions instead of allowing governments to mandate decisions for everyone.
“What we’ve seen historically is that once governments have power, they don’t give it up,” he said. “And we have to really ask ourselves, if this power ends up in the hands of a tyrant in the future, what does that mean? It establishes a dangerous precedent, politically and legally.”
Gao also mentioned that he has a background working in the pipeline industry for over six years and said that the PPC’s plan to create a more streamlined system to approve pipeline projects will benefit Canadians and specifically Alberta.
This process includes invoking section 92(10) of the Canadian Constitution which states that Parliament can declare any project to be for the general advantage of Canada.
“What our party uniquely has proposed is using this clause in the constitution that does allow the federal government to impose these pipelines on the provinces if necessary,” said Gao. “We’re the only party that has proposed to use this clause in the constitution, which has been used, by the way, hundreds of times in the nation’s history.”
Gao also mentioned that the PPC’s goal to eradicate corporate welfare would put Canada on an even economic playing field with the United States and would help to reduce taxes for businesses.
“Any corporate subsidy or bailout, or any sort of government intervention that benefits a specific company or industry over others, we will totally get rid of,” he said.
In terms of education and student accessibility, Gao said it’s important to delineate responsibilities and have each level of government work within their own jurisdictions, as education is usually in the purview of the provincial government.
“The PPC feels, in terms of affordability of education and affordability of housing and a lot of these things that are not in the federal government jurisdiction — there needs to be a delineation of responsibility,” he said. “Otherwise, there’s going to be a lot of finger-pointing.”
Recently, Elections Canada made the decision to remove their Vote on Campus stations on post-secondary campuses. Gao mentioned that he will be door knocking in and around the university community and will be available via email and social media.
“Voter accessibility and getting out to vote is important to this election,” he said.