Meet Blake Desjarlais
Edmonton Griesbach’s new MP brings renewed energy and representation to the area.
Blake Desjarlais was elected Member of Parliament for Edmonton Griesbach on September 20. His election is a political turning point in the area, as he is with the NDP after the area being a Conservative stronghold for years. As well, he is the only Indigenous MP from Alberta and the country’s first openly Two-Spirit MP. He considers his representation as Indigenous and Two-Spirit “a tremendous honour and one I hope begins to shed light on the importance of inclusion and diversity in Canada.”
Desjarlais, who is Métis and in his late 20s, both represents the area and is part of the community. “As a resident of Boyle Street I know first hand how beautiful, unique, and wonderful our community is. But I also understand many of the poverty issues we are currently experiencing and want to play a meaningful role to ensure all persons who call our neighbourhood home feel safe, secure, and dignified.”
He wants “to ensure we look at strengthening our social supports while maintaining our communities diversity and community members, whether through partnering with some of our amazing community organizations or working with my federal colleagues in Ottawa to ensure faster, more robust, solutions that tackle poverty, mental health, and addictions with care and compassion.”
The abundance of public art in the area is one of Desjarlais’ favourite things about McCauley and Boyle Street. “I truly believe art has the power to make us stop in our tracks, reflect on the path we take, and offer us the chance to continue or correct that path,” he says.
“My favourite art piece in our neighbourhood is the ‘Water Is Life’ Mural at iHuman by Issac Murdoch and Christie Belcourt. The simple and beautiful teachings of the importance of water and land come together in this deeply powerful and loving piece.”
Desjarlais describes the area as “a proven champion of compassion, community, and love. We come together for those who need shelter, food, or a human to chat with. We have tremendous heart that I know will influence Canada to also be better. Thank you, hiy-hiy, Kinanaskomtin, Boyle Street and McCauley for being you.”