KJIPUKTUK (Halifax) – Lara Fawthrop is the NDP candidate running in Tuesday’s provincial by-election in the Sackville-Cobequid riding in suburban HRM.
I hope she wins.
After decades of governments embracing austerity, the current provincial NDP caucus, small as it is, acts as a powerful reminder that things don’t need to be this way. That’s important.
NDP MLAs are the only ones in Province House to consistently talk about banning the racist practice of street checks, the rights of workers to fair bargaining, the urgency of climate change and the need for a Green New Deal. Important to many of our readers, the party stands for a substantial raise in welfare rates, allowing people on income assistance to finally enjoy a dignified life.
I also hope some of this uncompromising stand will rub off on NDP parties elsewhere, in other provinces and federally.
Yesterday I had the opportunity to interview Fawthrop at her headquarters on Cobequid Road.
“I started thinking about becoming more active after the Liberals showed such disrespect for the valuable role teachers play in our community and in the lives of our students. I wanted to stand up for our community.” says Fawthrop, who is a high school music teacher. “Then when Dave Wilson stepped down it was a natural choice for me to throw my hat in the ring. I like the current NDP, I feel there’s a lot of integrity there.”
More than anything, healthcare is what people want to talk about when she knocks on their door in Sackville-Cobequid, says Fawthrop. People worry about not having a doctor and want the Cobequid Community Health Centre ER to remain open 24/7, something the NDP supports.
People talk about poverty as well, says Fawthrop. The NDP supports the fight for $15, and wants to raise social assistance rates to a level that would make foodbank visits a thing of the past and allow recipients to live a dignified life.
Policies to tackle the climate crisis are often the deciding factor on whether to go with the Greens or the NDP, says Fawtrop. “I talk about our green jobs plan, our policies around environmental racism. People are happy to hear that we recognize the urgency and have a plan.”
Asked what surprised her most about being so immersed in a political campaign, Fawthrop is quick to answer.
“I didn’t expect such a huge community of support, that has been amazing. People of all ages, people I meet at the door who come in to volunteer, old friends, parents of kids I taught ten years ago, they all come out to help.”
“These 30-odd days of campaigning have such a positive community aspect, and if I get elected I hope to keep that going. It’s clear we can make a difference,” she says.
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