“I’m standing for the nomination,” Malakos said, during a January 28 phone interview. “We don’t expect it to be a contested nomination.”
The NDP federal riding association for Glengarry-Prescott-Russell will hold its virtual nomination meeting February 26 via Zoom. So far Malakos, who was the NDP candidate in the 2019 election, is the sole declared nominee.
While he waits to see if there are any other contenders for the NDP candidate nomination, Malakos has set up a candidate information website, that includes a summary of what he sees as the key issues for the next federal election and why he wants to represent the party again.
“I really feel that we connected with a lot of people in the region,” he said. “There is a hunger for change.”
Malakos noted that many of the issues he campaigned on during the last election remain and “have been exacerbated” by the pandemic. He cited as one example the number of people classed as “essential workers” who work in low-paying jobs that include grocery store employees and staff at fast-food restaurants, who now face added stress at work in dealing with often rude complaints from customers who are angry at the pandemic health safety protocols.
“These are the people who provide the lifeblood of the country,” he said. “I think the pandemic shines a light on a situation that has always been there.”
Malakos noted the increasing stress at seniors and long-term care residences, both among the people living in those places and the staff caring for them. He has spoken to some careworkers who told him about feeling overwhelmed and understaffed at their workplaces.
“We need a national standard of senior care,” Malakos said, “a high standard of care not driven by profit.”
Malakos also remarked on the situation Canada now faces with possible cutbacks in deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine by Pfizer and Moderna. The cutbacks threaten the national vaccination strategy against COVID-19.
“Canada once had a Crown corporation that developed vaccines,” he said. “It was created after the Spanish Flu epidemic (early 1900s).”
Malakos noted that the Mulroney Conservative government privatized Canada’s national vaccine production facility during the 1980s. Then, he said, the foreign investors who bought the facility shut it down, leaving the country dependent on outside sources for all its vaccine needs.
“I don’t blame the Trudeau government for this,” Malakos said. “Other (past) government could have fixed this. But if that Crown corporation had existed today, we’d be on the vanguard of producing our own vaccines.”