Churchill-Keewatinook Aski candidate questionnaire: Judy Klassen, Liberal Party

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The Flin Flon Reminder sent 13 questions to all of the candidates running to become the next Churchill-Keewatinook Aski MP in the Oct. 21 election. Four of them provided answers. People's Party of Canada candidate Kenneth Klyne did not respond.

What do you feel are your qualifications for federal office?

I was the second First Nation woman elected to the Manitoba legislature and I’ve represented communities and advocated for issues that matter: families, housing, healthcare, and clean water. I’m an entrepreneur that created jobs in the North, where few opportunities existed. As a mother I know the importance of making life affordable for families, and creating opportunities for young people.

What is your plan for the future of the economy? What role will industry/mining play in that plan?

We’re making investments in people, like making post-secondary education more accessible. That’s an important start, but there is more to do. The Liberal government has proven that it’s committed to Northern Manitoba. They invested in the Churchill railway to boost economic development. Through conversation, collaboration and action we can make a plan that is right.

What have been the main issues you’ve heard from people in this riding?

Everywhere I go, people tell me two things – that they want better access to healthcare in their communities and they want our region to continue to prosper economically. Our platform and commitments address both of these. We are committed to ensuring more communities get the healthcare they need closer to home, and growing the economy for the North.

What measures to benefit Northern Manitoba would you wish to add to a federal budget?

The Liberal government is investing in the North and are committed to seeing us continue to succeed. I plan to be vocal about what our communities need. I will ensure that the realities that people face up here in Northern Manitoba are reflected in the policies that the government puts out. That’s the kind of MP I will be.

What is your plan regarding northern health care? What role can the federal government play in health issues?

We will invest $6 billion to build a stronger public health system. We will establish the Canada Drug Agency to make prescription drugs more affordable and we will double the child disability benefit to help parents take care of their children, including learning and speech disabilities, psychological disorders and autism spectrum disorder.

What are your main concerns regarding environmental conservation? Do you support a carbon tax?

Climate change is a huge challenge we face. We are in a climate emergency and putting a price on carbon is one of the things that has been proven to protect the environment. I’ll work hard to build a cleaner, brighter, and more prosperous future that will help Canadians save energy, reduce pollution, and create more jobs of the future.

Where do you stand on immigration to Canada? What impact do you think immigration could have for the north?

Immigration helps make Canada more diverse and more successful. New Canadians work hard teaching our children, caring for us when we’re sick, starting new businesses and creating good jobs. These contributions are needed now more than ever before. To keep our economy strong and growing, we will welcome highly skilled people who can help build a stronger Canada.

What is your stance on electoral reform? Would changing Canada’s electoral system be a priority for you?

Our view has always been clear: major reforms to the electoral system should only be made if they have the broad support of Canadians. We’ve already moved forward with legislation to repeal undemocratic elements of Stephen Harper’s Unfair Elections Act, and we will continue to move forward with measures to strengthen our democracy.

What measures would you propose to help remote Indigenous communities?

We’ve invested over $800 million for First Nations infrastructure on reserve in Manitoba and lifted nine of 11 long-term water advisories. We established an agreement with the Manitoba Metis Federation to improve the social and economic well-being of the Métis community. Our platform commits to addressing all Indigenous infrastructure needs by 2030, this means roads, housing, schools and the list continues.

How do you feel about negative campaigning? Would you consider you and/or your party to be running a clean campaign? What about your opponents?

I am a huge advocate for positive campaigning and positive politics. Negative campaigning doesn’t benefit anyone, collaboration, partnership and positivity does.

What policy or practice do you disagree with your party on and why? Would you consider breaking rank with the party on that issue?

I believe in partnership and collaboration. That is how I have been successful throughout all points of my career. I will bring this principle and perspective with me if elected MP on Oct. 21.

In 30 words or less–what is your elevator pitch for undecided voters?

In partnership with the federal Liberals, we have accomplished a lot over the last four years. This progress needs to continue. I am the voice the north deserves.

What question do you wish we would have asked?

Youth are so important to our communities. It’s important to ask questions that inspire and promote youth to get engaged and vote. As an Indigenous person, we were never taught about politics in school, or why we should vote. Over the last four years I have been educating students about the importance of voting and having their voices heard. Megwetch!

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