Wetaskiwin NDP candidate says democracy needs renewal

The NDP candidate says she is running because she admires her party’s philosophy while being disappointed with the current PC rulership.

NDP candidate Fritz K. Bitz

NDP candidate Fritz K. Bitz

The NDP candidate for the Edmonton-Wetaskiwin riding says she is running because she admires her party’s philosophy while being disappointed with the current PC rulership.

Fritz K. Bitz is the local NDP candidate running in the Oct. 19 federal election. Bitz is a social worker who is currently working as an addictions counselor and is one of 22 indigenous candidates running for the NDP across the country. Bitz is Métis. She is a mother of three adult children and has two grandchildren.

She said she was invited to run for the NDP and was honoured to do so. “I wanted to run for the NDP because the NDP policy matched my world view,” said Bitz by phone Oct. 8. “I was kind of blown away, you know?”

Bitz said she looked at who Wetaskiwin and Leduc area voters were sending to Ottawa to represent them, and wasn’t happy. “Once Stephen Harper started decimating our democracy I said I have to stop complaining and start acting.”

She said she wanted to stand up and feel that her values matched the party’s values. To that end Bitz said she studied the NDP policy and platform to ensure she and the party had a common belief of what Canada should be.

As Métis, Bitz said she also went into ceremony with her elder, and she decided she could run without ego.

The NDP candidate said she has done a lot of door knocking, and it’s clear the number one election issue to voters is the economy. “People are very concerned about the economy,” she said. Bitz noted the NDP has much planned for improving the economy, including job creation, if voted into power.

Bitz herself though feels erosion of democracy in Canada should be at the top of the issues list. She said the PC government’s encouraging of fear and hate motivated her to run. Bitz said she feels the economy is important too, but if democracy isn’t effective, the economy is pointless.

The NDP candidate said, if the NDP were elected to a majority government, within the first 100 days they’d keep their promise to focus on missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls. The NDP government will focus on the deplorable situation in the Middle East and boosts will be made to the economy. Bitz said the NDP will look at who is being taxed and how much they’re being taxed to get funding for needed programs. “It’s going to be a very legislative beginning because there is so much to do,” she said.

Another priority will be repairing the federal government’s relationship with the provinces, noted Bitz. Bitz said much infrastructure work needs to be done across the country, and the federal government needs a healthy relationship with the provinces to be effective. “Once injury has been done, it’s hard to regain trust,” said Bitz.

On election day, Bitz said when voters are in the ballot box wondering whom to vote for, she has advice for them. “What sets me apart from other people is, number one, I’m longer in the tooth,” she said. “I have more life experience. I have a history of dealing with systemic barriers and overcoming them.” Bitz said her experience working in and with government, would make her an effective MP. Bitz said she also understands ethics, individual rights and responsibilities, areas that need to be reviewed in the federal government. “I think we have that in the NDP and I think we have it in me.”