Seven Oaks SD trustee running for NDP in McPhillips

Greg McFarlane, who is a board trustee for the Seven Oaks School Division, is the New Democratic candidate for Lakeside in the Manitoba provincial election, which takes place on Sept. 10, 2019. (Photo credit: Manitoba NDP)

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Greg McFarlane has been a board trustee for the Seven Oaks School Division since 2014 and is also a father of two.

A former member of the Canadian Armed Forces, McFarlane has also worked with IBEW Local 2085, the Manitoba Federation of Labour and the Canadian Labour Congress. He is also a founder of the Save The Seven Oaks ER Coalition, but encountered controversy in July when Liberal candidate John Cacayuran accused him of deleting posts supporting Liberal policy on the “Save 7 Oaks ER” Facebook page, which McFarlane denied.

Selkirk Journal: What inspired you to run for MLA?

Greg McFarlane: I’ve seen how this government’s bad choices—to close emergency rooms and increase Hydro and Autopac rates—are hurting the families in our community. When (Brian) Pallister decided to close the emergency room and ICU at Seven Oaks Hospital, I knew I couldn’t stay silent. I jumped into action, forming an activist group called “Save The Seven Oaks ER & ICU.” We held rallies (some with hundreds of people), circulated petitions and used local media to help bring even more of my community together in protesting these drastic cuts.

SJ: How do you feel you can make a difference for your local community?

GM: As a school trustee for Seven Oaks School Division, I have helped our local schools to become leaders in providing innovative and student-focused classrooms that ensure every child has an opportunity to be successful. The NDP’s plan for McPhillips includes adding child care seats, expanding the Chief Peguis Trail and putting a cap on K-3 class sizes at Seven Oaks schools. I have lobbied extensively as school trustee for the Chief Peguis Trail Expansion, keeping Seven Oaks schools a leader in education in Canada, and forming the Save The Seven Oaks ER Coalition.

SJ: What aspect of your party’s platform do you admire most in order to make a difference locally and for all residents of Manitoba?

GM: As a dad, I want my children to be able to achieve their hopes and dreams and experience the best life has to offer. I believe the NDP has that same vision for the people of Manitoba. Our plan to fix healthcare, create good jobs, improve education and keep life affordable will lead to a better life for all of us—not just those at the top.

SJ: What is the number one issue in your mind for the constituency that you are running in and for Manitobans?

GM: Brian Pallister’s choice to close the emergency room at Seven Oaks and make cuts to services like physiotherapy, CancerCare and provincial drug coverage has impacted McPhillips families. This is an issue that affects every demographic, every household, and every person. We’re going to re-open the ERs with a responsible, practical approach. We’re going to reset the relationship with nurses and other front line healthcare workers, so that we can end the chaos and chronic understaffing in our hospitals. Above all, we will put patient care first.