A staunch supporter of local unions and secretary-treasurer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 832 is letting her name stand against Progressive Conservative party leader Brian Pallister.
Beatrice Bruske, 50, is the Manitoba New Democratic Party’s candidate for MLA in Fort Whyte.
The mother of two from Whyte Ridge has worked full-time with the UFCW since 1993, serving as a negotiator bargaining in the retail, security, non-profit, food production, health care and warehousing industries, and since 2011 has served as secretary-treasurer. She is currently a member-at-large with the Manitoba NDP executive.
"I was asked, but also I was very interested to put my name on the ballot even though Fort Whyte is not a traditional NDP constituency," Bruske said. "But working for a union and on behalf of workers, whether it’s public sector or private sector, as soon as the Pallister government was elected, we could see some immediate changes to the detriment of our members. That created some concern for me."
Within her role at the union, Bruske said she’s seen first-hand how government changes have affected workers and is hearing dismay from people in Fort Whyte who rely on those folks.
"The people at the doorstep don’t necessarily know the specifics behind that, but what I am hearing is that there is frustration about making sure that they can have access to timely health care," she said.
Within her own home, Bruske said securing educational supports for her son, who is on the autism spectrum, within the public school system had become increasingly difficult over the past few years, solidifying her desire to run for provincial office.
Bruske acknowledges the uphill battle in Fort Whyte, running against an incumbent MLA who is also the premier of the province, but is happy to be a choice for her neighbours regardless.
"I did feel it was important to at least put my name forward, and I feel that based on my personal work experience and my life experience, that I’m able to articulate some of the concerns that my neighbours and friends in my community do have," Bruske said.
At the doors, Bruske said people are talking about health care, the conversion of the emergency room at Victoria Hospital to urgent care, mandatory overtime for health care workers, and keeping Manitoba Hydro public.
Bruske said she’s most enthusiastic about the NDP’s plan for mental health services in the province, and if elected she’d like to bring her union expertise to the legislature and work for strong conciliation services.
Also running for MLA in Fort Whyte are Green Party candidate Sara Campbell, Manitoba First candidate Jason Holenski, Manitoba Liberal candidate Darrel Morin, and Progressive Conservative candidate Brian Pallister. Holenski and Campbell did not respond to an interview request. The provincial election is Sept. 10.
Danielle Da Silva