By Chris Adams, March 2 2015 —
Current Students’ Union vice-president academic Hana Kadri announced last week that she’ll seek the Progressive Conservative nomination for Calgary-Varsity when current MLA Donna Kennedy-Glans steps down at the end of March.
Kadri announced she’d seek the nomination on Feb. 23 through social media. She said she hopes to jump into provincial politics to bridge the gap between students and government.
“When Donna Kennedy-Glans stepped down, I thought this would be the perfect opportunity, given the location of the riding, for a student to step up and hopefully work towards being that student voice in the legislature,” Kadri said.
PC candidates have won four of the six elections since the riding was zoned in 1993. Liberal candidates took two races in 2004 and 2008, holding onto the riding until Kennedy-Glans won as a PC in 2012.
The PC government cut spending to post-secondary by $147-million in 2013, and are expected to cut funding drastically again this year. Premier Jim Prentice said the budget will be “the most significant in modern times for the province,” adding that it will affect every single Albertan.
If elected, Kadri said she’d help connect students with government by keeping in touch with the U of C’s student leaders. There hasn’t been much communication between students and the current government, as minister of advanced education Don Scott hasn’t yet met with provincial student lobby group Council of Alberta University Students since he took office in September 2014.
Kadri said the Varsity MLA needs to have a more visible presence on campus and that the Varsity MLA could likely make two trips to the U of C every academic year.
“I think that in the past there hasn’t been a strong enough connection between the PC party and students in the post-secondary sector,” Kadri said. “In terms of their interactions with students, with the turnover in leadership, in cabinet, it’s been really tough for both sides to sit down and negotiate the hard decisions.”
While she hasn’t formally announced her platform, she said she wants to cater to both student issues and those of the wider Albertan population.
“Obviously [it’ll focus on the] cost of education. A huge focus on mental health. And another thing I really want to focus on, it may not be in the provincial purview, [is] student housing. It’s definitely more of a municipal issue. But it is something I feel like I’d have influence over,” Kadri said.
Although she has had no formal political experience outside the SU, Kadri said she’s been a member of the PCs for years. She said the PC party has been “adaptable to the needs of Albertans.”
“If someone wanted to be heard in the legislature, the PC party is the one to be a part of,” Kadri said.
In March 2014, while serving as associate minister of electricity and renewable energy, Kennedy-Glans crossed the aisle to sit as an independent to protest former Premier Allison Redford’s leadership. She rejoined the party after Prentice won PC leadership in September 2014.
She announced that she wouldn’t seek re-election in a Facebook post on Monday, Jan. 26.
Alberta NDP candidate Stephanie MacLean will run in the riding in the expected spring election alongside Pete Helfrich of the Liberal Party.
The riding opened nominations on Friday, Feb. 27 with voting set to take place on March 28.