Leadership debates typically show what candidates differ on, but that wasn’t really the case this weekend for the first Saskatchewan NDP leadership debate.
The Saskatchewan NDP Convention marked the first debate for candidates Trent Wotherspoon and Ryan Meili.
Both favour a made-in-Saskatchewan carbon tax solution and programs to create more work in the province, although they did diverge somewhat on Crown corporations.
“Let’s enact legislature there isn’t going to be any sell off of any ownership or wind down that has to go to the shareholders the people that own these corporations not a hand full folks in a Sask. Party cabinet,” Meili said.
“I’ve announced a policy here today… to lock those Crowns in full protection in our constitution by amending the Saskatchewan Act,” Wotherspoon said.
The candidates were asked five questions and five follow ups. The debate lasted for just over an hour, with the crowd involved and energized.
While both Meili and Wotherspoon appeared to have clear camps of support, many at the debate seemed to support both.
“I’ve had the experience serving as an MLA during tough times and also times where we also got a little bit of wind and momentum in our sales,” Wotherspoon said.
“I’m coming at things from a new angle, I’m fairly recently elected and I think that what people are looking for as they examine the NDP is they’re looking for a new approach,” Meili said.
For now, the campaign features the relative newcomer, and Saskatoon MLA Meili challenging longtime Regina MLA Wotherspoon.
Additional candidates have until Jan. 12 to enter the race. The Saskatchewan New Democrats will choose their new leader March 3rd.