The NDP candidate for Springfield-Ritchot says she is running in next month's election partially because of her health diagnosis.

Tammy Ivanco was diagnosed with Multiple sclerosis (MS) about ten years ago. Ivanco says at the time she had a neurologist who specialized in MS. However, today she no longer has one. 

Ivanco says this same issue is facing many Manitobans who need specialized help but cannot find it. This could be because some of those physicians have left or because of long wait times. She finds this concerning.

"You can get a little bit angry about what's happening, you can complain, or you can stand up and try and do something," says Ivanco. "And so that's a really big reason why I ran."

A resident of the Rural Municipality of Springfield, Ivanco lives near Deacon's Corner. She owns a small farm there but also works at the University of Manitoba; employed as a professor of psychology, teaching courses in psychology and neuroscience. 

As an educator, Ivanco says she has seen some of the cuts to education. 

"If we are not putting money into some of the lower grades in school or having classes that are too big, that creates a lot of problems as we go along in terms of student motivation, as well as their success," notes Ivanco. "And for those reasons, I was really driven to put my name forward."

She notes the experience of being a candidate has been somewhat stressful, but it has also been exciting to learn about the process and meeting new people. 

Ivanco admits she has no direct political experience. However, she has been active in a number of unions and says there are similarities between the role of an MLA and the way university is governed. At the university level, Ivanco has served on senate and boards and other levels of administration. 

The NDP candidate says health care is a priority of hers. She says Doctors Manitoba has suggested that 50 per cent of rural doctors will be gone in short order either because of retirement or just a desire to leave the practice. Her priority is to help find a way to replace those doctors, ensuring that everybody in a rural setting has a family doctor.

Another priority is to see higher pay for EMS and improved cellular service in rural Manitoba. Ivanco says people living in or near Winnipeg take cell phone reception for granted, yet those living in rural areas or up north can find themselves without service during an emergency. 

According to Ivanco, the number one thing she is hearing at the door is that people want change. She says campaigning in a constituency that has been represented by the Progressive Conservatives for many years was certainly something that caused some trepidation. However, she notes it has been surprising to see how many people have a story to share regarding a health situation they have experienced. 

"They want change with health care, they want more reliability with the health care system, they want nurses and doctors to be treated better, they want respect in many different arenas around that," she says. 

She adds there is a team approach to the NDP candidates running in rural Manitoba and Ivanco says across the board people are saying they believe in this team. 

The provincial election takes place October 3rd. 


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