Students storm Parliament

With the federal election heating up, three University of Calgary students are putting themselves in the middle of the fire.

Teale Phelps Bondaroff, Danielle Roberts, and Gus Gutoski are all running to become Canadian Members of Parliament in two different Calgary ridings.

Bondaroff, the Students’ Union social science representative will represent the NDP in his first federal election, facing off in Calgary West against Roberts, a fourth year geography student who is running Green for the second time. Meanwhile, Gutoski, a first year computer science PhD student, is running in Calgary-Southeast.

Roberts said she gained valuable lessons from her first run against Conservative Rob Anders. In 2004, Roberts earned nearly eight per cent of the popular vote and placed third behind Anders and Liberal candidate Justin Thompson.

Even this early into the campaign, Bondaroff and Gutoski are learning that a federal election isn’t easy, especially getting people out to vote.

“Calgary West, last election, had one of the highest voter turnouts,” said Roberts, “And they were only at 68 per cent.”

Bondaroff added there is a lot of room to grow over the results from last election.

“The Liberals, NDP, and Green have a lot to gain in working together in Calgary West,” he said. “Essentially, we can’t beat Mr. Anders in my riding because of the fraction of the left. It’s going to be a difficult battle.”

Observers have said the election could be more about the logistical side of campaigning than policy, requiring a lot of volunteers to help out.

“It’s hard to find good, dedicated volunteers,” said Gutoski. “Nine out of 10 times, if you give them a substantial task, they won’t do it.”

All three candidates said their schooling isn’t getting in the way of campaigning, noting it is possible to balance both, with a little help from extensions.

“The student body doesn’t get involved in federal politics,” said Roberts. “So when you tell a professor that you are running, they really respect that.”

All three candidates are stressing the importance of young people getting out to vote.

“Students should definitely go out and vote and help with any campaigns,” said Bondaroff. “If we want to get our voices heard, we have to vote, we have to run.”

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