Tonya Ratushniak is the NDP candidate for Battle River-Crowfoot.
“I think that we really are at a point where we are gaining traction,” explained Ratushniak, who works as a mental health professional and calls New Norway home. She added that she also feels Alberta is largely being left behind, and doesn’t really have a voice these days. “Alberta needs to grow and diversify our economies and train our workers for all of these diverging markets, so we aren’t so subjective to the booms and busts.”
As she mentioned, the pandemic has brought many challenges to the surface, and Ratushniak said she feels it’s time for communities to have a new voice.
“I believe that a healthy democracy is maintained by having alternative viewpoints heard. This belief is what has brought me to run as a candidate in our upcoming federal election.”
Ratushniak is a registered psychiatric nurse and mental health therapist who works at St. Mary’s Hospital in Camrose.
She currently serves as president of the College of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CRPNA).
“I am often invited to speak at universities and schools because I am so passionate about mental health,” she said. At the hospital I have enjoyed being involved with Young Medical Minds for many years and in 2019 our team won the People of Excellence award.”
She also has some political experience, having been mayor of New Norway for a couple of years as well.
As to why she has opted to run, she explained that after another weekend off was cancelled due to staff shortages and such, she started to wonder who the local NDP candidate was.
“I just wanted my voice to be heard, and last Saturday I was declared the NDP candidate for Battle River – Crowfoot.
“By running as a candidate for the NDP I offer those with a ‘non-traditional’ viewpoint an option to vote for, as opposed to spoiling their ballot or not participating in an integral part of democracy.
“Because I work as a mental health therapist and in acute psychiatry, I often work with a vulnerable part of our population. That is what drew me to the NDP platform, they recognize that there is so much work to be done in accessing mental health care in Canada,” she said, adding that the pandemic has been very damaging for seniors and other at-risk individuals.
”Not everyone has access to safe housing or affordable housing. We do need universal medical and dental care, pharmacare and vision care.”
She added that her key priorities are affordable housing, funding for mental health, security for seniors, universal medical care, removing barriers to post-secondary education, increasing the number of treatment facilities, more supports for the vulnerable and the capping of predatory lending practices of credit companies.