Virginia Stone is inspired by the ones who “fight for truth and freedom, fearlessly with courage even when all the forces are against them”. Stone is the CEO of her own skin care company and also volunteers with organizations such as, Big Blue Ocean Cleanup, Calgary Wildlife Rehabilitation Society, the Calgary Chamber, 100 Women Who Care, OneTree Planted, and Startup Grind.

Stone wants to help the city and improve the lives of Calgarians through her social impact strategy and “people’s platform.” As mayor, Stone wants to provide Calgarians with food security by funding a a 700 square meter vertical farming facility that offers year-round fresh fruit, vegetables, and herbs delivered weekly to the doors of Calgarians. Lastly, Stone plans to provide sustainable, minimalist and affordable European-type housing for the city.

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

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5 Questions with Virginia Stone

Carl Rodrigo: What issues are most important to you as a mayoral candidate and how will we use them to solve them?

Virginia Stone: Oh goodness, that’s all. That’s a loaded question. Now off the bat a lot of issues I intend to attack. And I have a very aggressive social impact strategy as well as a very aggressive platform. So the key things I really want to address, and I want to address them quickly and efficiently.

First, is to absolutely stop the bleeding, we have way too much excessive, irresponsible spending. So we must control that. Secondly, we need to break down the budget, we need to cut the fat from the budget, and one knew that we will be able to reprioritize. So we can make these cuts so we can give support to the people of our city. Next, we need to support our businesses, our small businesses are really the foundation of our communities and our city.

And we have got to get our economy back on its feet. To do that we absolutely have to offer grants, and not only new business to come to our city, but also to support the businesses that have made it through the last two years, which have been incredibly challenging and tough on all of them. So that would be the next one.

Also, affordable housing. This is a big one. And this is a problem in Calgary. So I’ve traveled the world and spent a lot of time in Europe. And here is the European style of affordable social housing communities. They’re beautiful, they’re sustainable, they’re green, and they’re affordable for all. So that’ll be another initiative. On top of that I have my social impact strategy. Now that also includes an initiative called citizens without residents. And that’s going to tackle our homelessness problem making sure that absolutely everybody not only has the roof over their head, but that they also get the support and the services that they need.

Then I also have a grow food stable Alberta initiative. And that’s going to bring security to Calgary and we’re going to install vertical farming operations as well. And we’re going to also install community gardens throughout the city. So that’s a big green initiative that I have. Yep, on top of that is my waste to energy, which is one of the top favourites of everyone I’m speaking to, and I am going to convert our garbage, all of our recycling, which we all know never gets recycled more than 80 per cent to 90per cent of your recycling does not ever get recycled. And we’re also going to take all of the medical needles, all of their garbage and waste as well. And we’re going to convert all of that into energy, energy is going to be put back into the grid. So that’s another thing I intend to do.

And why should the young people vote for you?

Really, I am nonconforming and I am here to disrupt the status quo. And I think that really does relate to the youth. The youth are the future of this city. And really, a lot of candidates will say the youth are going to make this. They’re gonna choose the next mayor, right, they’re gonna make or break your ability to actually lead the city. And from the youth that I speak to, the top priorities are sustainability and greening. The city is getting jobs and making sure that you have a future in our city and right now, in my opinion, have a future in this city. So I really want to focus on bringing in sustainable tech, sustainable design and sustainable innovation. So Calgary actually becomes a hub, and we become a leader in Canada. And that’s going to offer a lot of jobs moving forward. We simply cannot just rely on oil and gas to save us at this point. So we need to diversify.

Definitely. And so let’s say you have some downtime from your campaign, which local bar restaurant coffee shop are you going to and why?

Oh goodness. I would have to say one of my absolute favourite spots, restaurant wise would definitely be the River Park cafe. I absolutely love it. But I’m always drawn to nature. So anywhere that there’s a park and green spaces. I’m heading that way the minute I can take a second for myself. So every one of my favourite spots.

And what’s one TV show or movie that helped you through, get through the pandemic?

I would have to say one that I actually really loved was Yellowstone. Yellowstone. I love horses. I love nature. I love country life. I’ve spent a great deal of my adult life in the country. So I did love it. I was really well done, but I’m really truly a movie buff. So I spend more time watching movies and those tend to be usually, alien movies, horror movies and I guess gangster movies are probably one of my favorites. I love monster movies. That’s been my favorite since I was a little girl.

And lastly. So Calgary, as we know, 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 the pandemic?

I can definitely relate to this. I’ve been building a company for more than 25 years, and I’ve traveled the world. And so many times I’ve almost left for a multitude of reasons that just seemed to be for me more opportunity, whether it was in the United States, whether it was in the United Kingdom, then Europe became a lawyer for me, then Dubai had all this opportunity. And that’s a problem. Because you don’t want your youth leaving your youth is the future of your city, we absolutely need to bring opportunity. But to do that, I believe others may disagree. I believe to keep the youth in our city we have bought to modernize. Every time I fly home, I feel like I’ve gone 20 years, 30 years back in time. That’s not right. I don’t like the way that my city’s been branded. I don’t like the lack of cultural diversity. Even though we do have diversity in our society. It’s not showing in the city. It’s not seen everywhere. When you’re going in, you’re walking downtown, and I just want to see more arts, I want to see more culture. I want to see more diversity, I want to see more life and vitality in our city. And you know, really focusing on this future, which is sustainable innovation, tech, design AI, we have to bring those opportunities to our city.

Thank you so much. Those are all my questions for the interview. Is there anything else that you want to add on to that?

The only thing I would say is the youth know that the power is in their hands, and you’ve got to get your voices heard. And you’ve got to utilize that power right now because we are at such a critical point. And if you don’t want the same old, same old, please don’t vote for the same old, same old.

There are some great leaders out there now that aren’t getting coverage from the media, myself included. They like to say these are the two top runners or the four top runners. And I just don’t believe that that is true. I believe that we need to look at change, and we need to disrupt and to do that. We don’t need paper pushing politicians to what we need is a strong leader that’s going to actually be brave enough to stand up for what you want to represent you to bring on platform so you can speak and have your voices heard and vote on issues. That is going to take a very special leader to actually do what’s really truly right for not only the people, but for all life in this city and for the city as a whole in the future moving forward. So that’s all I ask is, please vote for change because that’s something desperately needed.

Thank you so much.

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