Daniel Blaikie, NDP — Elmwood-Transcona
'The only way to get change is to change them out'
Why do you want this job?
I want to see change in Ottawa. The Harper government has been pretty bad over the last number of years in terms of their plan and in terms of the economy, and I think it's pretty clear from their posture and their attitude to people who don't automatically agree with them that they're not interested in listening and they're not interested in compromise. The only way to get change is to change them out.
What's the biggest issue for the country and in your riding?
My riding is a good representation of some of the issues that are facing the country. There's not a single issue but there is a single theme, which is that ordinary working Canadians are facing a lot of challenges when it comes to being able to afford some basic things like pension, child care or good health services.
What would you do with the Senate?
We would abolish the Senate. That's a challenging proposition, but we're not a party to back away from a challenge. We think there's no good reason why we should have a Senate in Canada.
Winnipeg was described as the most racist city in Canada. What would you do to combat racism?
Trying to have a new relationship with First Nations peoples that's not as combative as what we've seen from the Harper government and even before then. Getting serious and doing something about the causes of missing and murdered Indigenous women. The best thing we could do is to have a federal government that gets serious about working in collaboration with First Nations people to help heal their communities and move forward on important national projects.
What role should the federal government play in dealing with climate change?
I think we need to be providing leadership. This is an international problem and Canada needs to become a more co-operative international player.
If there was one government policy you think is done better in another country, what is it?
There are other countries that are doing a better job of providing child care at an affordable rate for their population, and I think we could learn from those examples.
Under what circumstances is deficit spending a good choice?
I do think there are contexts of emergency, but I don't think that there is any virtue in running deficits just for the sake of running deficits. It shouldn't be a race to see who can spend how much the fastest. It should be looking at who's proposing to spend what kind of money in what way.
What do you believe is the single most effective way to fight crime?
A combination of consequences and support for families that are in distress. I don't think children are born criminals — they learn those activities. Make sure they have role models and positive spaces to go after school.
What should be done about homegrown terrorism?
It's important to have a plan to try and find people that are being attracted to terrorist groups here at home and try and find what it is that they find attractive about that. We need to make sure that they understand there are consequences with getting involved with them.
If there was a gay pride parade in your riding, would you go? Why or why not?
Yeah I would certainly be happy to go. They are people like anyone else — they want to have friends, they want to fall in love and have a job. There is no way we should be discriminating against them because of their sexual orientation.
Have either you or your family had a frustrating experience with the health-care system, and what would you do to fix the problem?
Absolutely we have. Emergency rooms are frustrating. We've had some great care and some wonderful people and we've also experienced frustration with some doctors or nurses whose bedside manner could be improved. We need federal leadership to make sure everybody is getting the same level of care and that's an acceptable level of care across the country.
What would you do to get more people to vote?
I'm out knocking on doors and we're on social media letting people know what it is that we're doing. And you hope that by presenting a program and a vision for the country that you can inspire people to go out and vote. I think engagement would go a long way.
What's a better use of federal dollars: fixing roads or building rapid transit infrastructure?
I don't think it's an either/or — I think you can do both. Car users benefit from better roads and there are a whole bunch of people who are taking the bus who benefit from better public transit, and I don't think we should be choosing one over the other.
Would you support legalizing a small amount of marijuana? Have you ever tried it?
We would decriminalize it right away because we don't think that people's lives should be ruined for small possession charges that have to do with personal use. I did a bachelor of arts degree and a master of arts degree and I got a trade certificate, so I've seen a lot.