Rachel Blaney

Rachel Blaney on her re-election and the NDP

NDP candidate Rachel Blaney said she is honoured to represent North Island-Powell River for a third term. 

“I’m just incredibly grateful for the opportunity to continue this work that I really love,” she said. 

Rachel Blaney laughing during the interview – Screenshot taken by Roy L Hales

As of September 25th, the offical count shows that 39.5% of the riding’s electorate voted for Blaney.  

That number is higher in a preliminary tally of Cortes Island’s election day results published in the Cortes Marketer. 51% of the votes went to Blaney. This number will probably change when the final results are in, but is also to be expected from an Island where Elections Canada data shows the NDP consistently receiving the most votes in every election since at least 2004, regardless of which party was chosen by the riding.

“I still feel frustrated that we had to go through such an expensive exercise for something that largely returned parliament back to the  same pattern it already was in,” said Blaney.

She added the message seems clear, “Canadians want us to work together.” 

Once again, the NDP are holding the balance of power in a minority Liberal government. 

Blaney said that during the past two years they leveraged this to ensure Canadians receive a wage subsidy during the pandemic and more disability funding for seniors.

Going forward, she wants to see the ultra wealthy pay their fair share of taxes, a national Pharmacare system and Canada address climate change.

“For me, another top priority would be the reality that we are in a housing crisis and our rural and remote community is experiencing it at a very high level. We want to see more resources coming to communities to support more affordable housing,” said Blaney. 

Part of her job is building relationships and  collaborating with the stakeholders in her riding.  

Some people believe it is better to have an MP from the ruling party, but Blaney says the opposite can be true. 

“As an opposition member, I can stand in the House of Commons and speak truth to power: talk about what isn’t working and why it isn’t working. Often that shames the government into doing the right  thing. we use that tool,” she said. “When you are a backbencher on the government side, you don’t have a lot of power. You aren’t a part of cabinet and you certainly can’t stand up and tell the government they are doing a poor job.” 

She pointed to her list of accomplishments, compared to those of the previous Conservative MP that represented this area for 20 years.  

That was prior to the 2015 election, when the NDP first swept Vancouver Island and she was first elected.

Top photo credit: “Can I take a screenshot of you?” – taken during interview by Roy L Hales

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