March 2, 2018 7:46 pm
Updated: March 3, 2018 2:29 pm

Ryan Meili and Trent Wotherspoon make final push before NDP leadership vote

WATCH ABOVE: The Saskatchewan NDP will choose either Ryan Meili or Trent Wotherspoon as their new leader on Saturday. Ryan Kessler with a look at the two candidates.

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Ryan Meili and Trent Wotherspoon spent the last full day before the Saskatchewan NDP leadership convention shoring up support.

While visiting a Regina business Friday, Wotherspoon said he has several priorities if chosen by party members, but the New Democrats need to win the next provincial election first.

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“We need to lock down our Crown corporations. We need to build the best classrooms possible. We need to deliver universal mental health and addictions services,” Wotherspoon said.

The Regina Rosemont MLA is a former teacher and the more seasoned of the two candidates in the race, serving in the legislature since 2011.

Meili won the Saskatoon Meewasin byelection in March 2017 after two failed leadership bids.

If chosen by party members, Meili said his priorities include preparing MLAs for the upcoming session.

“We need to start talking more about what the NDP is able to do. It’s not enough for us to talk about what we’re fighting against,” said Meili, whose work experience includes being a family doctor.

Through several debates, it was clear the candidates agree with each other on almost every topic and the race could come down to which person members like more.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said he’ll likely have some disagreements with the next leader, but welcomed them nonetheless.

“I don’t have a say in it. There will be a few people in the province who will and we wish them all the best,” Moe said.

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Roughly 13,400 members are eligible to vote to select the next leader – many of whom have already voted online, said Saskatchewan NDP president David McGrane.

Neither campaign would say how many memberships they sold, only stating the figure was in the thousands.

Despite seeing the Sask. Party hold power since 2007, McGrane said the NDP isn’t having an “identity crisis.”

“We’ve had a couple bad elections, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ve changed our values or changed our ideas,” McGrane said.

The NDP leadership convention runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. CT on Saturday in Regina.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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