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Education key issue for Newmarket-Aurora New Blue candidate

'People don't want to see this top-down government,' says local candidate for new party split from the Conservatives
2022 05 12 -Newmarket New Blue - JQ
Newmarket-Aurora New Blue candidate Iwona Czarnecka.

Newmarket-Aurora New Blue Party of Ontario candidate Iwona Czarnecka said she became frustrated as her concerns about education went unheeded over the pandemic.

The Aurora entrepreneur said a move from remote to hybrid learning caused issues for her kids, but the concerns of her and other parents went ignored by many trustees and MPPs. She said she further raised questions about masking, the details of the free masks provided to students, and their possible mental health impact.

“I started to get involved, and I realized there’s no one there to hear the voices of the community,” she said, adding that the only politician to respond and help her was Cambridge MPP Belinda Karahalios. “Even if the doors are shut — and the doors are never opened for me in my advocacy — I still have an opportunity to make a difference and be a voice for others.” 

Karahalios was a Conservative, but is now the co-founder of the New Blue Party with her husband, Jim Karahalios. The party officially registered 2021 in a split with the Ontario Conservatives, after years of lawsuits and accusations of wrongdoing from the family in Jim's provincial and federal leadership bids.

Czarnecka said her connection with Belinda drew her to the party and a bid for candidacy. She said she aligns with the self-described “anti-establishment centre-right” party.

“We want to give our ridings and local issues representation,” she said. “People don’t want to see this top-down government. They want to be active in the government. They want to have a say. They want to have discourse. New Blue wants to focus on having that conversation.” 

Czarnecka said she ran a concierge and personal staging business for more than a decade, but the pandemic significantly hampered it. She said the impact of the pandemic spurred her to get involved in politics, hearing from struggling businesses. 

She said she resides the riding and got involved in many different groups and activities through parenting. 

“We got to know a lot of businesses because we spent a lot of time supporting these businesses." 

She said education is a key issue for her, and she feels schools are moving away from educating on the basics, instead “focusing a lot on pushing values and ideologies in education.” The party is campaigning on opposing education in intersectionality and critical race theories. 

“It’s something that’s going to prevent our children from being able to participate and prosper in the future. That is something that’s very important to me.”

She said that she hears frustration from residents and that she pledges to be a voice for her constituents if elected. 

She said the party hopes to gain ground in the riding by motivating those who might otherwise not vote. 

“We give them an opportunity to vote for a party that’s going to create a strong opposition and a party that’s going to stand up for them,” she said. “We’re a new voice that people are ready for. We’re a new party that people are ready for."