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This article was published 15/8/2019 (359 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
After three years representing the Park City in the provincial legislature, Blair Yakimoski feels like he’s just getting warmed up.
"First time around, I just knew we had to make a change in government, no if and or buts," said Yakimoski, a former IGA owner who was first elected as a Progressive Conservative in 2016. "Sure enough, I won, and I’ve been working harder at this than I did at my grocery store. But I want to keep doing this."
With his background in retail and food service, Yakimoski said he would like to work on improving the Retail Shopping Act if re-elected. He said that the issue was brought to light after Food Fare owner Munther Zeid was fined $10,000 for opening his West Portage location on Good Friday.
"Three years in, I understand my job and who my connections are," he said, adding he has spoken with Zeid a number of times. "It’s nice to offer a day off for everybody. But our society has changed. If the government can run their casinos, or you can buy liquor or weed, why can’t you buy food for your family? So I’m working with Munther, with other retailers, the public, to bring things to the government."
On the doorstep, Yakimoski, who is married to a nurse, said health care and education come up regularly.
"Health care is a big issue, but it’s a big issue across the country," the father of three said. "I’d like to see wait times down to the Canadian average. Can we get it there? It’s gonna be a challenge."
The closure of Concordia Hospital’s emergency room is also an issue Yakimoski said he’s heard plenty about, though he believes the change to an urgent care centre was a sound one. He added that he and his fellow northeast Winnipeg MLAs worked behind the scenes to make that happen.
"You didn’t see us out on the front lines saying ‘Don’t close Concordia ER’," Yakimoski said. "But we talked with people from the WHRA, the ministers, we said we needed urgent care for our communities."
Born and raised in Transcona, Yakimoski said his "number one" priority if re-elected would be advocating for his constituents and his community.
"It’s amazing representing this community that has meant so much to my life," he said. "I’m proud to be a part of this community."
He added that he is particularly proud of the nearly $300,000 in funding he’s helped provide for local projects, including the new outdoor greenspace at Wayoata Elementary School and renovations to the Transcona Memorial United Church.
"I’m really happy with the grants I’ve been able to award," Yakimoski said.
The new boundaries for Transcona extend extend to the southwest as far as Fermor Avenue at Lagimodiere Boulevard, then follows Lag north to Dugald Road.
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
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