Members of the Red Deer – Mountain View Federal Liberal Association recently and nominated Chandra Kastern as the Liberal Party of Canada candidate in Red Deer – Mountain View for the upcoming election.
Kastern has a background in massage therapy has well as non-profit management. She has served as the president of the Massage Therapist Association of Alberta, and the chair of the Canadian Massage Therapist Alliance.
She currently serves as the executive director of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra Association.
“I am excited to begin building the movement for real change in Red Deer – Mountain View. I am happy to be campaigning on Justin Trudeau’s plan for fairness for the middle class, and for putting in place a better, Liberal government in Ottawa this fall,” she said.
“I look forward to getting out and meeting as many people in the riding as possible over the coming weeks.”
Within her work in massage therapy, Kastern found herself in the work of policy development and advocacy, and she learned through that time that, “If you want to change something, then do.
“I know that when I really feel like I can change something I will. A lot of times it starts with some really ‘grassroots’ kind of effort,” she said. “And I really feel like that’s what I’m doing as a candidate.
“I care about the riding and I care about the cause in terms of changing government,” she added.
As for the Liberal party, Kastern said that the party’s values best fit with her own.
“I appreciate some parts of the Conservative party and I appreciate some parts of the NDP party, but there is way too much for me to reconcile with in both of those camps. So I come back to the middle – with (the Liberal party), I don’t really have to reconcile anything,” she said. “It resonates with me more than any other party.
“And very rarely does a leader come across who can capture everyone’s attention,” she said of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau. “I think that is what I really like about Justin Trudeau. Number two – I can appreciate his plight – he was raised in politics so of course he has an interest in it. But at the same time, he has quite the challenge in front of him in terms of making his own name out of a name that is already a household name. I appreciate that he acknowledges that and is kind of carrying the torch for that interest in politics and that whole ‘get up and stand up’ for what you believe in. I really think that’s what he’s doing.
“Number three – he’s authentic,” she said. “He has that air of authenticity about him that I really appreciate.”
Meanwhile, Kastern notes that with the new riding configuration, there will be a careful balance between urban and rural issues.
“Starting with Red Deer, I think there is a huge issue with homelessness and poverty and the lack of reduction of both – and a lack of an acknowledgement about the reduction in both,” she said. “On the heels of that would be the middle class.
“And this is where the Liberal party really resonates with me is that whole idea of fairness for the middle class – that’s where I’m at.
“I really think issues of the middle class are totally relevant to Red Deer.”
MPs can also advocate for issues that are of a provincial nature as well. “I think it would be a grievous error to have the same party in charge of both the province and the country. Hence the need for choice, and the need for a different party.
“I really think there is an awakening happening on the federal level. But it’s one thing to tweet about it and facebook about it, it’s another thing to get out and vote,” she added in terms of past overall voter apathy. That in itself is an issue she’d like to bring attention to as well over the coming weeks, and it stems in part from the perceived negativity of politics in general, she said.
But with, for example, the shift in Alberta’s political persuasion earlier this year, the October vote is far from a sure bet.
“Read about the parties and pick the one that really resonates with where you are at in your life,” she said. “Things in our country are not how I remember them being, and not where I would currently identify with as a Canadian.”
Canadians head to the polls Oct. 19th.