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BC Conservative Party Candidate for the North Island answers tough questions

Dr. Anna Kindy was busy this week touring the true North Island
Conservative Party candidate Dr. Anna Kindy and her husband Dr. Peter Olesen stopped by the North Island Gazette for a wide-ranging political discussion. (Tyson Whitney - North Island Gazette)

Provincial Conservative Party candidate Dr. Anna Kindy was busy this week touring the true North Island.

Kindy made a stop in Port Hardy at the North Island Gazette office on Friday, March 22, where she sat down for an in-depth interview about the North Island riding she will be campaigning for in the upcoming October election.

Kindy made the decision that she would run for office in November and was officially named as the Conservative candidate back in January. She said she wanted to run for office because she’s seen a lot of things that are happening that are “not good for the population, and I said I can’t keep complaining, I’ve got to do something about it.”

From there, she was able to meet Conservative Party leader John Rustad, and she felt that he was in politics to “change things, so I knew I could run with him.”

Kindy’s been working as a doctor since 1986, has lived in Campbell River for 25 years now, and previously lived and worked in Port Hardy during the early 90’s.

“Because I’m a physician I know a lot about health care, but I’m actually out here meeting people from different industries so I can find out what’s happening in those industries,” she said when asked about her trip. “Obviously, health care is a big part of what’s happening in terms of the crisis, but there’s crisis’s in other industries - forestry, fish farming, there’s all these other industries that need help to keep good paying jobs.”

When asked about the provincial health-care crisis that’s been going on for years now, Kindy couldn’t exactly pinpoint when she’d first noticed the start of the crisis.

“25 years ago I was proud to be a doctor, things seemed to be well run,” she said, “I could actually take care of my patients, when I referred them to specialists they’d been seen, and the waiting time for surgery isn’t what it is now.”

“Nowadays they’re running one nurse to seven patients, there’s stretchers in the hallway, nurses are overrun and they’re all quitting, everyone’s unhappy, which is why I want to give a voice to the people that are in health care - people are dying on the waiting list right now.”

Kindy stated it all comes back to the government that’s currently in power, which is the New Democratic Party that’s led by Premier David Eby.

“You have to start thinking outside the box, which is what I think this government [NDP] isn’t doing,” she said. “They’re patch-working the crisis as opposed to planning where we need to be within five to 10 years from now. This is not going to change within a year, we need to change direction, but it’s going to take short term and long-term planning.”

As for the Liberal Party who ran B.C. from 2001 to 2017 under premiers Gordon Campbell and Christy Clark, Kindy said she didn’t know if their time in office was what created all these issues.

“Every party does some good things, and every party does some bad things,” she said. “Right now, the government in power is the NDP.”

She said she feels the NDP isn’t taking care of what actually needs to be changed to help fix the health-care crisis.

“Their approach is not what’s needed, we need to change direction, get input from people on the ground, look at other models of health care, and then do what we need to do to move forwards.”

If she’s elected as MLA for the North Island, Kindy stated her main priority would be “emergencies being open 24/7 - I was here in Port Hardy in 1990-1991 and the emergency was open 24/7. Here we are in 2024, there’s a health crisis going on, and we need the emergency open seven days a week, 24 hours a day.”

Island Health has consistently stated the issue is recruiting doctors and nurses, and Kindy said Island Health needs to continue attracting people “who want to stay, and how do you attract people who want to stay? You treat them well, you listen to them.”

She added stipends for housing and child care would be beneficial, while also pointing out that a rural living allowance would be a worthwhile addition as well.

“You also need to fix what’s happening, you need to give health-care workers a voice,” she said, noting she feels there’s been a serious censorship issue going on when it comes to health-care workers being able to speak out.

She stated she recently met with Campbell River council about nurses being subjected to drug smoke inside of the hospital, and the nurses came to her afterwards and thanked her for giving them a voice.

When asked if she thinks the BC Nurses’ Union is actively protecting its workers, Kindy said she ultimately couldn’t comment on that as she’s not a nurse.

“I just know that nurses are afraid of talking, and that’s indicative of a problem,” she stated, pointing out that the Conservative Party is “pro workers” when asked about her party’s feelings on unions.

Regarding doctors, Kindy didn’t outright say they are being silenced, but speaking out is “not encouraged.”

“Island Health answers directly to the minister of health and nobody else,” stated Kindy’s husband Dr. Peter Olesen, who’s a surgeon in Campbell River.

“Our region is hurting, I feel there needs to be changes, I don’t want politics as usual,” Kindy added, before pointing out other ongoing issues with things like the cost of food and lack of housing, but also problems with education, where she wondered if teachers are dealing with censorship issues like health-care workers seemingly are.

She added that she thinks we’re asking too much of teachers, and that teachers “need to get back to the basics of teaching things that will help you as an adult, and I think they’re being stretched so thin by having to implement policies that are actually parental roles.”

At the end of the interview, Kindy summed things up by stating that the reason she’s running for office is she feels she needs to advocate for change.

“I’ve got a vision of where I think we should be as a riding,” she said. “I’m excited, because I’m seeing that our party is growing exponentially, we’re not career politicians, and we’ve got a good chance of winning this election.”

“If you want change, you vote for the second-place party, and that’s the Conservatives.”