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Payman Parseyan (left) is a council candidate for Edmonton’s Ward 9, while Aaron Paquette is a candidate in Ward 4. (Trevor Wilson/CBC) Two Edmonton civic election candidates who have been carded in the past are squaring off over the controversial issue of police street checks.

It comes as the debate heated up this week over street checks after the release of Edmonton police figures showing that black and people are disproportionately stopped and asked for identification.

"Carding is a disturbing trend and in my opinion it needs to stop," said Aaron Paquette, a renowned local Indigenous artist, writer and Ward 4 candidate for city council. "It does no good for any of us when some of us are targeted as being guilty just for existing."

On Tuesday, a CBC News investigation found Edmonton police stopped and documented people of colour who were not suspected of a crime at much higher rates than white people in 2016. The data showed a similar pattern between 2012 and 2015.

Carding critics say the figures are evidence of racial profiling by police, something the Edmonton Police Service denies.

Ward 9 city council candidate and former peace officer Payman Parseyan agrees with the police, arguing they "are not with hateful intent profiling anyone."

"They profile simply so they can describe someone," said Parseyan, who is also a Realtor and energy consultant. "Officers don’t just randomly walk up to people and say, ‘Hey I need some information from you.’ There’s something that’s instigated, there’s a red flag."

He added that "a ban on carding would restrict police officers to be able to safely conduct their duties." ‘You fit a description’ Paquette doesn’t know exactly how many times he’s been carded by Edmonton police."I’ve never counted it up. Dozens?" said Paquette. "Oftentimes I would ask, ‘So what’s going on?’ and they would […]

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