The Post Millennial sat down with UCP candidate Kara Barker for an exclusive interview on Sunday, providing us with some insight into the struggles she endured while reconnecting with her Cree heritage.
Barker speaks about her Cree family history
Larry Bearhead from Paul Band First Nations was Kara’s birth father; he passed away in 1974.
Kara was part of the 60s Scoop generation, born at a time many First Nations would like to forget, given the state-led genocide of the said peoples.
Born in Edmonton, she was adopted from birth, moving to Ontario with her parents where she was raised for the entirety of her childhood.
Kara then got in contact with her birth mother years later, who, at the time was living in BC. They would write to one another, meeting for the first time shortly after that.
She would then apply for treaty status in recognizing her father’s indigenous ancestry, contacting Indigenous Affairs, and providing nothing but his name. Unfortunately, they could not locate her late father, even with Inac’s records.
She was informed by Inac to find a relative to her father and to verify her family tree. Kara went back to Paul Band First Nations, meeting with her biological father’s sister.
She was able to confirm her family lineage but now has been left in limbo with Inac.
Overcoming the odds
Looking back on her struggles, she’s reminded of all those who perished in the Residential School System; many were reduced to mere footnotes in our nation’s history.
Though many did not make it, she did. She survived. And now, she’s seeking public office after more than a decade as a practicing Crown prosecutor.
She attributes Leila Houle, UCP candidate for Highlands-Norwood as a big reason for her jump to politics. “Leila was a big inspiration because of her dedication to getting out in the community and volunteer,” she says.
For the past several months, Kara and her team of dedicated volunteers have taken to Leila’s example: they door knocked, conversed with thousands of voters, and presented their respective constituency with a qualified candidate. A strong voice for the legislature.
By all accounts, Kara has worked hard to earn the votes of Edmonton-Riverview; glancing through her social media accounts, that holds.
Leila Houle is an inspiration to others
Leila Houle has stepped up to the plate in taking on the NDP stronghold of Highlands-Norwood this election season.
The Post Millennial reached out to Leila, who spoke to her experiences; speaking highly of Kara—her colleague and friend.
Leila first met Kara last year at the UCP AGM, and instantly the two became friends—bonding over shared passions in dutifully serving their communities.
Leila then went on to say all political parties should have an Indigenous perspective on their respective platforms.
In light of the recent uproar on the UCP’s three-statement stance on Indigenous policy, Leila’s statement holds.
As Kara had said in a prior interview, it is “our duty to consult” with one another, which the NDP danced around on Bighorn.
At a Christmas Party back in 2016, she met with Jason Kenney who encouraged her to get involved in politics. Having the support of an experienced figure like Kenney fuelled her eventual run for public office; she was eager to get involved with a party who believed in her potential as she sought the nomination.
“I have achieved goals people have said to me were impossible as an Indigenous Women. I have faced many challenges and obstacles, but I never lost faith because of who I am and where I come from. I am a proud member of the Whitefish Lake First Nation. I also a proud member of the United Conservative Party of Alberta,” said Houle.
“I have myself throughout my life as an Indigenous Women, and as a United Conservative Candidate I will stand up for Albertans come April 16.”
Future for women in Conservative Politics is bright
With a caucus consisting of 40% female candidates, the United Conservatives have followed through on their promise of having a party more reflective of Alberta’s demographics.
Candidates like Leila Houle and Kara Barker represent a turning of the guard in Alberta’s Conservative movement, where the envisioned meritocracy of the Right holds, and additional perspectives accounted for in the governance of our province.
Both are strong voices for their communities, serving as a reminder that the United Conservatives are indeed a coalition of diverse candidates, from vast walks of life and professions.