Vanessa Wang embraced the change she wanted to see.
Wang, a trained physicist who is currently working with kids in after-school care, believes the Calgary Nose Hill riding isn’t being well represented in Ottawa. The current MP is Conservative Michelle Rempel Garner.
She wants to change that. No, this isn’t your typical candidate profile. And she’s not running in the riding she lives in, to be upfront.
“It’s not the riding that I live in but it’s the riding that I know the most people where I think I can make the most change and where I would have the best chance of canvassing and maybe winning,” Wang said.
Wang’s running for the Rhinoceros Party. Conceptualized in 1963, the Rhino Party has always had a unique platform.
A quote from their website states: “the Rhinoceros Party has always sought to make Canadians laugh while laughing at politicians.”
That’s what appealed to Wang.
“I mean, I consider myself a pretty chaotic person, so the Rhinoceros Party is definitely the way to go,” she said.
Right now, Wang isn’t the only Rhino candidate on the ballot in Calgary. Mark Dejewski is contesting the Calgary Heritage seat, currently held by Conservative Bob Benzen.
Some eyebrows were raised when she went around canvassing for nomination paper signatures.
“I had a lot of those reactions, but I wanted to gloss over those in comparison to the handful of people who are actually very excited to see me here,” Wang said.
“So, I’d like to not think about the people who told me to go away.”
Wang understands the Rhino Party is meant to be a joke party.
“It’s meant to poke fun at some issues they (politicians) may not have thought about,” she said.
Some of the Rhino policies that are compelling to Wang include abolishing the Law of Gravity.
“Canadians never voted it in and I, as a physicist, have been personally harmed by it,” she said.
She’s also in favour of taxing the black market and make sure that all pizza includes pineapple. Oh, let’s not forget that they want April 1 to be a national holiday.
Aside from party ideas, Wang does want to see more science in Parliament.
“That’s why I am running as a scientist. I’m just someone who has more diverse experiences than ‘I am from old money,’” she said.
She also wants to give youth a voice. She understands their pain; she’s still paying off her student loans after graduating three years ago.
“So, to relate to youth who may not get out and vote who don’t see anyone that represents them, thinks like them, looks like them, to give them a voice,” Wang said.
The campaign and election day
Wang believes there’s a lot of discontent in Calgary Nose Hill. She said people are miffed their MP reportedly spends much of her time in Oklahoma.
Running for the Rhinoceros Party may raise eyebrows, but a strong finish could send a message.
“If I can somehow get second place, or even first. That will definitely send a message as to the discontentment in the riding with your current MP and that things need to change,” Wang said.
Wang said the field is pretty weak in Calgary Nose Hill. There’s a Liberal candidate, Jessica Dale-Walker, who’s already been embroiled in controversy. The NDP candidate has his Twitter still set to the last election cycle and then a host of fringe candidates.
She said it’s realistic to elbow her way in there.
Wang has already door knocked to canvass for signatures. With pandemic number high, she’s not doing that anymore. Instead, she’ll have a social media presence with Reddit, Instagram and Facebook.
Then, she’ll start posting ways for people to show their support – signs, stickers or buttons. Forums – those are a go, too.
Wang wants to put in a good showing come election day.
“Just so Rhinos show up on the ballot,” she said.