Topsail-Paradise By-Election Candidate Spotlight: Kathleen Burt

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With the provincial by-election campaign happening in the Topsail-Paradise district, The Racket reached out to the three provincial candidates for an interview. Only Kathleen Burt and the NDP responded to our request.

Kathleen Burt is a retired educator who has worked with all ages from Kindergarten to Grade Twelve and beyond in public and private schools across three different provinces. “I believe education is central to the solution of many of our problems,” Burt told The Racket via email. “There is nothing [as] exciting as being around when someone learns something.”

Burt is a community volunteer who said she loves people and meetings. “[I] love to be part of any activity that brings people together, especially if it empowers them,” she said. Burt loves to work co-operatively with others and has a strong belief in democracy and democratic reform.

A grandmother of nine, Burt believes this role has helped shape her political views. She wants her grandchildren to have access to good education, regardless of economic background which will help them secure decent work from employers who provide fair wages and benefits. “. “I want my grandchildren to have the same feeling of limitless possibility as I had myself in 1972 when I graduated from high school,” said Burt. She also doesn’t want her children or grandchildren to give up their lives to look after her when she is older so she believes in good nursing homes with adequate staffing.

For these reasons, Burt has aligned with the NDP and is running as their candidate in the Topsail-Paradise by-election. “I believe that by empowering our most important resource, our people, we can face any challenge, and create a better, fairer, and more compassionate future for our young people,” she said.

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Burt believes the biggest issue facing the people living in the district of Topsail-Paradise is whether they are going to continue accepting the political status-quo. “I think the people of Topsail-Paradise are the kind of people who are tired of the imbalance of opportunity and wealth in our province and are looking for a better way of doing politics.”

According to Burt, shaking the status quo is also the biggest political issue facing the entire province. She believes the status quo helps feed large corporations and the wealthy at the expense of everyone else’s hard work. “It is the issue of how do we use the creativity and resourcefulness of the [people of Newfoundland and Labrador] to create vibrant and sustainable communities all over our beautiful province,” she said. “It is the issue of how our government can use our tremendous natural wealth for the benefit of all communities in our province, rather than using that wealth to fill the pockets of big corporations, or the already wealthy.”

At the time of our correspondence, the campaign was in its early stages but Burt said the voters she had spoken to in the district have been very supportive but she felt there is a real “wait and see” attitude throughout the constituency. “This may be because people are fed up with the manipulation and hollowness of the Liberal and PC parties,” she said.

If elected, Burt said she plans to join with the other two NDP MHAs Gerry Rogers and Lorraine Michael to continue holding the government, as well as the opposition accountable and proposing people-powered solutions to the province’s challenges. “I hope we will be instrumental in bringing about more much needed democratic reforms, and encouraging the Liberal government to use the democratic processes, such as all-party committees, to bring about better government decision-making,” she said.

Burt is also open to running again in the 2019 general election should she not be successful this time around. She also referred to many “young, intelligent, creative young New Democrats” like Nicole Kieley and Kerri Claire Neil and would step aside if it meant them running.

Just for fun, we concluded our interview by asking Burt about some of her favourite things:

Movie – Stand and Deliver

TV Show – Murdoch Mysteries and The Fosters

Artist – Tracy Chapman, The Nylons, and Alanis Morisette

For more information about Kathleen Burt, you can like her Facebook page, or follow her on Twitter @KathleenBurtNDP.

Voting for the Topsail-Paradise by-election takes place January 24 with advance polling on January 17 and 19. To view a list of polling stations, follow this link.