Leadership candidate Gord Wyant believes a step ahead for the Saskatchewan Party includes re-connecting with their founding principles.
As one of five candidates running for the leadership of the Saskatchewan Party, Wyant was on the campaign trail through the Southwest back on September 26, with community stops in both Maple Creek and Swift Current.
The MLA for Saskatoon Northwest has received the endorsement of three of the founding members of the Saskatchewan Party (Rod Gantefoer, June Draude, and Bob Bjornerud) for his focus on a recommitment to the guiding principles of the Party.
“We need to appreciate what the founding principles of this party are, and then use those founding principles to build on what we’ve built over the last 10 years, which is really a phenomenal record,” Wyant said.
He notes that Saskatchewan’s growth can be attributed to the original principles set out by the party, including small and efficient government, and economic growth and job creating driven by the private sector, not government.
“So we’re very pleased to have the support of a number of the founding members of this party. And I think that that’s important because that I think reminds people of our province where this party came from.”
“That’s one of the key things I think we need to get the message out, where we came from, why we were created in the first place, and how that’s going to translate into the success for the province as we go forward.”
He noted that the Saskatchewan Party was founded by Conservatives and Liberals, and those individuals were all fiscal conservatives who made decisions with a social conscience.
“That’s what we’re hearing that we really need to open up the flaps of the tent a little wider and make sure that we can get as many people in there as we can. And I think the more people we attract to the centre, I think that the better off the party’s going to be, the better off the province will be.”
Wyant was first elected during a 2010 by-election, and was re-elected in 2011 and 2016. He has served as Deputy House Leader and was the Minister of Justice and Attorney General when he entered the leadership race.
He noted the leadership race also provides the party an opportunity to reconnect with the public.
“We want to get around the province and we want to start listening to people. I think one of the things that the Party, and perhaps after being in government for three terms, tends to get a little bit insular I think in terms of where the information’s coming from, what kind of discussions you’re having with the grassroots,” he said.
His campaign effort will see him visit every constituency across the province in order to better hear from party members.
“The way that we lead this Party forward in terms of that renewal is spending a lot of time listening, and that’s what we’re doing.”
He noted that after hearing loudly from the public they have taken some steps back from directions in the spring provincial budget.
“I think a lot of people are talking about some of the things that happened in the budget, and whether or not we paid enough attention to the consequences of some of the things we did through that budget,” he said.
“But we have to pay attention to the bottom line. We all have to live within our means. So the budget was intended to try to bring us back to a balance over a three year period. And we have to pay attention to that. But by the same token I think we have to be a little bit more careful in terms of what the consequences of our budget decisions have been and what they are going forward.”
“We’re going to have some things to say about where the Party needs to go from a policy perspective to make sure that we’re not leaving people behind. I think the sense is that we did leave a few people behind in this budget, and that’s not something that the Party’s been particularly known for. We’ve been very, very careful in terms of governing from the centre.”
One of Wyant’s early leadership campaign commitments was to launch a public inquiry into the Global Transportation Hub if he is elected leader.
“Once the RCMP have completed their investigation, to the extent that doesn’t address the issue, and I don’t believe it will address all the issues, that there needs to be an inquiry into the GTH so that we can satisfy the people of this province that there was no wrong doing. And if there was, that people are held responsible for that,” he explained.
“If there’s a cloud over the government, there’s a cloud over our Party with respect to the GTH, I’m a firm believer that that cloud needs to be removed.”
“I think the GTH is one of those things that we just need to get to the bottom of so that we satisfy the people of this province that there was no wrong doing. Or if there was something that went wrong, if there was processes or procedures, if there was incompetence, that we address that. Because we don’t want to see this happen again, and I think the people of this province will respect us for doing that.”