‘There’s just some kind of a humanity there’

NDP candidate has firsthand appreciation of some of her party’s policies

By Mark Squibb | Vol 7 No. 19 (Sept. 26, 2019)

Mount Pearl— Southlands NDP candidate Anne Marie Anonsen says she has two responses to the question posed at the door, ‘Why should I vote for you?’

“I think I have been doing, all my life, work that has led me to here and now. I have been championing for people all my life. I’ve gotten really used to finding out what’s the real problem that’s stopping this person. It’s almost always political,” said Anonsen. “I know what people are up against. I know that fixes are possible. And I really know that those fixes are in the 109 pages of commitments that Jagmeet Singh is putting out there.”

That’s her first answer.

The other answer, she jokes, is the ‘saucy answer.’

“Because I don’t own any major corporations, and because I’m not rich,” she laughed.

NDP St. John’s South— Mount Pearl candidate Anne Marie Anonsen. Mark Squibb photo

NDP St. John’s South— Mount Pearl candidate Anne Marie Anonsen. Mark Squibb photo

It’s a half-joke, as a major push of the NDP platform is to close the gap between the wealthy and the poor, and the party proposes that a “super-wealth tax” will help accomplish that.

“We want to charge people who earn more than $20 million dollars a year an extra one or two percent,” she explained.

Anonsen said if the super rich, such British-Canadian businessman Galen Weston, known to most as the owner of the Loblaws chain, were taxed even just one or two percent of their wealth, it would mean big bucks for Canada.

“The estimate now, is if we tax people who make $20 million dollars a year over the next 10 years, we will have an extra $70 billion dollars in revenue for Canada. And I just love that,” she said.

Those numbers come from a study released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer in September of 2019, based on a one percent tax.

“The difference between the rich and the poor is just not reasonable,” said Anonsen.

She said the party’s policy on pharma care is also a big incentive. The NDP vows to provide access to medicine and health care not currently covered by Canada’s federal health care plan.

“I just recovered from breast cancer. And I lost three teeth. I wouldn’t be able to get them replaced. They’re happily taking them out, but they don’t get them replaced. My party does that. My party is open to that,” said Anonsen.

“When I first got into the problem with my teeth, there’s no way Justin Trudeau, or our minister of health here in the province, would know what it feels like to be afraid of losing your teeth. And then I hear that Jagmeet Singh has a plan to take care of cleaning, filling, all these things? There’s just some kind of a humanity there. And that’s what I’m focusing on… I feel that we’ve had the Liberals for a long time. They’ve done nothing for me and my healthcare, as far as making it possible to have head-to-toe healthcare.”

Anonsen was also drawn to the party’s environmental commitments— and what it could mean for the province.

“We want to change the dialogue on climate change. We want to make sure we are resilient. That we stop exasperating the situation. But we want to hire 300,000 people to come up with innovative, creative solutions,” she said. “I’m looking around my province, and thinking, ‘We are a pretty resilient bunch. We’re a pretty creative bunch. We have lived in some pretty bizarre climate all of our lives, for generations now. Who’s going to get those 300,000 jobs?’ There’s no way, they can get away with leaving them up on the mainland if I’m sitting at the table.”

Anonsen hopes that when people in her riding vote, they keep in mind local issues and local candidates, rather than focusing completely on federal party leaders.

“We have to really look at who’s best for our riding,” she said. “Let’s bring it local. Let’s not worry about who’s up along. Let’s just get somebody here to represent us up-along. I’m really not interested in Justin Trudeau or Andrews Scheer, except that Jagmeet Singh is better. I don’t think I would be able to work so hard for anybody else. He’s genuine. He’s open. I sat with him one day while he was in town, and he wanted to know what was going on, what are the problems, what are the issues.”

Anonsen has been a long-time supporter of the party. She is currently the chairperson of the Women's Caucus for the provincial NDP, and has worked with former NDP Leader and St. John’s Centre MHA Gerry Rogers. Over the years she has worked in the fishery, the craft industry, the private sector, and as a driver for City Wide Taxi, as well as serving on the St. John’s Status of Women Council and the Newfoundland Craft Council.

“I’ve always loved the fact that my party, the NDP, really knows what matters to the ordinary people,” she said.

Residents in St. John’s South— Mount Pearl voted NDP in 2011 when they elected Ryan Cleary.

He lost the seat in 2015 to now Liberal incumbent Seamus O’ Regan.

The federal election is scheduled for Oct. 21.

Posted on October 4, 2019 .