Is a Sask. Party shift on the way?
REGINA – First, Saskatchewan Finance Minister Ken Krawetz said he would step aside in the spring of 2016.
Two days later, it was social services minister June Draude.
The common tie is they’re all past members of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party. Krawetz, Draude and Bjornerud left the Liberals to help form the now-governing Sask. Party.
“The question is, whether those voices get entirely left out of the party going forward,” said Tom McIntosh, a political scientist at the University of Regina.
The foursome has been regarded as the more moderate faction of the right-of-centre Sask. Party. Premier Brad Wall says those voices have made their mark on policy and won’t be forgotten.
“We’ll miss them after the next election,” Wall said after the spring session ended on Thursday.
“They’re not part of caucus, but the lasting legacy is that is our prime directive. That’s in our DNA and that’s not going to change.”
In 2003, NDP leader Lorne Calvert painted the Sask. Party as dangerous – and a right-wing threat. He did win the NDP a fourth term in office, but by the next election, the Sask. Party under Brad Wall drifted closer to centre.
“Wall has been very successful in re-shaping the image of the party. He should think twice about changing that,” McIntosh said.
If the moderate voices were to begin falling on deaf ears of the Sask. Party executive, the Saskatchewan Liberals believe those voices may come back to the party – even though they’ve been shut out of the legislature for more than a decade.
“With those Liberal influences on the last six, seven years on policy, we can see what a Liberal has been able to accomplish within government,” said interim Liberal leader Darrin Lamoureux.
Though it could only be four MLAs deciding it’s time to move on – observers suggest, if the exodus continues, it may be a sign of change over the province’s political landscape.