Ask Her can­di­date has ques­tions

Grace Nel­son dis­ap­pointed with al­leged lack of sup­port Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Metro Canada (Calgary) - - FRONT PAGE - He­len Pike Metro | Cal­gary

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.

He­len Pike/Metro

Grace Nel­son and hus­band Roger Nel­son talk to me­dia about Ask Her.

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