Tunde Obasan

With a possible federal election looming, the race to secure Edmonton-Strathcona is on for the Conservative Party of Canada.

Tunde Obasan, President of the Conservative Black Congress of Canada, has joined the two-horse race alongside venture capitalist and former leadership candidate Rick Peterson.

The seat is currently held by Edmonton Strathcona NDP MP Heather McPherson.

“As the President of the Conservative Black Congress of Canada, I have always championed diversity among Canadians and treated them with respect, regardless of their identity. I believe that the Conservative Party of Canada and conservatives, in general, are welcoming people. They are unfairly painted as racists and bigots, and that is not true, and that may be because of the lack of diversity within the party,” said Obasan.

Efforts to mobilize the conservative and undecided voters in the riding, long dominated by progressives, is no small feat. However, Obasan’s approach to bringing everyone to the table is a strategy he believes will pay dividends.

“When people see that their concerns are a priority, they will change their mind on who to support,” said Obasan.

“Our target is not only the undecided voters but even those who have voted other than the Conservative Party of Canada because we are going to listen to them and fight for what they want,” he said.

Obasan cited the economy and jobs as the top priority for voters.

“Having campaigned for previous conservative candidates in Edmonton-Strathcona, the economy, affordable housing, seniors’ issues, mental health, among others are important,” said Obasan.

“With people losing their jobs and struggling to find employment elsewhere, this negatively impacts their ability to provide for their families and put food on the table. This adds to the current mental health crisis as well. Right now, the most important thing is for the government to put people first and empower them to take their destiny in their own hands.”

While Obasan acknowledges the road ahead will be tough, he remains optimistic because of his faith in the grassroots to decide what is best for local communities.

“I hold no desire to lead a top-down campaign because the grassroots is always right in what they want from their political representatives,” said Obasan.

“From students to new immigrants and longtime Canadians, I will listen to them because I want to provide the tools needed to better their quality of life and secure their futures,” he said.

Dhaliwal is the Western Standard’s Edmonton correspondent

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