Ask Her candidate has questions
Grace Nelson disappointed with alleged lack of support Wednesday, October 11, 2017
An Ask Her candidate is suggesting she didn’t ask a lot, and got little in return for her allegiance to the grassroots group established to lift up women involved in municipal politics.
Ask Her candidate Grace Nelson, running in Ward 6, has accused the group of unfair treatment in her campaign while running against Esmahan Razavi, who was a co-founder of the group before deciding to also run in Ward 6.
The grassroots group was created to shine a light on the under-representation of women in municipal politics. On the frequently asked questions portion of their website, the group states although they’re a non-partisan group, their members are able to help in campaigns at their own discretion.
“Here was an organization that seemed to have promoted their own people or selected people they thought had the look,” said Nelson. “They never gave me a reason why they didn’t support me like other candidates.”
Nelson said she thought it odd that women were running against each other in different wards. She also found it to be a conflict of interest for Ask Her board members to be participating in Razavi’s campaign.
Nagwan Al-Guneid, an Ask Her board member, said the group feels they did support Nelson the same as other candidates. She said Nelson also received money to file her candidacy papers from another founder, Kerry Kundal.
“There’s support that she received,” Al-Guneid said. “We offered this limited fundraising and capacity-building activities for all candidates, which she benefitted from.”
She said campaigns run on a skeleton team and any help is welcome. If a candidate has rapport with someone who has election experience it benefits them, but she said she couldn’t dictate what people do with their personal time.
Ward 6 isn’t the only place where some of the eight listed Ask Her candidates will go head-to-head. In Ward 10 there are three women running against each other.
Michelle Robinson said she thinks having one of the founders of Ask Her running against one of the women they recruited isn’t positive politics.
“We’ve seen a lot of thirdparty interest groups affect this election, some positively, some negatively,” said Ward 10 candidate Robinson. “I didn’t expect this to come out.”
Robinson said that in her ward, she’s running not just to win, but for the bigger picture of being seen as a leader in the community, so it wasn’t a big deal for her to be running against other Ask Her candidates, some she even encouraged to run.
Razavi said she doesn’t want the conversation to veer from the main message of Ask Her. She hopes Nelson’s campaign goes well.
“I co-founded the organization, so I’m friends with a lot of the co-founders. We were friends years before,” said Razavi. “A lot of the volunteers are from our personal network and my own personal network.”
Nelson also had issues cashing a cheque from Ask Her for $400, she said her bank wouldn’t honour it because the document didn’t have a name attached to the account.
Al-Guneid said no other candidates came forward with issues cashing the cheques.
Razavi told Metro she opted out of the funding on offer by Ask Her.
Grace Nelson and husband Roger Nelson talk to media about Ask Her.