Greg McFarlane wants to help bring the Seven Oaks General Hospital’s emergency room back to life.
McFarlane says the McPhillips constituency, where he’s running for election with the Manitoba NDP, has been significantly hurt by the closure of the SOGH ER department. The father of two said the NDP is committed to reopening the ER if it forms a government.
"The number one thing constituents are talking about is the cuts to health care, the cuts to education, the closure of the emergency room, and this government has left this community stranded for emergency services, so people are really upset about it," he said. "And the New Democratic Party has been the only party that’s been there, vocal about the closure of the emergency rooms."
McFarlane lives in West St. Paul and grew up in Garden City. He graduated from Garden City Collegiate and is a veteran of the Canadian Armed Forces. After leaving a military career, McFarlane became a Red Seal Electrician and a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 2085.
His political experience comes from almost 12 years of serving on several boards and said his candidacy is another part of his advocacy. McFarlane has worked with the Canadian Labour Congress and the Manitoba Federation of Labour. He also served as the vice-president for the Winnipeg Labour Council for three terms. His leadership skills earned him an invitation to attend the Governor’s General Leadership Conference, where he collaborated with 250 other emerging leaders to create changes in Canada.
He also serves as a trustee for the Seven Oaks School Division’s Ward 2, and as vice chair of SOSD, and said he is extremely concerned for the education system.
The founder of the Save the Seven Oaks ER Coalition said he has always been committed to the community and if elected, he will be accountable, present and will be an advocate for his constituents.
"I’ve already been in forums that speak on behalf of people. I’m not afraid to say what’s right. I’m not afraid to do what’s right. I’m not afraid to speak up even if something it’s unpopular. When I was at the Manitoba Federation of Labour, we spoke up; we made sure that working families’ voices were heard," he said. "I know this community very well, and I don’t know that any other candidate can make that same claim."
Also running for McPhillips is John Cacayuran (Lib.), Shannon Martin (PC), Jason Smith (Green Party) and Dave Wheeler (Manitoba First). Smith didn’t respond to an interview request by press time, and Wheeler declined the interview.
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti is the community journalist for The Times. Email her at email@example.com
Updated on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 10:14 AM CDT: Clarifies McFarlane's titles with Seven Oaks School Division; corrects length of time as first vice-president of Winnipeg Labour Council.