Opinions & Features Workshop (Oct 26th)

Photo by Valery Perez

The Contemporary Dilemma: Issues students should be concerned about

By Manahil Hassan, September 13 2021—

I am a firm believer in the idea that one person can really make a difference. Everything we do has an impact on someone. Whether it is educating others on important socio-political matters or sharing a social media post about a pressing issue, someone will relay the message forward. Here are issues that students should be concerned about on a local, national and international level. This is what we can do to help. 

Local Level: 

The City of Calgary will be holding a municipal election on Oct. 18, 2021. This election is particularly significant as Mayor Nenshi will not be running for re-election, which means Calgary will be represented by a new face. The candidates we elect as our mayor and city councillors will have a direct impact on the way our community is shaped.

Many students do not understand how to go about voting in the elections. I, for one, had no clue about municipal elections prior to beginning my research. I did not know about the candidates running for the municipal elections, or even how to vote. 

Now more than ever, it is important to watch out for initiatives like subsidizing student transportation, the UPass and potential parking subsidies. Additionally, provincial issues such as the rise in tuition and municipal issues like the availability of post-graduate jobs should be something of concern, if you plan on staying in Calgary. Therefore, it is useful to begin your research on the upcoming election candidates. I find reading articles on the upcoming elections quite helpful. Take note of what ward you belong in. You can access the platforms of all mayoral and councillor candidates at Elections Calgary. You can register to vote on a separate website, Elections Canada, and even cast your votes at advanced polling stations on campus in October.

National Level:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called a federal election to be held on Sept. 20, 2021, despite it only being two years since the last election. Over his term, we have seen this government struggle with the pandemic, the economy and the gross human rights abuses that Canada’s Indigenous community has faced and continues to face. For instance, the Trudeau government has failed to meet its promises of providing clean water to Indigenous reserves by March 2021. One would assume that a country with a highly developed economy would be able to provide access to clean drinking water to all of its citizens. Yet, the Canadian government has consistently let down the Indigenous Peoples of Canada, despite this concern being a major platform point in the previous federal election. 

Other pressing concerns across party lines have been economy-related COVID recovery, subsequent job creation and the unavoidable climate crisis so ensure that you are informed and knowledgeable on issues like this. Another way to advocate for issues that matter to you is to contact your MPs and hold them accountable through OurCommons. Take the time to educate yourself on federal party platforms and register to vote. 

International Level: 

Canada was involved with the U.S. throughout the 20-year war in Afghanistan. The U.S. and its allies began the war for the purpose of defeating the Taliban by strengthening the Afghani army, and they have failed to do so, despite a large chunk of Canadian taxes that were drained into an $18 billion war effort. 

After the U.S. withdrew its troops from Afghanistan, the Taliban quickly gained control of Kabul, the country’s capital. As students, we must be concerned with the ongoing humanitarian crisis, as there are around 84,000 Afghani Canadians that reside in Canada. People that we attend university and work with are directly affected by what is happening in Afghanistan, and we can do our part by helping the Afghan diaspora with initiatives like SaveAfghanistan that call on Canadians to hold their elected representatives through letter-writing campaigns. Canadians have the ability to sponsor refugees through private sponsorship initiatives as seen on the Government of Canada website. 

There are thousands of strong and fearless men, women and children all over the world. These are the people that wake up, despite the atrocities they are facing, and push forward without looking back. These are the people that sacrifice everything so their families will have a better future. This is what The Contemporary Dilemma highlightsThis column is part of our Voices section and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Gauntlet’s editorial board.


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