Health care and education are priorities for Liz Cronk, the NDP candidate for Borderland.
Cronk was born and raised in Austin, Manitoba and grew up with her four brothers spending time on her grandparents’ grain and cattle farm.
She left home at age 17 and moved to Winnipeg where she received her Registered Nurse diploma from Misericordia Hospital School of Nursing. She worked in a variety of positions at the Health Sciences Centre gaining experience in orthopaedics, urology, dialysis, dental surgery and medicine. Liz also holds a bachelor’s degree in political studies and psychology from the University of Manitoba and for the past several years has worked on the front lines in inpatient mental health.
An active member with her nurses’ union local, she represents the mental health nurses on the executive and sits on the local bargaining committee. She presently sits on the Board of Directors of the Manitoba Nurses Union and has served for 13 years on the St Boniface Workplace Safety & Health Committee representing nurses.
“I’ve seen the damage that the Pallister health cuts have done to our health care system and I’ve been wanting to run somewhere for quite a while,” she said. “
Cronk said she’s been interested in politics since the age of 12 and has worked on other campaigns over the years.
While health care is on her mind, it’s also on the minds of voters she’s met while knocking on doors.
“Pallister cut flu clinics across the province, he announced the closure of 23 rural EMS stations,” she said. “I’ve talked to nurses in Borderland, particularly in Altona… they’re overworked, (they) have to stay overtime… the ER times are long.”
She’s also an advocate for smaller class sizes, something she said she hears on the campaign trail. “Some voters don’t want their children in large classrooms, they want their children to have more one on one care,” she said.
Cronk said the NDP also want to create an affordable quality of life by “helping first time home buyers with $1,000 towards a first home, keeping Autopac rates low by putting drivers ahead of private insurance companies and free parking when visiting a hospital.”
“You shouldn’t have to worry about going out to check a meter when you’re in emergency with your loved one,” she said.
Cronk said it’s also a priority to keep Manitoba Hydro strong and publicly owned to keep rates down.
“When Filmon was in power, he sold MTS and our telephone rates went up,” she said. “Hydro needs to be kept public.”
Cronk knows the Borderland constituency (previously Emerson) is not traditionally NDP. In fact the last time it was NDP was 46 years ago. An NDP MLA was elected in 1973 and served until 1977.
“I’ve got experience and knowledge of the health care system,” she said. “I’ve got general life experience. I’m not 25 years old like one of the candidates is…”
Cronk said she’s been welcomed warmly as she’s gone door to door.
“I still think the number one priority for Manitobans in this election is health care,” she said. “I think there are a lot of progressive people living in Borderland and I think they need a progressive candidate, which I don’t think they’ve had.”
And while she is a parachute candidate (someone that lives outside the constituency they’re running in) she said she would move to the area if elected.
“I know a person who lives there often has an advantage and I get that,” she said. “But there are lots of MLAs who were elected that didn’t live in their constituency.”
The Borderland constituency includes as candidates: Ken Henry – Green Party, Loren Braul – Liberal, Joshua Guenter – PC Party, Cliff Graydon – Independent and Liz Cronk – NDP. The election takes place Sept. 10.