The Manitoba NDP have announced Morden's Ken Friesen will be its candidate in the upcoming Provincial election October 3rd. The nomination meeting was held last Thursday, June 22nd.

Friesen was born and raised in Winkler, met his wife in Winnipeg, and moved to Morden in 2019. Friesen noted coming back to the area was one of the best decisions they ever made.

Why did he put his name forward for the nomination?

"I love my friends and my neighbours here," stated Friesen. "My family is here, and I want what's best for them. I want everyone to be able to live their best lives, and what I've seen from what the the PCs (Progressive Conservatives) have done their entire time in power is not much for the people in my in my community."

In Friesen's opinion he feels the Progressive Conservative party believes it's not going to lose the Morden-Winkler seat, so why spend any political capital in the region.

"If there's going to be no return on their investment here, they're not going to do anything here," he said. "Whereas the NDP, if I'm elected, I will have to prove myself every single day to demonstrate why the decision people made to vote me in was the correct one. The long and the short of it is, I believe in our communities, and I want to support the people in those communities."

In previous Provincial elections, the NDP has not always had a local candidate run, with someone from Winnipeg or another region representing the party. With that in mind, Friesen was asked why it's important to have a local face in this race.

"Having someone local is important, because you want a local voice, you want to have someone that knows the people, knows the area, knows the struggles that people are going through," he noted. "As a working class citizen myself, I know the struggles we all share."

Friesen feels the PC government has tried to take away that local voice with the previously proposed changes to the education system, specifically school boards, with the now dead Bill 64. He also points to Bill 37, the Planning Amendment and City of Winnipeg Charter Amendment Act which he feels takes away decision making power from municipal leaders, and centralizes it on Broadway in Winnipeg inside the Manitoba Legislature.

As for the issues facing Morden-Winkler residents, he mentioned healthcare first, relaying a story about when he and his wife moved here, they were put on a waiting list for a family doctor, and were told, at the time, not a single person had come off that waiting list in four years.

"Having access to good healthcare, and making it accessible for everybody, is an issue here," stated Friesen. "The NDP have a 5-point rural health plan, so it affects not just this area. There's certain things in this area that are struggles, and there's things in other areas that are struggles, and we need to address all of them together."

Friesen says, under the PC government, there have been cuts to healthcare, and a failure to move forward on multiple healthcare initiatives, adding promises are made, but not fulfilled. Another issue he will be campaigning on is education, and retaining local voices and local school boards.

- With files from Robyn Wiebe -