Bonnie Mae Clark’s dissatisfaction with the provincial healthcare system was the driving force behind her decision to run for office.
Her perspective derives from her extensive experience with hospital work, as a lab technician, as a founding member of the New Brunswick Cardiology Technicians Association and training health care professionals.
“I see the deterioration of healthcare and the burnout of staff, and how we’re being cut back,” Clark said.
The first-time candidate said the People’s Alliance of New Brunswick’s values of independence and democracy were what aligned her with the “common sense” party.
The People’s Alliance is one of the province’s newest political parties, and is gaining traction after spending nearly a decade as a small populist group on the fringe. The party has yet to win a seat in the legislature, though party leader Kris Austin narrowly lost in 2014 by 26 votes in his riding of Fredericton Grand Lake.
Current polls project the People’s Alliance will win over 6 per cent of the vote.
Clark’s plan for improving health care in the province includes eliminating “bureaucracy” in the system, consulting professionals in the field and increasing staffing.
“I feel that the doctors and nurses, all of the people together, need to become a voice, and we need to listen to what they say, and we need to start implementing it,” she said.
Clark, a Fredericton local, holds Bachelor of Education and Master of Education degrees from the University of New Brunswick. She also taught a criminology course at St. Thomas University and worked at the university’s Centre for Youth at Risk.
The People’s Alliance candidate said she would like to see a cap on tuition for post-secondary students, and a “safety net” consisting of information on stress management and other student supports.
“I think they all need to be on a level playing field and universities need to come together to discuss issues with students and how to address them,” Clark said.
Specific to the riding of Fredericton South, she would like to address wait times at the Dr. Everett Chalmers Hospital.
Polls show the People’s Alliance has garnered solid support for its leader, but lacks notable support in other ridings. However, Clark said the popularity of the party goes beyond the recognition of local candidates.
“I’m thinking that people are so hungry for change, they aren’t saying who’s this and who’s that,” Clark said. “They’re saying People’s Alliance, it’s time for change.”