GLACE BAY: The NDP candidate for Cape Breton-Canso says it only takes one person to lead, and she wants to be that person for the riding.
Jana Reddick, who is a career practitioner assisting people looking for employment, or returning to school, previously was a youth counselor at a residential group home working with kids in child welfare.
The now 29-year-old, who was born and raised in Glace Bay, and raises her son with her partner Ashlea, was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2019, which she indicated almost acted as a catalyst for her to run in this federal election.
“This is something that I’ve really wanted to do since I was young,” Reddick told The Reporter. “Getting cancer kind of made me realize that sometimes you have to be the first person to make the change.”
After her diagnosis, she suggested so many individuals rallied around her, provided for her and helped her without a second thought; during a time that was dark and scary, but reminded her the importance of community.
“This commitment to each other made me realize that together – we can give each other the best life possible. For future generations and ourselves – right now,” Reddick said. “These past few years have taught me to grab hold of what matters most, and for me, that’s the future of Cape Breton-Canso and everyone in it.”
Deciding to run in this election, she indicated, came directly from the assistance she received in the wonderful place she calls home.
Through cancer, care and community, it made her believe real change can happen.
As for her first ever campaign, she indicated while she’s putting in long days, trying to build a social media presence and making phone calls, she’s not getting out to as many door steps as she’d like to.
“And that’s only because, from the chemo treatment, I was diagnosed with avascular necrosis of the hip,” Reddick said. “Which means the top of my femur bone died from a lack of blood supply.”
When she is on the doorstep, and talking to people on social media or the phone, people have been focused on health care, affordable housing, mental health, and a living wage.
“All (of these) things are pretty important inside the NDP platform,” Reddick said. “And it’s nice to have something to kind of explain to them that’s a little more concrete than they’re used to.”
She believes the constituents of Cape Breton-Canso are frustrated with and want a change in their representation in Ottawa.
“The NDP party is all about the people, and it’s been like that since the early days of the party,” Reddick said. “It’s about helping people and doing better; making things better for people. When I heard the commitments Jagmeet and the NDP were putting out there, it wrung so close to my heart with the things that are needed down here.”
Speaking personally in relation to a pharma care plan, the breast cancer survivor indicated some of her cancer medications can cost upwards of $6,500 a month, while the need for more doctors is crucial as her lump was discovered in a walk-in clinic, since she is one of 65,000 Nova Scotians without a family doctor.
“I’m a person that has struggled just like everybody else in the riding and I’m not going to forget that, I know what it’s like,” Reddick said. “I want to make this place better for all of us, because it’s been too long that we’ve been left behind.”
Specifically in the NDP platform, she said it indicates they’re not going to leave anyone behind, and that is so important to her, because in Cape Breton, the child poverty rate is 35 per cent; the highest in the province.
“One in three kids live in poverty and that’s an insane number, and yet nothing is done about it,” Reddick said. “We get the same old, same old where things are promised to us, and told that they’re going to come, and look at how good we’re doing, and nothing has changed for any of us.”
With life the same under Liberal and Conservative representation, she wants to be the person that listens and fights for real change for everybody throughout the riding, not just a select few.