St. Boni­face Green hope­ful vows day­care spa­ces in se­niors’ com­plexes


Se­niors’ com­plexes should play host to day­care cen­tres, ac­cord­ing to the Green party can­di­date in the St. Boni­face by­elec­tion.

Françoise Therrien Vrignon said cre­at­ing day­cares within se­niors’ com­plexes in the ward is one of four key items she’d lobby for, if elected as the rid­ing’s next MLA.

“We have two very large seg­ments of pop­u­la­tion in St. Boni­face that are not very well planned for,” said Vrignon. “When you have a day­care in old folks’ homes, it breaks el­der iso­la­tion.”

Vrignon said the idea would cut ad­min­is­tra­tive and build­ing main­te­nance costs, ver­sus con­struct­ing sep­a­rate build­ings to of­fer French-lan­guage day­care spa­ces. She said she knows of a wait list with 800 French-speak­ing chil­dren seek­ing such spots.

Vrignon said the shared space would al­low af­fected se­niors’ com­plexes to be­come com­mu­nity hubs where lan­guage and cul­ture are shared.

The idea is al­ready in place in some Seat­tle and Toronto se­niors’ com­plexes.

Her cam­paign also in­cludes a push for a new elec­toral sys­tem (such as pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion), a green econ­omy hub, and the re­lo­ca­tion of St. Boni­face rail lines.

Vrignon said when toxic ma­te­ri­als are moved on rail lines, they come near res­i­den­tial back­yards, adding risk to po­ten­tial de­rail­ments.

“If we don’t move them, we have to also look at it in the sense that we’re sit­ting on a tick­ing time bomb here,” she said.

Re­lo­cat­ing Win­nipeg rail lines has of­ten been crit­i­cized as cost-pro­hib­i­tive in the past, with some es­ti­mates peg­ging the price to do so in the bil­lions of dol­lars. But Vrignon said a part­ner­ship between gov­ern­ments could make it fea­si­ble.

“If our (fed­eral govern­ment) can af­ford to buy a pipe­line, it can af­ford to re­lo­cate its rails,” she said.

St. Boni­face vot­ers will elect their next MLA on July 17. Lib­eral Dougald La­mont, Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Ma­madou Ka and NDP can­di­date Blan­dine Tona are also run­ning in the by­elec­tion. Four pledges Green Party St. Boni­face can­di­date Françoise Therrien Vrignon would lobby for, if elected:

Get the trains out of St. Boni­face: Re­lo­cate St. B rail lines to pre­vent the spill of dan­ger­ous ma­te­ri­als and clear room for bus routes, green spa­ces, bike paths and/or a green belt. Vrignon be­lieves this should be ne­go­ti­ated between the pro­vin­cial, fed­eral and mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ments.

Re­form the elec­toral sys­tem: Vrignon said the cur­rent first-past-the-post sys­tem is more likely to elect ma­jor­ity gov­ern­ments, who then im­ple­ment pol­icy with­out col­lab­o­rat­ing with other par­ties. She said switch­ing to an­other sys­tem, such as a form of pro­por­tional rep­re­sen­ta­tion, would be more likely to pro­duce mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ments who are forced to work to­gether.

Trans­form St. Boni­face into a green econ­omy hub: By in­vest­ing car­bon taxes in green eco­nomic projects, she ex­pects to at­tract new busi­nesses and cre­ate jobs. Vrignon also pro­poses to cham­pion a bill that would give govern­ment more author­ity to fine busi­nesses who vi­o­late en­vi­ron­men­tal li­cences.

Cre­ate day­cares in se­niors’ com­plexes: Vrignon says this would be a cost-ef­fec­tive way to pre­vent se­niors’ iso­la­tion and in­vest in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion. She said this should be­gin with a pi­lot project sup­ported by the prov­ince.


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