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This article was published 24/9/2021 (245 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Raquel Dancho knows the privilege of representing her Winnipeg community and is eager to get to work after retaining her seat in the Sept. 20 federal election.
"I feel very honoured," Dancho said. "I love my community that I represent and I worked really hard over the last two years to represent them through a very difficult time in Canadian history."
After having some time to reflect on this past election, Dancho, the Conservative MP elected for Kildonan-St. Paul said she felt frustrated on behalf of Canadians upon seeing a similar political landscape to 2019.
"We did a lot of door knocking, and we heard a lot of frustration and division in this country," Dancho said.
"I think we’re seeing whether it’s east versus west, how to handle the pandemic or urban versus rural issues. I do think our country went through a traumatizing two years and there was a lot of emotion running high. To call an election with amped up political redirect, I thought that was detrimental to our national unity."
Based on final results from Elections Canada, Dancho was able to earn 42 per cent of the vote in the riding with 18,375 votes. Liberal candidate Mary-Jane Bennett, who ran her first campaign in the riding, received 29 per cent of the vote with 12,944 votes. Emily Clark of the NDP earned 23 per cent of the vote with 10,309 votes.
The results compared to two years ago are a slight drop for the Conservative campaign but, nonetheless, a large margin overall. Two years later, Dancho said she does not believe the Liberals will be willing to listen to their official opposition with their pandemic response plan going forward.
"To call an election in the middle of this crisis when parliament was working together towards programs for COVID, I thought that was very selfish on the part of the prime minister," Dancho said.
"We had to raise the temperature to get recognition that we were speaking on behalf of small businesses and families that had been left behind."
The Conservative MP said continuing advocacy for small businesses in the riding is one of her immediate first goals.
"It’s critical, I think we’re still seeing restaurants struggle to hire and there seems to be people that were hired that are not coming back," Dancho said.
Dancho said she is deeply concerned about this issue and believes targeted spending and incentivizing dignity in hard work on behalf of her party will address that concern urgently.
"We’ll see more of that loss if we can’t figure out how to incentivize people to go back to work," Dancho said. "Every single one of those restaurants represents a hard working family in the community. They represent the culture of our community."
In addition to addressing the needs of small businesses, Dancho said she would also like to focus on raising attention to the extension of the Chief Peguis Trail to lower commute times, as well as advocate for the North End Sewage Treatment Plant to be fully upgraded by the city.
"The Chief Peguis extension trail has been on the books in Winnipeg for 60 years, I think it’s about time we got that built," Dancho said. "The Manitoba Trucking Association, Manitoba Heavy Construction, Centreport and residents are all on board. Let’s get some provincial and civic dollars flowing to that."
Dancho believes it’s in all of Winnipeg’s interest to upgrade the sewage plant and she is proud to have the Liberal government announce the first phase of funding for the project during her first term in office.
"Anyone that cares about Lake Winnipeg should care about the upgraded treatment plant; those are big projects that I’m excited about," Dancho said.
After the Conservative Party won the popular vote two elections in a row, Dancho said more work for the party needs to be done to gain ground in urban centres like Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. The MP would not rule out the possibility of another federal election in the same time frame.
"Our platform did resonate with people, so we have to make sure we’re earning the trust of Canadians in every region," Dancho said.
"That’s the way our democracy works and it could be, that if Canadians see Justin Trudeau is not serving their best interest, then we’ll go to the polls and defeat them."
Joseph Bernacki was the reporter/photographer for The Headliner until December 2021.