On Sept. 20, Edmonton-Griesbach elected a new Member of Parliament: Blake Desjarlais, a member of the NDP.
A statement on Desjarlais’ Twitter reads, “I’m deeply honoured by the confidence that the voters of Edmonton-Griesbach have shown in me and in the NDP… Together, we offered the people of Edmonton-Griesbach a very clear, positive, hopeful choice — a choice for better.”
“I will always fight for you. I will always show up,” continues Desjarlais.
Desjarlais won the seat with 40 per cent of the vote. He received 1,468 more votes than Kerry Diotte, who finished second in the race.
Community response to Desjarlais’ election has been positive.
“Thrilled and happy for myself and my community. Equally, for Blake Desjarlais and all Indigenous people who identify as two-spirited,” says Aurora Du Nord, a community resident. “Seeing ‘yourself’ in places and roles formally denied to ‘you’ is incredibly important and hopefully affirming… One representative is not enough, yet a wonderful start!”
“Conservative entitlement is at an end in this riding and elsewhere in Alberta,” says Jane Samson. “Great to have an MP who is engaged with our diverse and vibrant community!”
“It will be wonderful to have an MP who actually represents the values of this community. I’m delighted!” says Ali Hammington.
Residents are also pleased to see real change at the local level, especially since few seats have been reshuffled in the federal government overall.
“Perhaps the overall leadership looks the same, but Alberta went from almost a clear Conservative sweep (with one lone NDP MP) to two Liberal and two NDP MPs. There was change for Alberta, and hopefully this is just the beginning of change!” says Natasha Jay.
“You hear so often people being disheartened by their vote not making a difference,” says Gail Kessler. “This riding proved nothing is written in stone, and you can make a difference and flip a seat.”
“For the majority of Canadians, this election seemed like a waste of money with similar results in a minority government,” says Rachael Robertson. But, she adds that there were a few small impactful wins: ridings who were able to elect an MP from a different party and have their voices heard.
“I personally am thrilled at the thought that my vote truly counted in this area,” continues Robertson. “I was hesitant to vote for Blake at first, mainly on the basis of experience in government, but when I saw all the dedication and hours put into serving his community and making his voice heard, I knew his enthusiasm would shake the ground in Ottawa and we would feel the tremors rippling in Alberta. I have no doubts now that he will represent us, and I look forward to cracking open that window, dusting off the stale inaction of Kerry Diotte, and brightening up this corner of the country.”
Desjarlais will be the first openly two-spirit Member of Parliament.