Blandine Tona, NDP St. Boniface Byelection Candidate


I was so pleased and honoured to be elected as the NDP’s candidate in St. Boniface. I am humbled, too, in the knowledge that, if I am chosen to represent St. Boniface as its MLA, I will become not only the first woman elected to serve our constituency, but the first black person ever to be elected to the Manitoba Legislature. It’s a dream I never imagined for myself when I left Cameroon 9 years ago, but as my father once told me, “always dream big.”

Throughout the nomination period, I had the great pleasure of meeting an incredible diversity of NDP St. Boniface residents and families, for whom reckless Conservative cuts to healthcare funding, affordable housing, French education supports and school divisions and environmental sustainability measures remain paramount concerns.

Now, when canvassing throughout the constituency, it’s more than apparent that these concerns are shared by all St. Boniface constituents from all walks of life, socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, political stripes and party affiliations.

Together with my fellow New Democrats, our byelection campaign will focus on prevention and community-based healthcare needs, because when people are healthier in their communities, they make fewer trips to the emergency room. We will fight to reinvest those savings into our frontlines, but will also expand much need services, like mental health supports, addictions services and supports for people living with chronic diseases.

Pallister’s funding cuts to school divisions and French education supports are putting our children’s future at risk, and our teachers deserve to have the resources they need to prepare students for university, college and the workforce. Our Party has a record of making investments in our schools, and we will continue to work with teachers and education experts to ensure our students receive a high-quality education — including targeted investments where it’s most needed. As a Francophone and mother, I understand the importance of having French services delivered by French people. My family made sacrifices so that our children could be educated in their language. As MLA for St. Boniface, I will continue to fight to restore the Bureau de l’education francaise (BEF). I will push the Pallister government to prioritize French education and make strong investments that ensure French students are successful.

All residents of St. Boniface are deeply troubled by the lack of vision and commitment shown by Pallister’s Conservatives to protect and sustain our environment. As St. Boniface MLA, I will fight to reinstate the 50/50 transit funding model, and to reinvest every dollar from carbon pricing back into green initiatives right here in Manitoba so that we can make our economy greener, our environment safer, and help low-and middle-income families adjust to rising fuel prices.

What’s more, our Party will fight to keep Manitoba Hydro public so that we can all enjoy the benefits of clean, affordable electricity and provide zero-interest government-backed loans to help families and municipalities purchase electric vehicles and busses.

Again, I am deeply honoured to seek political office in the service of all St. Boniface residents and Manitobans altogether — families and children, students and youth, seniors and newcomers and our most vulnerable and marginalized peoples alike. Only the Manitoba NDP offers a credible alternative to Brian Pallister and his Conservative austerity agenda of cuts to critical services and progressive, inclusive priorities — priorities that work to ensure that no one is left behind.