He served as a school trustee, then as a mayor, and now Robert Rivard is attempting to be the next MLA for Dawson Trail riding. Rivard, who lives in Dufresne, will be the Liberal candidate in the September election.
Rivard has lived in the riding, known today as Dawson Trail, most of his life. He worked in manufacturing in Winnipeg for 40 years before retiring. Rivard also served as a school trustee in Seine River School Division for nearly 20 years and as Mayor of Tache for four years.
Rivard says there are a couple of reasons why he decided to make the leap to provincial politics. First of all, he has got a lot of free time on his hands, now that he is no longer Mayor of Tache. And second of all, Rivard says he does not like the direction the government is going, and rather than sit at home and complain, he has opted to try and do something about it.
"For the constituency itself, I just felt in the last three years that we've kind of been forgotten," he says. "Almost left out of any provincial plans or anything. There hasn't been a whole lot happening in our area."
As far as the province as a whole, Rivard says he is concerned about health care and education.
"I'm worried about what this government is going to do with the information they collected over the last six months on education," he says.
Rivard says he fears the Conservative government will make cuts in education, similar to what happened in health care.
"There is always money to save but you have to know where to save it first before you start making the cuts and I think that's where this government has gone wrong," he says.
Rivard says it seems every department was told to trim 30 per cent, whether they were efficient or not.
Another concern of his is justice in the rural area. He notes the Liberal party has come up with a plan that would have a regional police force throughout the province, which municipalities could tie into. Rivard says he thinks the RCMP does a great job but does not have the resources to cover large areas such as the RM of Tache or Ste. Anne.
Rivard says while it would be great to win the provincial election with a majority government, for the Liberals to be relevant again, they at least need to force a miniority government on September 10th.
"If we could force a minority government then the Liberals would have a lot of say in what's happening in the province right now," he says.
Rivard says based on what he is hearing from constituents, it seems now is a great time to be a Liberal. That is because voters are telling him they are not happy with things under the Conservative government and that prior to that the New Democrats ran the province as though they would be in power forever.