Mayoral Candidate Grace Yan (Photo: Supplied)

Grace Yan is a first-generation Canadian, while her parents immigrated from Manila, Philippines. She has worked as a paralegal and also in real estate. While working she says would always try and find ways to give back to her community, in any way possible, including volunteering. 

Fixing the job economy is Yan’s number one priority. She aims to create as many jobs as possible while also trying to expand the number of jobs from one opportunity to another. For example, if there is a very big building try to fill it up with many different jobs. 

Yan’s priorities as mayor also include making a better, more environmentally friendly transit system and to adequately fund the police. She also wants to focus on mental health and helping youth in the city.

She says she loves the city and this is exactly why she wants to help it become better. “My focus and vision is Calgary, where businesses grow and families thrive,” she says.

The Calgary Journal asked our city’s mayoral candidates five questions about themselves and their campaigns. Here’s what Yan told us:

https://calgaryjournal.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Interview-With-Grace-With-Captains-2.mp4

More about Grace Yan:

Web: GRACE YAN FOR YOUR CALGARY MAYOR

Twitter: @VoteGraceYan

Facebook: Grace Yan For Calgary Mayor

5 Questions With Grace Yan

Marius Pintea: What issue is the most important to you as a mayoral candidate?

Grace Yan: I’m speaking with Calgarians, the biggest issue is really getting people back to work. There’s 370,000 Calgarian’s that live on or below the poverty level. Their concern is really the economy, resurrecting the economy, which is now affecting mental health. When people are back to work, social-economic issues go down. It’s really important, getting people back to work.

How will you solve that issue to get people back to work?

So the first thing is, my focus for the first hundred days as mayor is to focus on resurrecting the economy. That means building confidence back in the city, filling those towers, those downtown towers that are vacant right now and really getting out there and letting the world know Calgary, Alberta, is wide open for business. 

Obviously, it’s not all about the business. We have an obligation to take care of the vulnerable and the seniors. I need to make sure that we have the proper programs in place to make sure seniors are supported, that youth are supported by other means of transportation, education, arts and entertainment.

I’m hearing a lot of concerns with students right now that jobs are a concern for them. We’ve got a great education [system] here in Calgary, but jobs not as much. We need jobs for students that are graduating with this amazing education that we have. We have to make sure that youth have jobs. I truly believe that youth is the future and you have to teach them well, that’s why we have a good education system and let them lead the way.

In your opinion, why should younger voters vote for you?

It’s really, really important that youth are engaged in the political process. They have to understand that it affects their future. It’s a right to vote. We should really exercise it because unfortunately, it’s only 25 per cent of people that vote. I don’t know if they’re not aware of where to vote, how to vote or where they can vote. I think that’s how we can support them, is just create awareness. 

Everyone can vote and everyone can exercise that right. […] I really appreciate youth because I have a huge representation of youth for my volunteers, I have Miss Junior Calgary, Miss Junior Galaxy, Miss Teen Galaxy, a lot of them are very engaged in my campaign. For me, it’s really important to have youth involved and have them understand the political process.

Let’s say you have some downtime from your campaign. Which local bar, restaurant or coffee shop do you go to and why?

For restaurants, we love the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino. Actually, they have got a really good buffet, so we go there for the seafood buffet on Thursdays, but you have to go there really, really early because otherwise you are in line forever because it is really good. I think it is one of the best buffets. 

[…] For coffee shops, I love McDonald’s coffee. I really just go to the drive-thru, and I mean, my favourite bakery is shut down temporarily, I think they are getting their ovens repaired. Another bakery is Manuel Latruwe and they have really good coffee there too.

What’s one TV show or movie that helped you get through the pandemic?

I don’t watch TV, but I do watch documentaries on Netflix. The only thing that I do watch is documentaries or comedies, so either laughing or learning. One of my favourite movies is The Pursuit of Happiness, that’s the one with Will Smith and Richard Gardner. 

To me that is an amazing, really inspirational movie where this guy was pretty much homeless and with no money, just sheer determination and the will to succeed. He became one of the most successful investment bankers. 

Every time I’ve watched it, and I’ve watched it so many times, I always cry, hen he and his son were staying, they had no money, and they were staying in the bathroom because at the shelter, even at the shelter here I know I visited the shelters here and the Calgary Drop-In Centre, the Calgary Food Bank, and you have to be there at a certain time. 

Just like the movie, if you’re not there at certain times you don’t get a space. Just him and his son, what an amazing story. I love that you know, that really teaches when there is a will there’s a way.

Calgary is in a difficult economic spot right now and many young people are looking elsewhere for opportunities. What would you do to help the city prosper as we eventually emerge from this pandemic? 

I think the focus is on supporting businesses. We have to support the businesses because they are the ones that create employment. So I really want to create a business-friendly environment in order for them to create jobs. 

When people have jobs, like I said, social and economic issues go down, like mental health, suicide, domestic violence and kids. […] So that’s one thing and another thing is transportation. Transportation is a big thing to help the youth get around safely and seniors as well, in places where Calgarians will actually use it.