SASKTODAY.ca staff reached out to the candidates in all of Saskatchewan's ridings with a universal questionnaire. We will be publishing these results in order they were received.
Name: Tria Donaldson
Running for: Regina–Lewvan
Profession: Communications Representative, Canadian Union of Public Employees
Currently residing in (city or neighbourhood): Cathedral, in beautiful Regina
Previous political experience:
I have mostly worked in the advocacy realm, and have run successful campaigns to protect jobs, restore funding cuts and protect public services like health care, libraries, and education.
I have helped elect progressive politicians across the country — including the recent campaign to successfully elect a record number of progressive school board trustees and city councillors in Regina. I was also part of the team that helped a New Democrat get elected here in Regina–Lewvan back in 2015.
Who is your political hero?
This is a hard question because there are many people I admire. I am going to go with Cindy Blackstock, because of her tireless advocacy on behalf of Indigenous people and children.
What inspired you to enter the election race?
I am running because I think this community deserves better than a government that prefers symbolic gestures over real action.
I am running because Saskatchewan deserves better than a sea of Conservative MPs from this province who vote against basic human rights for queer people and try to stop even the smallest steps to address the climate crisis.
I am running because as the grandchild of a residential school survivor, I think it is unacceptable that Indigenous communities in this country still don’t have clean drinking water or adequate housing.
I am running because regular people shouldn’t have to struggle to make ends meet while the rich get richer and multinational corporations make record profits during a pandemic.
What topics are most important to you in this federal election?
Health care, reconciliation, climate change, the economy, senior’s care are at the top of my mind this election.
Are you concerned about the short campaign timeline for this election?
Many of the people I talk to on the doors are surprised an election was even called. I think the bigger issue is the timing. We are still in a pandemic, the situation in Afghanistan is dire and communities in Saskatchewan are struggling from the drought. Our government should be leading – not calling a needless election.
What supports, if any, do you feel are needed to help businesses and residents with the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic?
Small businesses are one of the engines of job creation in Canada, and an important part of every community across the country. New Democrats believe that small businesses should have access to all the supports they need to get through this crisis, grow, innovate, and stay competitive in Canada and around the world. That’s why we have stood up for emergency small business aid during COVID-19, lower small business taxes, opposed unfair merchant fees, and fought to make it easier to pass on small businesses to the next generation.
Moving forward, there’s so much more to do to help the small businesses that our communities rely on. Capping credit card merchant fees, rental subsidies, streamlining access to government export services, and shortage of workers are all part of the New Democrat plan.
What, if any, agricultural federal programs and initiatives do you feel are necessary to help support farmers and ranchers in this year’s conditions?
Agriculture is a vital sector of our economy. It’s time for a government that’s actually working on the side of Canadian farmers, producers, and farm families. New Democrats have a plan for a Canadian Food Strategy that will take a whole-of-government approach to address regional needs and priorities by investing in our agricultural communities, supporting young and new farmers, and taking steps to ensure that rural livelihoods are good and sustainable.
We’ll also work with the agricultural sector to help them access low carbon tools and technology and adapt to climate-induced weather changes and other impacts of the climate crisis, including extreme weather and increase in pests and invasive species.
Is there an issue that people are focusing too much?
The concerns I have heard on the doorstep are incredibly diverse. But one issue I hear time and time again is that our votes don’t matter because the election is already decided in Ontario. I firmly believe that every vote counts. People can choose who will represent them in Ottawa to fight for the things they need. I am the person to be that strong voice for people in Regina–Lewvan.
Is there an issue that doesn’t get enough attention?
Mental health supports in this country are inadequate – especially for young people facing discrimination, like Indigenous people and queer people.
Why did you choose to run for your particular party?
I strongly believe in the New Democratic Party’s values: sticking up for the little guy, holding corporations accountable, and making life fairer for everyone.
What is the biggest issue facing your party’s chance at success?
Voter turnout is going to be a key factor this election. However voting is easy and it’s really important that everyone has their say. That’s why we’ve launched HowYouVote.ca to walk people through the process and answer any questions they may have.
How will you engage and encourage young voters to participate in this election?
Our campaign team is mostly young people. We have many first-time voters out volunteering and helping shape the direction of the campaign. I think we need to keep talking about the issues that matter to young people and connect across as many social media platforms as possible.
What is your party’s leader’s biggest flaw?
He has nicer hair than me and it just isn’t fair.
Once elected, your job is to represent your entire riding. How do you plan on representing individuals who didn’t vote for you?
Being open to listening and learning is key.
What informs your political stance? What books, publications, relationships or experiences?
My political stance is based on my lived experience.
I grew up on the West Coast of BC. My father was a blue-collar worker who took me to my first picket line when I was just six months old. He taught me to always stand up for what you believe in, and never back down from a fight.
My mother is the daughter of a residential school survivor and an immigrant from Pubjab. She raised me to love the outdoors, embrace my creativity and always be open to learning about people from other backgrounds.
What local project or service would you advocate for more federal spending?
Infrastructure updates, especially for Regina’s lead pipes. Everyone deserves clean drinking water.
What is something people don’t know about you?
I am an avid gardener and grow over 70 varieties of edible and medicinal plants. I used to work on a farm, and I am happiest when pulling weeds and eating fresh produce I grew or foraged myself.