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APN election edition: Annika Saarikko

This week the All Points North podcast hosted Centre Party leader Annika Saarikko.

Annika Saarikko APN podcast picture

Centre Party leader Annika Saarikko told the All Points North podcast that she is a modern leader, despite her party's support for Home Care Allowance--a Kela benefit that critics claim keeps mothers out of the workforce as more than 90 percent of recipients are women.

"I won't accept the label of a conservative woman," said Saarikko. "As I mentioned my own choices have been quite modern, I have split the parental leave with my husband and things like that."

You can listen to the full podcast using the embedded player here or via Yle Areena, Spotify, Apple Podcasts or your usual podcast player using the RSS feed.

Article continues after audio.

Annika Saarikko on the All Points North podcast. Audio: Yle

Saarikko said her party recognised the problem of discrimination in the labour market, after research showed how hard it is for non-white applicants to get an interview.

"First of all I would like to say that it is a real problem, the Centre Party believes that we need a more international workforce and we must become better at integrating people," said Saarikko, who also indicated she'd look at a suggestion from the non-discrimination ombudsman that it should be easier to complain when you suspect discrimination on grounds of ethnicity.

As Finland's Covid epidemic continues to expand, Saarikko said that it's 'time to stay home', and that she was less than pleased with the EU's vaccine strategy.

"It has been a disappointment, I have to say," said the Oripää politician. "But it is not only the EU's fault, it is not only Finland's fault, there have been problems with the manufacturing side. There have been production problems with med companies. And of course after this crisis we have to discuss together what went wrong. Everyone wants to have those vaccines now."

As debate in Finland raged over possible new restrictions, the Culture Minister told APN listener and freelance orchestra musician Valerie that the restrictions have not caused pain equally across society and admitted that the government had found it 'hard' to close down pubs.

"I think that the system has been unfair," said Saarikko. "That's why we made a hard decision to close the restaurants next week….When you think about how the virus has been spreading, the pubs and the clubs have been a problem for us."

Join the conversation!

This week's show was presented by Egan Richardson and Zena Iovino. The producer and audio editor was Mark B. Odom and the audio engineer was Anders Johansson.

If you have a question or would like to share your thoughts, just contact us via WhatsApp on +358 44 421 0909, on our Facebook or Twitter accounts, or at yle.news@yle.fi and allpointsnorth@yle.fi.

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