Majkowski’s focus is on health care

NDP candidate says he will speak for ‘forgotten people’

As a nurse

As a nurse

Health care is Piotr Majkowski’s profession, and it is also a major reason he is seeking office as the NDP candidate in Langley.

As a nurse at Langley Memorial Hospital and for Strathcona Mental Health team on the downtown east side of Vancouver, he sees the health care system from the inside out, and he does not like many of the things he sees.

“In working as a nurse, I keep coming back to the same issues all the time. I felt I could either burn out or do something to make a difference.”

The 26-year-old Majkowski came to Canada as a seven-year-old from Poland.

His parents “lived the immigrant story.” His father Ryszard, an engineer by profession, built houses while his mother Barbara, an economist, cleaned houses. Eventually, they started a delicatessen business in Langley City and they now operate a retail clothing business in White Rock. He grew up in Langley.

Majkowski started volunteering at LMH in his early teens and was drawn to the nursing profession because of his interest in helping people.

He studied nursing at Douglas College, where one of his instructors was Kathleen Stephany, the NDP candidate in Langley in the last provincial election.

When she ran in 2009, he was her campaign manager.

He is fearful that there is a strong movement afoot to privatize portions of the health care system and make it difficult for some people to get timely health care. He sees this trend at Langley Memorial Hospital right now.

Under a pilot program set up by the Fraser Health Authority, the hospital is now charging patients who are awaiting placement in long-term care $900 a month.

These are patients who were admitted into hospital because of medical needs, but are not well enough to be released. However, as there are no long-term care options immediately available, they must stay in regular hospital beds.

“The logic is that we’re running out of money, so we need to find new sources to pay,” Majkowski said.

“The perception is that people are bed blockers, so we can charge them.”

Majkowski said that doctors and nurses should be the ones making decisions about patients’ health care —”not the CEO of the health authority.”

Majkowski has personally knocked on more than 3,000 doors during the campaign.  He often hears from people that “I don’t care.”

“I ask them why,” he said.

“They say, ‘No matter who we send to Parliament, we don’t get any solutions.’ Why not look for something new?”

Majkowski said the NDP platform is a responsible one, calling for a budget that balances within four years. Growing up in a family that ran a business, he is very aware of keeping expenses and income in balance.

The NDP note in their campaign that they were the one federal party to vote in Parliament against establishing the HST in B.C. He said his party remains opposed to the HST.

“He said the party will not ask the B.C. government to pay back the $1.6 billion it received for harmonization if the tax is overturned in a referendum this summer.

“It would be an incentive for the B.C. government to act against the principles of democracy,” he said about Ottawa demanding the money back.

He said the NDP is not planning to be part of a coalition government, but if there is a movement to have two or more parties work together, “the NDP has its priorities, and the party will work to meet our commitments.”

The interview with Majkowski was conducted before a more recent NDP surge in opinion polls.  However, Majkowski he had some insight as to how the campaign could develop.

“In 104 ridings in Canada, the NDP came first or second (in 2008),” he said. “The NDP is a serious opposition to (Stephen) Harper. Jack Layton has done a great deal to accomplish that.

“A larger B.C. NDP caucus is a way to give B.C. a voice.”

Summing up his campaign, he said: “This is all about fairness for people. When I knock on doors, I find that some people haven’t seen a politician at their door in more than 20 years. Part of Langley has been forgotten.”

He intends to speak out for those “forgotten” people.