Thana Boonlert – Green Party of Canada
Joan Crockett – Conservative Party of Canada
Kent Hehr – Liberal Party of Canada
Yogi Henderson – Independent
Jillian Ratti – New Democratic Party
Thana Boonlert | Green Party Candidate
Thana Boonlert was born in Gatineau, Que. and spent his early years in Ottawa, Ont.. He speaks fluent French, English and Thai. Boonlert currently works as an environmental compliance specialist dealing with regulations and laws regarding products in high-tech industry. He fundraises for Free the Children, and organizes and recruits co-workers for the Calgary Corporate Challenge. He attended the University of Guelph, where he graduated with a degree in environmental engineering.
When asked how he defines politics, Boonlert said “Politics is driven by the people, and so the concerns of the people is how I would personally think a bill or a law would start. So that’s how it would be generated, that’s where the ideas would start to be created based on the concerns of the people living in a riding and from that, the voices of the constituents is voiced in the house based on the elected MP.”
Joan Crockett | Conservative Candidate
Joan Crockatt was born and raised in Lloydminster, Alta. and has lived in Calgary for the past 20 years with her husband and two grown children. In November 2012, Crockatt won a byelection against Liberal candidate Harvey Locke and is the incumbent for Calgary Centre. She has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Saskatchewan and studied at the University of Toronto.
When asked how she defines politics, Crockatt said “Politics is really, truly, totally about representing people. That is the beginning, middle and end. That is one of the reasons why I door-knock so much. I do that so I can really hear what people think directly from them, unfiltered, uncut and then when you are standing up in parliament in Ottawa you really do feel like you know that you’re speaking for most people in your constituency.”
Kent Hehr was born and raised in Calgary where he currently lives and works in the Centre riding. From 2008 to 2015, Hehr was an Alberta MLA representing the electoral district of Calgary-Buffalo, which is within the borders of the federal riding of Calgary Centre. Hehr also works in the local community with the United Way, and leads the Alberta branch of the Canadian Paraplegic Association. He studied at University of Calgary and received a Bachelor of Canadian Studies followed by a Bachelor of Law in 2001, where he was named Graduate of the Decade and one of the top 40 graduates over the last 40 years. Hehr also practiced law at Fraser Milner Casgrain.
When asked how he defines politics, Hehr said “Politics is the art of the possible, having to mesh the values of your citizenry with good public policy, and that takes dialogue and interaction and communication as well as leadership on behalf of elected officials to do what’s right for the long run.”
Yogi Henderson was born and raised in Winnipeg, Man. but currently resides in Calgary Centre where he has lived for 12 years in the Beltline and Mission area. Henderson worked for eight years as a cost engineer in the oil and gas industry, 17 years as a hockey referee and 12 years as a resort director in both Mexico and Jamaica. In the Calgary area, he has volunteered for the United Way and was a floor hockey coach for the Special Olympics program in Calgary. He has a degree in civil engineering (1993) at the University of Manitoba, and completed a master’s degree in economics and business at the Stockholm School of Economics (1999) specializing in international business and finance. Henderson was also a sales and marketing representative for five years at Telecom and Dotcom.
When asked how he defines politics, Henderson said, “The nature of the world is political. I’m an independent, so I don’t really see myself as a political person, but it’s a necessary part of a democratic society. We need politics.”
Jillian Ratti was born and raised in inner-city Calgary where she currently works and lives with her family. This is Ratti’s first time running for the NDP in Calgary Centre. She works as a family physician in downtown Calgary at the Sheldon Chumir Health Centre. Ratti also volunteers in the Calgary community at organizations including the Calgary General Hospital (Peter Lougheed and Bow Valley Centres & Safewalk at the University of Calgary). She completed her MD and Bachelor of Arts degrees at University of Calgary and studied at the London School of Economics where she earned a master’s degree in international relations.
When asked how she defines politics, Ratti said, “Politics is working for the community to find what’s best for all people, and that nobody is left behind.”
Calgary Centre at a glance
This is a riding to watch. Conservative MP Joan Crockatt was elected in a 2012 byelection and is working to keep her seat. Crockatt is facing Liberal candidate Kent Hehr, a lawyer who won the provincial riding of Calgary-Buffalo in 2008 and 2012. Add to the equation the NDP victory in this area in the 2015 provincial election, and this could be a very tight race.
According to the City of Calgary’s website, the average income in the Calgary Centre riding is $70,702— the highest in Alberta outside Fort McMurray. There are just 0.7 children per household, which is the lowest average in the province. While this riding maintains its name from 2011, its geography has shifted to the east. With the Bow River as its northern boundary, the riding now begins at 37 Street SW and goes east to the river. The southern boundary runs along Glenmore Trail.
Map courtesy of elections.ca