Duane Zaraska says he wants change and he’s throwing his hat into the ring in hopes of helping make that happen. Zaraska, the federal NDP candidate for the riding of Lakeland, is concerned about the current treatment of middle-class families and he says he wants to be there for them.
“I feel I have to be. Somebody has to step up to the plate and it’s time for change,” he said. “I’m a family man myself. I’m a father of two and a grandfather of two and I’m concerned about the plates of our middle-class people and families. We’re struggling more and more every day.”
The best way to affect that change according to Zaraska is an NDP government. A lifelong supporter of the party, he says the country needs a government with social democratic policies and a focus on economy and environment. He’s also no stranger to government himself, presently serving as vice-president of the Alberta Metis Nation’s Region 2, and he has a wide variety of experience in a range of occupations.
Working at everything from plumbing, driving buses, youth work, couriering to entrepreneurship, Zaraska sees himself as a people person who can represent the common man. He also studied business administration, giving him a familiarity with economics.
“I am compassionate about everybody’s concerns. I’m an approachable person, I’m accessible and I listen to the people,” he said. “Governments should be run from the bottom up, not from the top down. We need to restore our democracy. I’d ask people to just give me a chance to change the things that aren’t working anymore.”
Given the lengthy campaign ahead he has some mixed feelings about the extended writ period. Though the campaign gives the Conservative Party a leg up as they have more money in their coffers than the other parties, Zaraska says the extra time gives his party the chance to communicate with voters and spread their word.
“That’s part of his plan right? He wanted to exhaust us and just destroy our stamina and, of course, our resources,” he said, referring to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper calling the election early. “Because we don’t have that pot of gold. But it doesn’t matter, we’re fighters, we’re strong people and we’re not going to die. We’re very positive,” he said.
“Despite the cynicism of the extra long writ period it does give us the opportunity to get our message out and engage as many people as possible and that’s what we’re doing. We’re talking to people and I’ve gotten very positive feedback. People want change.”