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This article was published 13/8/2019 (227 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
After 35 years working in provincial public service, Susan Boulter is embracing partisanship and putting her name forward for MLA with the Progressive Conservative Party of Manitoba.
Boulter, 61, is running in River Heights, her home for the past 11 years. The constituency has been represented by incumbent Liberal MLA Jon Gerrard for the past 20 years.
"I think that River Heights needs a voice in government. We have had for a long time, no representation in government, no voice to any issues," the mom of two said. "I think I could be at the table saying ‘This is what the people of River Heights would like to hear.’"
Boulter retired about five years ago from her "dream job" as chief operating officer of Vital Statistics Agency and chairing the Funeral Board of Manitoba. Prior to her time with the provincial agency, Boulter worked in The Pas as a clerk with the mining recorder’s office, then served as director of driver and vehicle licensing, and chief operating officer of Materials Distribution Agency.
"My 35 years in government, I tried to do things better, faster and more efficiently for the people of Manitoba," she said. "I get a real satisfaction out of seeing things get better in Manitoba."
During her time with Vital Statistics and Manitoba Materials Distribution Agency, Boulter said she remained non-partisan and served her "political masters," but since retiring took up volunteering with the PC Party, eventually solidifying a connection that would result in her name on a ballot.
"During my career, I really didn’t feel any particular way towards any party. I felt you shouldn’t do that. You give the best advice and do the best work you can while you’re a civil servant."
Boulter has community ties, serving on the Vulnerable Persons Hearing Panel and Reh-Fit Foundation board, the centre for which her father helped found 40 years ago. If elected to the legislature, Boulter said she would like to work in those fields, and champion preventative medicine and long-term health care.
"That’s where I’d really like to be exploring a career in government," she said. "There’s so much to be done but I think the focus on vulnerable persons and the elderly… I really think we can be doing more."
Boulter deferred questions about the relocation of the Manitoba Youth Centre to make way for the expansion of Kenaston Boulevard, and said announcements on justice topics were forthcoming from the PC Party. Of issue to folks in River Heights, Boulter said health care, education, and safety are top of mind with voters, and she is enthusiastic about the Progressive Conservatives’ plan for health care moving forward.
Though the most accessible urgent care centre and emergency room to River Heights — Misericordia and Victoria Hospital, respectively — were closed, and converted to urgent care in the past three years, Boulter said the impact on the community has to be considered in the bigger picture, adding ambulance care and hospitals with specialized services are effective.
"I think we have to see the success of Victoria moving over the last two years to urgent care as being very positive," Boulter said. "I really appreciate that there was a mess to clean up, and that’s what I did in my government career: going in, cleaning up messes, and making them more efficient.
"I have a lot of sympathy that it’s important to get it done, and get it done right. But communication is key too."
The provincial election is on Sept. 10.
Also running in River Heights are Jonathan Niemczak for the NDP, Jon Gerrard for the Manitoba Liberal Party, and Nathan Zahn for the Green Party of Manitoba.
Danielle Da Silva
Danielle Da Silva is a general assignment reporter.