REGINA – New NDP Leader Cam Broten had his first opportunity to square off with Premier Brad Wall Monday afternoon. Broten lead off question period by saying the government refuses to admit when it makes a mistake, pointing to the axing of the film employment tax credit, among other program cuts.
His first question period was just another step in what has been a whirlwind few days since taking over his party’s top job.
“It’s a mix of emotions,” Broten told reporters after question period. “It’s an honour to be given this responsibility from the membership and to work with colleagues, and it’s also a weight on one’s shoulders because we have a big job to do as the NDP.”
Broten wasted no time in putting his stamp on his caucus, shuffling the critic roles for the eight other MLA’s. It’s the type of move University of Regina Assistant Political Science Instructor Jim Farney says is a good first step in cementing his leadership.
“I think it really matters, kind of an immediacy, that ‘I am Cam Broten, leader of the opposition’,” Farney said. “As leader of the party, especially given how close the race is, I think a ‘I’m listening, I’m hearing different currents, I will be a conciliatory sort of figure’ I think is probably more the way to go.”
Defining yourself as a leader is always tricky, but it’s made even harder in politics when you have an opposition attempting to do the same thing, and Premier Brad Wall wasted no time in trying to define his new adversary, linking him with Dwain Lingenfelter and the failed 2011 election campaign.
“The architect of Lingenfelter’s platform is the new leader of the NDP,” said Wall. “He wrote the policy book, the policy book informed the platform, and as (former NDP leadership candidate) Erin Weir pointed out, his leadership platform looked exactly like their previous policies.”
Broten says he knew those attacks were coming, and it will be his job and the job of the entire party to define what the NDP wants to be, and who is he as its leader.
“I’m Cam Broten, and I’ve been an MLA for one full term. This is my second term, and I want to get to know Saskatchewan people even better.”