Ward papastew Election 2021 Meet Candidates is The Gateway’s series of interviews with candidates running in Ward papastew’s council race. This is the sixth of seven articles.
With the October 18 municipal election just around the corner, The Gateway sat down and interviewed candidates running in Ward papastew’s council race. Haruun Ali was interviewed for the sixth instalment of this series.
Ali has lived in the south side of Edmonton for the past 15 years. He has been a Youth At Large Member of the City of Edmonton Youth Council since 2019. Ali has previously volunteered with Alberta Young Liberals group, and campaigned for Thomas Dang in 2019.
The Gateway spoke with Ali to find out more on how, if elected, he plans to represent the residents and students of papastew as the ward’s new councillor.
Responses have been edited for clarity and length.
The Gateway: Why did you decide to run in this election?
Ali: I think this election crucial as we come out of COVID-19, as Edmontonians deserve to have a leader that understands the need to action on climate change. Someone who understand that we need more supportive housing, and need more housing options as well. Someone who understands that we can actually properly fight the opioid crisis by giving Edmontonians supports that they need. I also think we need someone who will get us better transportation networks, and ultimately build the city for the future. Those are all reasons why I decided to run.
What do you believe is the biggest issue you see facing the city and how would you address it?
Housing. It is largest thing we actually can deal with. We need to make sure that we are building a better city for all of us. The way we can get that done is by ensuring that cities are building more public housing. If you want to lower crime it isn’t going to get done by overpolicing. It will get done by getting people the help that they need. This can mean giving [people] housing, giving them stuff that can alleviate poverty, and actually building a better Edmonton for all of us. Also, it is so crucial we are fighting the opioid crisis and not criminalizing addiction.
Why did you decide to run in ward papastew?
I have a special connection to Ward papastew. As a university student, I think the ward has a lot to offer for our communities. Ward papastew is a prime example of a ward that has a diverse mix of people, opinions, ideas — and I love that. I’m also very fond of our bike lanes, I’m very fond of just how our community works. I feel like [Ward papastew is] a model for other neighbourhoods around the city.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge facing ward papastew specifically, and how do you plan to address this on city council?
Housing. It’s a big area that Ward papastew is having problems with right now.
What previous experiences do you have that make you a good candidate for city council?
I think there are a lot of good things I have to offer to the table. I’ve been involved in multiple different sectors and volunteer areas. I’ve been involved in a couple of campaigns as well. I have mastered the art of negotiating. I think it is incredibly important for our communities — to have a councillor that is actively negotiating with other councillors and actively negotiating with the mayor. We have a large, very ambitious plan. It’s something I want to execute to perfection. I want to make sure we are talking and having conversations. I have also been involved in Edmonton’s Youth Council as well.
If elected, how do you plan to support the large number of students living in papastew?
I think we need to build the city for all of us, which includes students. Something we need to recognize as a council is we’re not building a city today, we are building a city for tomorrow. How do we want to build that city? I think we should build that city by actually having support there. By actually giving people the money that they need to live. By actually ensuring that [students are] actually getting supports that ensure that we are building a better Edmonton. We can reform infrastructure spending. We have seen what has happened — the dire consequences of cutting infrastructure spending. We also need to make sure we are investing more money back into the U of A area to make sure we are creating a prosperous university district for everyone.
If elected, how will you work to address climate change in the City of Edmonton?
Climate change — we need to take action on it. In my campaign, I am looking to prioritize climate. We need to act now to ensure that the City of Edmonton remains environmentally friendly city. I will work to lower our emissions, and build an Edmonton for all of us.
If elected, how will you concretely work to support Indigenous residents and students in papastew?
I want to look at how we can actually implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission recommendations. There are about seven of them for municipalities, I think we should execute all of them. I want to make sure we are taking steps towards reconciliation — [steps] that build a better Edmonton for all of us.
How do you believe you stand out from other city council candidates?
We are the only campaign with a policing plan. Our campaign is the only one out of all campaigns that mentions divesting from policing. We are the only campaign in papastew that has a plan to make transit free. Everyone in the city can use [transit] as something that is reliable, is accessible, and is an affordable option. We are the only campaign in papastew with a plan to essentially double the stock of public housing, to make sure we are building more public housing.
Fun Question: What is your favourite restaurant to visit in Edmonton?
Malt & Mortar.