Interview with Rachelle Devine

University of Manitoba student Rachelle Devine is running for the NDP this federal
election in the Kildonan-St. Paul riding of Winnipeg.

“I had been thinking about it personally for years,” says Devine, who has been volunteering for the party for a long time, told the Manitoban. “But I kept telling myself ‘I’m too young’ or this and that, that I’m not ready. But when I was approached by Rebecca and Daniel Blaikie, who recognized my hard work, I felt I couldn’t let them down.”

Devine has experience in the health care sector, having completed both Emergency Medical Responder and Primary Care Paramedic programs before studying at the U of M. “After being accepted to the faculty of nursing, I realized through my training in northern Manitoba and life experience that there were so many social issues that I didn’t understand,” Devine explained over the phone. “I chose passion over practicality and switched to the faculty of arts, taking a major in Native Studies, with a minor in Women and Gender studies.”

Born and raised in her riding, Devine is part of very political family. “My uncle is Gary Doer,” she explains, “so I was basically born and raised in politics. Lots of people who experience politics first hand are turned off by it, but I was very interested.”

“My political aspirations were solidified when I was 17,” Devine continues. “When I
took part in an exchange program ‘Encounters with Canada’ in Ottawa.” The program brings youth from across Canada into parliament every week that it is sitting, giving young students an inside view of how the country runs.

During this program, Devine first met MP Pat Martin (Winnipeg Centre). “It really
opened my eyes that politicians aren’t all doctors or lawyers, but everyday people who want to advocate for people and think they can do a better job than the status quo.”

Devine believes that her knowledge and background in her riding, as well as her young age, gives her an advantage over her opponents. “I’m born and raised in the area,” she explains. “I attended all three levels of school in this riding. I know the issues, seeing the poverty, seeing the wealth. There’s a vast difference.”

“There’s also a growing senior population,” Devine continues. “And a multicultural
aspect that is often overlooked. Recently, I’ve been attending the Indo-Canadian Sikh temple, attending service, meeting people. If elected, I’ll advocate for immigration issues.”

Rachelle Devine goes up against incumbent Joy Smith (Conservative), Victor Anders (Liberal), as well as U of M student Alon Weinberg (Green) and independent candidates Eduard Hiebert and Brett Ryall on May 2.