Deborah Chief, NDP — Selkirk-Interlake-Eastman

Deborah Chief says she wants to be part of the positive change happening in Canada.

'I want to be a part of the positive change that's happening across Canada'

New Democrat Deborah Chief is a former chief of Brokenhead Ojibway Nation. (

Why do you want this job?

I want to be a part of the positive change that's happening across Canada. 

What's the biggest issue for the country and in your riding?

The issue of murdered and missing women is a big concern for many people.

What would you do with the Senate?

I would do more research into whether or not the Senate is doing an important job, and then decide from that information whether it's worthwhile to keep it going.

Winnipeg was described as the most racist city in Canada. What would you do to combat racism?

Education, both in teaching our cultures to young people in schools and in teaching each other as adults in community. We have to learn from each other, and that's how we'll start getting rid of racism.

What role should the federal government play in dealing with climate change?

We've got to be really mindful about what's happening with our environment, to keep looking at what's creating pollution and businesses that affect it. It needs to be our responsibility to protect the planet and to do that, we need to establish solid strategies.

If there was one government policy you think is done better in another country, what is it?

We have decent health care in Canada, but some medications and procedures are still very expensive. I would love to see totally free health care like some countries in Europe have. 

Under what circumstances is deficit spending a good choice?

I don't think it's a good choice. We need to be able to plan out how much money we have and work from there. If there isn't enough, you can't start spending money you don't have.

What do you believe is the single most effective way to fight crime?

Public education has to create role models to encourage young people to want to be a positive supporter of their communities.

What should be done about homegrown terrorism?

We've got to continue to educate people, to provide them with information on what to watch out for or how to handle potentially dangerous situations. I would love to see some sort of information line people could call if they have concerns or questions about it.

If there was a gay pride parade in your riding, would you go? Why or why not?

Yes I would. I strongly support the LGBT community.

Have either you or your family had a frustrating experience with the health-care system, and what would you do to fix the problem?

I did have a negative experience at a hospital in Manitoba. We sat down with the administration and were able to settle the issue. That's the way I would like to see more issues with health care resolved, by meeting with them. I understand the frustration. Some people wait from four to eight hours in the emergency room. That can be very stressful.

What would you do to get more people to vote?

Tell them. Word of mouth can be a very powerful tool, and we should be telling everyone who will listen that's not already voting to do so, especially the young people.

What's a better use of federal dollars: fixing roads or building rapid transit infrastructure?

They're both important, but I would say fixing roads needs to be a higher priority.

Would you support legalizing a small amount of marijuana? Have you ever tried it?

I tried it a long time ago when I was young.

I don't know if I would legalize it; I've never really thought about it.


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