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This article was published 22/8/2019 (188 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Andy Regier never saw himself getting into politics. But the fight to save Concordia Hospital’s emergency room changed all that.
Regier, 36, is running for the New Democratic Party in Rossmere in the upcoming provincial election, which will take place Sept. 10.
"Concordia Hospital was historically built and run by the community," said Regier, who lives in the area with his wife and their 10-month-old daughter. "The Mennonite community had a big role in it, and that’s my background. The community uses it, they’re comfortable going there. It’s an important place in this community. So when they made the announcement I was like, I can’t just sit here and let that happen."
A policy analyst for a Manitoba labour organization, Regier has a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Manitoba and a bachelor of arts, majoring in conflict resolution studies, from Menno Simons College. He was among the organizers of the Save the Concordia ER campaign, which collected over 8,000 signatures online and in-person opposing the closure.
"It was presented in the legislature," Regier said. "However, we didn’t feel that enough action was being taken by the government in response to it."
The group met with local MLAs to express their concern, and organized rallies along Concordia Avenue. Regier considers the 24-hour urgent care centre would fill the space, rather than the walk-in clinic that was initially announced, a "small step in the right direction," but would ultimately like to see the emergency room reopened.
"All credit goes to the people in the community who raised their voices," Regier said. "But I think the trust is lost here, as far as the Pallister government goes."
Regier said he was compelled to put his name forward for Rossmere to be a strong voice for the area.
"Through that process of fighting against the closure, we didn’t hear much from the local MLAs, which was pretty disappointing," he said. "I think it’s time for someone who speaks up for constituents, and that’s what I’m hoping to do if elected."
Along with health care, Regier, whose wife works in education, is committed to fighting to maintain or improve schools in Manitoba.
"There’s a lot of concern out there, that the changes that happened in health care will happen to education, "Teachers need all the support they can get to ensure that students are getting the best educations they can get."
On a personal level, Regier said that if elected, he would push for funding for more recreational opportunities for youth in northeast Winnipeg.
"I played a lot of hockey and baseball growing up, so access to good recreational facilities is important, whether that’s soccer or hockey or baseball or football," he said. "For me that’s a passion. Keeping kids busy and engaged in sports is a good thing."
Community journalist — The Herald
Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7112