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‘Real opportunity’

Edward Rudkowski is on the campaign trail to become Labrador’s NDP Member of Parliament, believing his party can bring the riding its fair share.
Edward Rudkowski is on the campaign trail to become Labrador’s NDP Member of Parliament, believing his party can bring the riding its fair share.

There’s a disconnect between voters and politicians according to Labrador’s federal NDP candidate, but Edward Rudkowski is hoping to bridge that gap.

Rudkowski is vying for the MP’s seat for Labrador, seeking to be a change from the status quo.
Born and raised in Labrador West, Rudkowski left the region for schooling, receiving an honours degree in economics and a masters in business and administration, which took him all over the world in his business career.
It’s experience he called “crucial” to advocate on behalf of others.
“(I have) a whole lot of experience negotiating with very high level and very hard nose people,” said Rudkowski. “What we’ve seen in Labrador is an inability to get their fair share. It’s a culture which has become engrained in the politicians who are supposed to represent this riding.”

Rudkowski said it’s time for Labradorians to stop accepting less than what is deserved, noting the high taxes paid by residents and high royalties from corporate entities.

“We haven’t seen payback in infrastructure. It took 30 years to pave the road between Labrador City and Goose Bay, (and it was) only finished a few months ago. We have a road going to the south coast which would knock the fillings out of people’s mouths.”
Although the region pays in, Rudkowski said it isn’t paid back.
“How is that acceptable? How is that okay? We’re expected to buy into that and say, ‘yeah, that’s fine.’ How much royalties come out of Voisey’s Bay and IOC? How much taxes are paid by the workers? Where’s the payback in the communities? It’s not there.”
Change will only come from the ballot box, said Rudkowski.

“Frankly, voters haven’t told them differently. If they would, they would initiate the change. We’re going to bring a real opportunity on a national and local level for people to say, ‘this is not good enough.”

Rudkowski is vying for the MP’s seat for Labrador, seeking to be a change from the status quo.
Born and raised in Labrador West, Rudkowski left the region for schooling, receiving an honours degree in economics and a masters in business and administration, which took him all over the world in his business career.
It’s experience he called “crucial” to advocate on behalf of others.
“(I have) a whole lot of experience negotiating with very high level and very hard nose people,” said Rudkowski. “What we’ve seen in Labrador is an inability to get their fair share. It’s a culture which has become engrained in the politicians who are supposed to represent this riding.”

Rudkowski said it’s time for Labradorians to stop accepting less than what is deserved, noting the high taxes paid by residents and high royalties from corporate entities.

“We haven’t seen payback in infrastructure. It took 30 years to pave the road between Labrador City and Goose Bay, (and it was) only finished a few months ago. We have a road going to the south coast which would knock the fillings out of people’s mouths.”
Although the region pays in, Rudkowski said it isn’t paid back.
“How is that acceptable? How is that okay? We’re expected to buy into that and say, ‘yeah, that’s fine.’ How much royalties come out of Voisey’s Bay and IOC? How much taxes are paid by the workers? Where’s the payback in the communities? It’s not there.”
Change will only come from the ballot box, said Rudkowski.

“Frankly, voters haven’t told them differently. If they would, they would initiate the change. We’re going to bring a real opportunity on a national and local level for people to say, ‘this is not good enough.”

Rudkowski believes the NDP represents a departure from what’s been tried in the past.

“When every year but six since 1949 has been liberal government and people complain about the issues, there’s a solution to this. The solution is do something differently. And that’s what the NDP brings to that table.

“Anyone who tries to use the moniker of change when they’ve been in power 91 per cent of the time? That doesn’t fly. That’s the voice of the status quo.”

The NDP is divorcing themselves from the Liberals and Conservatives, who Rudkowski said have only minute differences in policies.

“We’re moving away from that and say it’s not okay. We’re going to give people the representation they deserve and have deserved for years and have not gotten.

 

Priority

 

Rudkowski said his first priority is supporting the mines in Labrador West.
“It doesn’t necessarily represent people on the coast, but in terms of economic impact, not just to the riding but to the province as a whole, it’s significant,” he said. “We have to get in there and see what can be done to help that situation.”

Labradorians can’t be docile economically or politically, he added.
“Wabush mines is gone, Bloom Lake shut down, Alderon never came through. Warning chimes are going — we can’t afford to sit there and be passive.”
The hiring process at Muskrat Falls has received criticism from many who say the policies of hiring Innu first and locals second is not being honoured by Nalcor.
Rudkowski wants to know who’s policing those policies.
“Labradorians deserve first crack at those jobs,” he said. “We can’t be taken for granted anymore. Every once in awhile we hear of a letter being sent off or showing up at a rally. But what’s really being done? I don’t see evidence of it.”
New direction

With NDP polling high on national levels, Rudkowski said the upcoming election is an opportunity for Labradorians, as the party “has the winds at a federal level blowing in its direction.”

And while the NDP voter base in Labrador West has been significant in the past it’s been met with frustration when the national wins have not aligned with the wins of the riding.
“The voters of Labrador have had to swim upstream a little bit. This time it’s different, because we have a national situation that compliments that sentiment.”

Rudkowski believes the NDP party can give Labrador its fair share.

“What serves the interest of Labradorians better? This brave new direction.”

 

ty.dunham@tc.tc

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