Alberta Disability Workers Association
Building a Valued, Proud & Professional Workforce
Election 2019

The provincial election is coming April 16. And there is much to learn before you or the person you support is ready to vote. ADWA has tried to put everything you need to know in one webpage (or at least links you can follow from a single webpage). Basic election information is found at https://www.elections.ab.ca/current-election-information/.

Who can I vote for?

The first thing to know is who you can vote for. For that, you need to know the name of your riding and who is running in that riding. Some of the electoral districts and their boundaries have changed since the last election. To find out:

The daveberta.ca website is not the official Alberta election website, which will not be set up on the Elections Alberta website until the election is called. But it does provide links so you can find out more about candidates, where possible. Not every party will have a candidate in every electoral district.

What do the parties and their candidates stand for?

While you will vote for a specific candidate, the candidates mostly believe and act according to their party’s platform, principles or position statements. The party’s leader is the spokesperson of the party. Each party publishes what it believes is important to do if elected on the party website. Start by looking at the party websites to find out which parties think the same way as you do on topics most important to you (or if you are helping someone you support prepare for the election, which parties think the way they do on topics most important to them). You can find links to all of the parties, their address and leaders at https://www.elections.ab.ca/parties-and-candidates/parties/.  

Note that provincial parties do not have the same platform and priorities as the federal parties with the same name because the different levels of government have different responsibilities. Here is where to find each provincial party’s platform:

There are several other parties in Alberta who do not yet have candidates running. However, they do have platforms or principles. They are

The CBC has a Vote Compass survey that asks you how you feel about a variety of election issues and compares your answers to the positions of the main parties. To gett the most accurate picture, take the additional step of saying how important to you each issue is. The Vote Compass then tells you which party or parties are most like you. The VOte Compass is at https://votecompass.cbc.ca/alberta/.

If you want to learn more about the background of a particular candidate, either check the party website for that candidate or links provided on the https://daveberta.ca/alberta-election/ website. Finding out the candidate’s background does not tell you how they would vote on any particular bill, because in Canada MLAs mostly vote the same as their party leader does. However, a candidate’s background will help you understand what is important to them, which is useful if you want them to learn about and care about your issues. If you find a candidate who thinks your issue is important and that candidate gets elected, they may bring your issues and what you think should happen to the other members of their party and convince them to act.

Get involved to find out more

Often the party platform will not include anything on the topics that concern you most, especially early in the election cycle. Then it is important to get involved to get your issues “on the radar” and get the party to take a stand. The best way to do this is to communicate with the party leaders and candidates directly. The more the party and candidates hear an issue being raised by different people, the more they will think about it and start to have an opinion.  Voice of Albertans with Disabilities has prepared some advocacy tips for election time at https://vadsociety.ca/pdf/advocacy-tips-1551729373.pdf.

  • Ask the candidate a question by e-mail, on their Facebook page or Twitter feed. (Check the https://daveberta.ca/alberta-election/ website for candidates’ Facebook and Twitter feeds.)
  • Contact the candidate or their campaign headquarters and ask for a meeting. For tips on how to meet with a candidate, see https://vadsociety.ca/pdf/how-to-visit-a-candidate-or-an-elected-official-1551729447.pdf. Other resources to help you plan a meeting are the MLA Advocacy Guide developed by Public Interest Alberta in 2017, and How to Have a Good Meeting, part of an online workshop for self-advocates called How to Have a Say in Government developed a few years ago by the Disability Action Hall in Calgary.
  • Attend a public forum or candidate’s debate. Party websites often list upcoming events where you can meet with candidates on their website under “Events.” Listen to what the candidates say. Ask the candidate a question privately before or after the formal meeting, or ask a question during the open mic portion of the meeting if there is one.
  • When a candidate shows up at your door or calls you, be prepared to talk about your issue and experience with it and to ask your question.

ADWA has prepared a one-page handout with questions that you can use to guide your conversation with candidates. ADWA has sent this handout to the leaders of each of the Alberta parties on February 28 asking these four questions. As we hear from the parties, we will update the table that follows our handout with their answers. If you ask a candidate (or party leader) one or more of these question, please let us know what they said and we will add it to our results.

Click here to download ADWA’s candidate questions.

Party/Question

What will you do to raise the wages of skilled disability workers?

What will you do to make sure that disability workers are no longer burdened with the hidden costs of providing services (e.g., transportation, entry fees, meal costs)?

What will you do to fix the underlying causes of high burnout and turnover among disability workers? 

What will you do to make sure that disability workers are able to afford and access the education and training they need throughout their career to provide effective support to individuals with disabilities?

Alberta Advantage Party

 

 

 

 

Alberta Liberal Party

 

 

 

 

Alberta New Democratic Party

 

 

 

 

Alberta Party

 

 

 

 

Communist Party

 

 

 

 

Freedom Conservative Party of Alberta

 

 

 

 

Green Party of Alberta

 

 

 

 

Reform Party of Alberta

 

 

 

 

United Conservative Party

 

 

 

 

Other websites with useful information:

The Alberta Disability Forum government relations working group, which ADWA is part of, has prepared an election tool kit with handouts related to the issues of poverty and accessibility. Visit https://vadsociety.ca/social-action/government-advocacy to see or download any of these materials.

The Alberta Council of Disability Services (ACDS) has an election website at www.ACDSAdvocacy.com. If you want to beef up your knowledge of facts and figures in the disability services sector (in case a candidate askes), check out this website.

ALIGN is an organization made up of services for children and families in Alberta. It has a political toolkit for 2019 accessed from https://www.alignab.ca/align-political-toolkit/.  

The Calgary Chamber of Voluntary Organizations (CCVO) has a series of blog posts called the Alberta Nonprofit Election Toolkit (https://www.calgarycvo.org/election-toolkit/) with links to resources. It points out how much the nonprofit sector contributes to the economy and society and, therefore, how much the Alberta government depends on us for its success.

The Canadian Mental Health Associaiton - Alberta has developed an election toolkit at https://alberta.cmha.ca/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Election-Toolkit_FINAL_V6.pdf. It is 30 pages long, but has a coupe of nice key message handouts at the back.

Can I vote?

Not everyone can vote. You must be

  • A Canadian citizen
  • Have lived in Alberta for at least 6 months before the election day
  • Be at least 18 years old

Many people who can vote do not vote. Some do not vote because they do not know who to vote for. If you use the strategies listed above to become informed, that will not be a problem. Others do not vote because they are not registered or because they need help to know where and how to vote. The South Region Self-Advocacy Network (SRSAN) developed an Alberta Elections 2012 Guide to Voting in plain language. You can download it from https://albertanonprofits.ca/resources/Documents/SRSAN%20plain%20language%20voting%20guide%20template.pdf.

If you have not voted before, you are not on the official voters list and will not get a post card in the mail telling you when and where to vote. To get on the voters list, register online at www.voterlink.ab.ca or phone them at 780-427-7191 or email info@elections.ab.ca. You only need to do this once unless you move. If you are not sure whether you are registered to vote, fill out the form at https://www.voterlink.ab.ca/vlAIR.cfm and they will tell you.

You can vote in one of three ways:

  • With everyone else at your neighbourhood polling station on election day
  • In an advance poll at a central location in your town
  • By Special Ballot mailed out to you. It must be returned before election day, so plan ahead.

Some people with disabilities find it easier to go in a group to an advance poll to vote because it is quieter and easier to get support. Also, you cannot accidentally show up at the wrong polling station with an advance poll, which is very stressful. Some people also find the special ballot option easier to use because staff or family can help them read, mark and return the ballot.

If you vote on election day (April 16) or at an advance poll (April 9 - 13), you must bring identification with you to prove that you are you. The ID can either be an Alberta driver’s license or Alberta-issued ID card. If you (or the person you support) does not have one of these IDs, you must provide 2 pieces of ID from the listing at https://www.elections.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/Authorized-Identification-Poster.pdf.