Ben Dubois will be representing the Green Party of Alberta in Red Deer South in the upcoming spring provincial election.
Dubois, 22, is concerned about the overall lack of engagement in politics that he sees not only amongst young people but the population in general.
“Just from talking to other students – people I know and even people I don’t know – I got the feeling that everybody is fed up with politics, and a lot of people were saying, ‘What’s the point in voting?’”
Dubois, who is just finishing up studies in computing science currently at the University of Alberta, decided that he would run to represent the Greens in Red Deer South and begin to fight that sense of political apathy and disinterest.
An interest in politics stretches back several years. “I’ve spent six or seven years with the Tuxis Parliament of Alberta.” That involvement has helped him learn plenty about parliamentary procedure, as he has also held several positions within that province-wide system.
“I believe that a lot of people are also upset about the gap between the rich and the poor – I think it’s a world-wide issue,” he said. “A lot of people have also talked about the volatility of the market in Alberta, that we are so based on oil of course.
“That’s why I support the Green party, because we have a stand on the oilsands and the market that is absolute. We are for sustainability, and that’s what the province isn’t really giving us right now,” he said, adding that the party isn’t anti-oil or anti-business.
As for his age, Dubois sees it as an useful means of connecting with thousands of potential voters. “The biggest voting demographic is I think between 20 to 35 or 40. We don’t have representation of the biggest population of people in the province.”
Meanwhile, Dubois said one of the key problems with many politicians is that they don’t seem to care much about what the people who elect them think.
“MLAs are sent to the legislature to be a representative of everyone in their constituencies. What the PCs aren’t doing and what politicians need to do is to say, ‘What do you want to see’ and involve people. That’s the idea behind participatory democracy.
“I also think there is a disconnect between what the politicians want and what the youth want.”
As to election day, Dubois is convinced there will be significant changes in the province’s political landscape. But he questions the nature of the change.
“I think the right-wing parties in this province aren’t really looking out for the people,” he added, noting that the Wildrose has many former PCs and others who are even further to the right. “It will be interesting to see what happens.”