Tony Petrowski

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Q and A with Burrows candidates

April 11, 2016

Winnipeg Free Press - The Times contacted candidates in the April 19 provincial election to answer questions for voters. Below are responses from Burrows candidates Melanie Wight (NDP), Rae Wagner (PC), Cindy Lamoureux (Liberal), Garrett Bodnaryk (Green) and Tony ...

Signs of a two way race in the Burrows constituency

April 5, 2016

CTV News - "But I'm here as a representative, I'm not here to play party politics," said Lamoureux. The Progressive Conservative candidate in Burrows is Rae Wagner. Garrett Bodnaryk is running for the greens and Tony Petrowski is representing the communist party.

CTV Winnipeg

April 3, 2016

CTV News - Melanie Wight is the incumbent for the electoral division of Burrows. Manitoba election 2016 candidates: - Garrett Bodnaryk (Green) - Cindy Lamoureux (Liberal) - Tony Petrowski (Communist Party of Canada - Manitoba) - Rae Wagner (PC) - Melanie Wight ...

Questionnaire Response

Tony Petrowski - Burrows

1. Why did you decide to run in the 2016 Manitoba election?

Under the NDP, full-time employment for youth is disappearing, costs of living are increasing, and democratic rights are being curtailed. Youth and students in particular are being systematically robbed of a life with a future. I am currently unable to find work and have thousands of dollars in student loan debt. My fiancée has a Bachelor’s Degree, a Master’s Degree, a college certificate, and a college diploma in business administration, and is currently living paycheck to paycheck working temp positions with no benefits, sick days, or vacation. The Liberals and Conservatives do not offer youth a real alternative. The Communist Party is the only party that is fighting to eliminate tuition fees and establish a living stipend for students, create full employment and good union jobs, for pay equity, and to end poverty as well as sexism, racism and homophobia. The CPC links these struggles with the fight for socialism.

2. What experience will you bring to complement your role as MLA?

As a young worker I have struggled and continue to struggle with many of the same challenges that thousands of other workers are struggling with: unemployment, debt, poverty, and a precarious future. Despite all the talk of job creation by the current NDP government, the majority of jobs created are low-wage, part-time, temporary, and precarious, with no union protection or benefits. And with a Conservative government, things would get a lot worse. I know first-hand the need to raise the minimum wage, build affordable, quality housing, eliminate tuition fees and provide a living stipend for students, expand medicare to cover prescription medication, vision care, dental care, and mental health, and provide a guaranteed income above the poverty line. Tax cuts to the rich and cuts to social services won’t help me and my family escape poverty, and they won’t help thousands of other workers either.

3. Is there anything in particular you would like to change in our province? In your electoral division?

Poverty and racism are issues that need to be addressed. Manitoba’s unemployment rate is at least 9% if Aboriginal residents on reserves were included in the Labour Force Survey, and increasingly workers are forced to rely on precarious work in the service industry with no benefits for minimum wage, which is $1.25 lower in today’s money than it was in 1976. The federal government’s cuts to social housing will leave many already struggling with paying rent, especially single mothers, in an even more desperate situation, intensifying the Child and Family Services child apprehension crisis which disproportionately impacts mainly Aboriginal families. The Communist Party’s platform offers real solutions to create full employment and a fair taxation system, end poverty, raise the minimum wage $20 an hour, establish universal, quality, and affordable child care, make education free, and expand medicare coverage to include prescription medication, dental, vision, and mental health care. We also need affordable social housing.

4. What key issue(s) / topic(s) would like to stand for in your role as MLA, and why is it important to you?

Raising the minimum wage and eliminating tuition fees are key issues for me. The minimum wage is not a living wage, and is in fact $1.25 lower in today’s money than it was in 1976. You can’t expect workers to be able to afford rent, food, clothing, utilities, and other necessities of life while making $11/hour much less support any dependents and payback debt. The low rate of minimum wage leaves many workers struggling with poverty, especially single mothers, Aboriginal people, youth and students. Young workers are being robbed of a future due to the low rate of minimum wage and having to pay back thousands of dollars in student debt. Many countries, some far less wealthy than Canada, are able to provide free university and college education. In a trillion plus dollar economy like Canada, it is a crime to force youth and students to take out thousands, even tens of thousands of dollars, in student debt to further their education only to find the only work available are part-time, precarious positions in the service industry that pay a poverty level minimum wage.

5. What is one thing in particular that you value about the electoral division that you wish to represent?

The hard work and determination of many residents to struggle for a better future. As a class 1 truck driver, I frequently worked in and around Burrows, meeting and working with many hard working residents that understand the challenges of improving the lives of all residents but nevertheless remain optimistic about a more sustainable future, with full employment, an expanded medicare system, and a bright future for their children.

6. Do you have any other comments regarding your candidacy?

This election is crucial for working people. Working people have endured a slow decline in their prospects. The three main political parties all uphold the interests of big business, emphasizing a neoliberal economic orthodoxy designed to protect corporate profits, such as the size of government, tax policy, and balancing the budget. The fact is that not one of these parties has in any way demonstrated a genuine desire or ability to improve the condition of the working class in Manitoba. There are serious, underlying issues in Manitoba, like a 58 per cent rise in food bank use since 2008; a 9 per cent jobless rate (after counting excluded workers on reserves); racism and national oppression that reinforce poverty and low wages; the highest rate of child apprehension in the world (80% Aboriginal), expensive tax breaks for corporations; and a sales tax hike that was direct aid to Manitoba’s corporate establishment. This is why the Communist Party is campaigning on a solid, working class platform for real change, to put people before profit. The Communist platform promotes a peoples’ agenda and government in Manitoba, strengthening the main demands of workers and democratic movements for real change, and relying on their actions.