Okotoks restaurant owner shows up for the NPD in the Foothills

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Foothills’ list of candidates in the upcoming federal election continues to grow, with a fifth candidate emerging to run under the NDP.

Okotoks business owner Michelle Traxel will be running under the orange banner.

The decision to run came when she realized that waiting for a candidate to run wasn’t going to change anything.

“It got to this point where I realized I really had to do it. I had to stop sitting and wait and jump in. I felt like my voice wasn’t being heard, and neither was it. a lot of my peers, and I was like, ‘Why not? If someone wants to jump in, why not me?’ “

Traxel says there was some hesitation at first, given Alberta’s reputation for the way progressive candidates are treated in the Prairie provinces, but says she just doesn’t see that reputation represented. in his community.

“It’s a little improper. It’s not something that fits with who we are as Albertans, and I think people here really respect democracy. On the contrary, I’ve seen a huge uproar. support, and even people who don’t. I don’t agree with the political platform I represent, I’m just proud that someone is getting involved. “

Michelle and her husband Jarod own and operate Little Fast + Fresh restaurant in Okotoks, and she says it has allowed her to get to know members of the local farming community.

“When we decided to open a restaurant here in Okotoks, we had already lived here for quite some time and we really felt like there was a little gap. We have this amazing product that is produced in the foothills and not. It was the number one priority of the business plan, was to make sure that we were serving Alberta food, as much as possible, as local as possible.

She says it has also given her an idea of ​​what kind of support local farmers need and how they want to be represented.

His background as a local business owner is something Traxel sees as an asset to his candidacy.

“I’m not an idyllic person, I’m not frolicking the fields with a really fanciful ideology. I really understand that there is an operational expense to just being there, that it costs money to start. a farm, to start a business, to start a school. There are a lot of expenses in that, and there are ways to manage those expenses very effectively and very inefficiently. I feel like I’m going through the pandemic as a that small business owner really woke me up just how broken the system is. “

She says the NDP platform is pragmatic and is not the fiscal dystopia that some claim to be.

She also says there is a difference between large corporations and the average taxpayer.

“These are very large multinational corporations that have figured out how to set up shell companies in Canada to appear to be a Canadian company when in reality they are transferring money across other companies and countries. . It’s not the taxation that’s going to increase my personal taxes, your personal taxes, or even necessary for millionaires here in the Foothills. It’s much more important than that, and it’s more of a top-down approach rather than ‘a bottom-up approach. “

The party’s stance on social issues has also been a big draw to Traxel, including LGBTQ + rights, the justice system, and recent conversations around residential schools.

Traxel also found herself frustrated with federal conversations about climate change, instead wanting to face the problem and tackle it head-on.

“We know we’re in a climate crisis, and we really don’t see any approach on how to handle it. I think specifically for the Foothills, this moment in climate change has so much impact, and we’re seeing so many. Farms are losing entire crops to drought, they don’t have access to pay for irrigation, and even farms that have had a good turnout are struggling to recruit staff due to the pandemic. It’s a perfect storm, and I think the financial fallout for our farmers is going to be astronomical. “

Another highlight for Traxel is the NDP’s stance on cellphone rates and coverage in Canada.

“I think for the average Canadian, we don’t understand how much of an impact it would be to save $ 100 to $ 200 a month on something we all use, like our cell phones, and how much of that money will go back into our community. It’s the money we use to go to our favorite local restaurant for dinner. It’s the money we spend at the local farmers market. It’s the money we spend in local shops. . It’s so simple and so simple, but quite achievable. “

Overall, Traxel is proud to represent a progressive voice.

“I always felt there was a progressive undercurrent here in Okotoks as well as the Foothills in general. I’ve heard it, I’ve seen it and I really want to represent it. C ‘was really important to me. “

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