Liberal candidate voicing northern concerns

Northern Manitoba’s Liberal candidate in the upcoming federal election made a stop in Flin Flon Sept. 29.

Judy Klassen visited Flin Flon for Culture Days and took in events Sunday, including the Dancing Down Main Street and Pictures at an Exhibition. Klassen also participated in Culture Days events in The Pas/OCN, bringing sitting federal cabinet minister Carolyn Bennett along with her group.

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Before joining the federal race, Klassen was an MLA with the Manitoba Liberal Party, representing the riding of Kewatinook along Manitoba’s far eastern side near Hudson Bay. Klassen said it didn’t take long before people asked her to consider running federally.

“It was posed to me about a year, almost two years into my time as an MLA. People started asking me to run federally,” she said.

“It was my constituents and the leadership in those communities.”

Klassen put her name in the race for the Liberal nomination earlier this year and stepped away from the provincial party after being acclaimed as the federal Liberal nominee. Her seat was won by NDP candidate Ian Bushie in a riding with the lowest voter turnout of any region in the province.

Recent projections by 338 Canada show Klassen and the Liberals have a good chance of winning. They’re in a dead heat with incumbent MP Niki Ashton and the NDP.

Klassen said she was running for communities that have felt left behind federally in recent years.

Part of Klassen’s plans include advocating for changes in regulations and policies to encourage northern business, particularly in Indigenous communities. When asked about her plan with mining and mineral resources, Klassen said she did not have a plan but was open to hearing from communities on the issue.

She said that the main issues she had heard within Flin Flon were health care, employment and mining.

“People want the security, that somebody will be talking with those issues in cabinet and bringing those issues to light,” Klassen said.

“I understand that stress of not having a job, of having to create something. You do need the powers that be to come together to ensure that they work together to make sure the wellbeing of the community is looked after.”

“People are hungry for leadership. I know I have a lot of work to do. There’s somebody here that’s been here for 12 years and she’s managed to hold the hearts of a lot of them, but at the same time, there’s been a lot of people here that she has not connected with. I just want to do my best, work my hardest and ensure that people know I could do a better job than she has, quite frankly,” Klassen said.

“I want to ensure that the federal players know there are issues arising and that they’re being glossed over by the provincial government, which is quite unfair.”

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