It’s the night of May 29 and the results are in. Everyone is holding their breath, waiting for the news. The 2023 Alberta provincial election has officially ended and the province’s new premier is about to be announced.
The residents’ minds are racing with all different kinds of thoughts. “Who will win?” and “what does this mean for our city?” They ask themselves.
Everyone is at the edge of their seats, with a particular group of people who are especially keen on hearing the results — Gen Z.
The anticipation to hear the results was getting stronger, the people grew more anxious to know who the next leader is and after what had felt like ages, the premier was finally declared.
Danielle Smith had once again won the election.
“I personally did not believe the NDP was going to win the election because Alberta is a really conservative province in general,” said Bhavya Lalseta, a psychology student at the University of Alberta and resident of Calgary.
“We have big cities that are progressive but we also have a lot of small towns that are just not, so, I’m not really surprised with the results,” she said.
Who is Gen Z?
Gen Z consists of people born between the years of 1996 to 2010. This generation is influenced by the digital age and new media.
They are considered to be more progressive and pro government, however each individual’s opinion is different.
Gen Z have established a reputation for themselves online, as they are particularly active on social media. They are particularly known for debating topics like LGBTQ+ rights, gun control and abortion.
Danielle Smith and the LGBTQ+ community
Lalseta cast her vote for the NDP as she believes they align the most with her beliefs when it comes to politics. Lalsetta does agree with some UCP values, but she doesn’t like Smith.
“Danielle Smith, I really want her out of office,” Lalseta said. “She seems like a good leader, but she’s just not a good person.”
Lalseta says that she doesn’t want someone like Smith to run the province. Lalseta goes on to mention Smith’s controversies surrounding the LGBTQ+ community and how displeased she feels with the fact that “someone like her” is going to be the next leader of the province.
“I would’ve preferred to have a leader that was more inclusive,” Lalseta said. “You know, just overall a good person.”
The UCP and the Muslim community
While some people disapprove of Smith’s victory there are some people who are in favour of the win.
“As a Gen Z Muslim, I find myself aligning with some of the conservative party’s values, especially when it comes down to finances,” said Hassan Younas, a finance student at the University of Calgary.
Younas mentions that he had a very strong feeling that UCP would win the election and he believed that some of the financial things they stand for resonate with the newer generation.
“The conservative party advocates for ‘halal financing’ when it comes to purchasing a new home,” he said.
Halal financing allows Muslims to finance their homes without paying interest and the UCP has advocated for that.
“As a Muslim, paying interest on a mortgage is against my religion. Many muslims have not bought houses since they cannot afford to pay for it upfront and so, many muslims rent houses their entire lives.”
Younas also goes on to mention the struggles that come with taking out a loan with a high interest rate and how difficult it can be when you do not have your own home to live in.
“Us Gen Z’s know the importance of investing and having assets in order to get wealthy, hence why through the option of halal financing the UCP party provides, it will open many doors for us Muslims all over Alberta,” Younas said.
“I’m really hoping Danielle Smith fulfills everything she spoke out to the public. I truly want to see real change in the community.”
“I’m mixed between conservatives and NDP. It was hard to choose,” said Salman Sohail, a business student at Mount Royal University.
Similar to Lalseta and Younas, Sohail was also not surprised by the UCP victory. However, he says that he was shocked by how close the results were.
Sohail thinks that regardless of which party won, things will remain the same.
“I honestly debated whether or not to vote because a lot of the issues that we have such as gas prices or the economy at a downfall will not improve no matter what leader we would have elected,” he said.
“I just want someone trustworthy. Who doesn’t have hidden intentions but I think in politics there will always be people that have hidden intentions, so it’s kind of wishful thinking.”