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Candidates woo voters at chamber-sponsored forum


Dauphin voters had an opportunity to meet candidates vying for the area’s seat in the Manitoba Legislature and learn more about their plans leading up to the Sept. 10 vote during a Dauphin and District Chamber of Commerce sponsored forum, Aug. 26.
In front of a small crowd at the Dauphin Senior Centre, incumbent Brad Michaleski, representing the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba, New Democratic Party candidate Darcy Scheller and Manitoba Liberal Party hopeful Cathy Scofield-Singh provided their thoughts on a variety of topics.
Questions from the media, the public and the candidates themselves covered a wide range of topics including the far reaching issues of health care, education and climate change.
Also covered were issues such as the environment, seniors housing, minimum wage, carbon taxes, economic competitiveness, poverty and homelessness, tourism, services for the disabled and opening the cannabis market to craft growers.
On top of addressing specific questions and concerns, candidates had an opportunity to make a direct plea to voters.
With so many issues facing the province, unity and collaboration in working toward common goals is key, Scheller told to the crowd.
“An MLA who is working for you is just as important. In collaborating together we will not fail,” she said, adding she is worried about the community’s future under the current government.
“I am worried about the most important community, this community, if clawbacks continue.
“Since the last election I have come to realize representation of a community is key. Regardless of what banner the province is flying we need our voices to be heard in legislation.”
Scheller also addressed concerns about the NDP’s fiscal responsibility citing floods, job losses in the oil and gas sector and a downturn in the housing market as factors.
“Let me ask you this. What is a good reason to spend if it is not to reinvest back into rebuilding our province’s infrastructure and economy?” she said, adding she is the right person to represent Dauphin in the Manitoba Legislature.
“With my work experience in the diverse communities to build and expand businesses, I have a grounded approach of working with organizations and groups, councils, First Nations and government to complete projects. So I look forward to serving you and the Dauphin constituency with honesty and integrity and a door that is always open.”
A newcomer to politics, Scofield-Singh admits she has a lot to learn, but feels she is the right person to represent the area.
“The most important part of it is I am a person who listens to people. I listen and I will stand up for you. I have literally lost jobs, because I spoke up on behalf of people I represented,” the health care professional said, adding she has seen firsthand how people are struggling.
“I see how so many people are struggling to pay for their bills, how they are struggling to pay for their drugs. I have clients who are diabetics who had coverage for insulin and are now having to pay for it out of their own pocket. I see clients who have CPAP machines who in the past had assistance in getting them covered and now are having to pay for it out of their pocket. And when you are on a minimum income, how can you afford to pay for it?”
Life is about choices, she said, and Dauphin voters have a very important choice to make on Sept. 10.
“We don’t have to follow the current path that is being offered by the PC government. We need a party that is innovative and has great ideas and already has plans in place, not in the process of developing, but has plans in place so we can get started. When we come to power we can start from the get go.”
For Michaleski, the opportunity to serve the riding for the last three years has been an honour and he is looking for an opportunity to continue the work he started after the last election.
Encouraging investment in the region and the province as a whole and capitalizing on opportunities when they present themselves, is the kind of work he hopes to continue.
“We had a fairly aggressive mandate and we are largely either completed or acting on over 90 per cent of that,” Michaleski said, adding the government has been dealing with change in a responsible way.
“I think our approach is to try and find working partnerships within the government, within the region. Most certainly I think we are much better off working together.
“I think the choice is very clear. We are getting very positive results on the economic front. We are getting very positive results on some of the changes we have made in health care and I simply ask for your support again.”