Q & A with Erin Selby
Written by Admin
Q: What was the biggest challenge you faced when making your transition from media to government?
I think the transition was actually a little easier for me than for most rookie politicians. The hardest thing for people to get used to is having a public life, and your family needs to get used to people speaking to you in the grocery store, or at your children’s dance classes. I had been on TV since before my daughters were born so they were used to people recognizing me. Truly the biggest difference for me was the timelines. In TV, your assignment is due everyday at 6 p.m. when the evening news goes on the air. Whether you’re happy with your story or not, it’s over at the end of the day. In politics, it may take months or years to see completion of a big project, and it’s hard to leave issues on your desk and not carry them home at the end of the day.
Q: What is your main focus as Minister of Advanced Education and Literacy and what do you hope to accomplish in the future?
My focus, the focus of our government, is to provide affordable accessible high-quality education for Manitobans. We want everyone who has the ambition, determination and passion to learn to succeed, and for students to be judged on their commitment to learning and not on their ability to pay.
I do believe post-secondary education is on the right track in Manitoba. We’ve increased funding to post secondary institutions by nearly 90 per cent since we came into office. Our students pay among the lowest tuition fees in the country and in the future we will bring in legislation to freeze tuition to the rate of inflation. When we came into office there were no bursaries – we’ve tripled our commitment to scholarships and bursaries.
Also, we are working continually to make it easier for students to transfer between post-secondary institutions across Manitoba. I’m confident that will help get students through school faster and prepare more individuals for the work force.
Q: Readers may not know this, but you have triplets at home! How do you manage your professional schedule and busy home life?
First of all I have the best kids in the world, which makes everything easier. I know a lot of women talk about finding balance but I’m not sure that’s possible. I think if you’re a working mom something or someone is always getting the short end of the stick and with women it’s usually themselves. I think you can have it all, just not all at once. There are times when I work a lot, but when I have down time I focus it around my family. My friends would complain that I don’t call them enough, and they’re right. I’m just lucky they still take my calls when I do get a chance. I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my family, but especially my husband who has never once complained about the long hours I work and he does a lot more of the household chores than I do. I do cook supper though, and we manage to eat together as a family several nights a week. And my kids have put in place the “no BlackBerry at the table” rule!
Q: What inspired you to make the career change?Had you always been passionate about politics?
I had an interest in politics as far back as I can remember. My grandparents were active with the NDP and I remember great political debates around their dinner table. I spent 10 years on television and it was a fascinating career but there came a time when I wanted to get more involved with my community. As a reporter you’re on the outside talking about what other people are doing to tackle an issue or solve a problem. I wanted to get right in the thick of things. What I didn’t expect was the added benefit of how many friends you make in politics, especially in your home constituency. Makes living in Southdale feel like a small town!
Q: What is it about Winnipeg that makes you want to be so involved in this community?
I love my city and my province! I was born in Winnipeg and grew up in Pinawa, but went to high school in Ottawa and to Concordia University in Montreal. I think the fact that I’ve moved around gives me a good perspective of what we’ve got here in Manitoba. We have everything here that you can find in any big city, but the parking is easier and things are more affordable. I’m passionate about the arts and Winnipeg is home to world-class dance, theatre and music. Add to that the return of the Jets – what more could you ask for? There is no place I’d rather be! I’m so glad my husband and I decided to raise our family here.