Rob Norris says change is needed at Saskatoon city hall.
The former Saskatchewan Party MLA and cabinet minister said that is why he is running for mayor in the upcoming municipal election.
He officially entered the race on Thursday.
“Let’s be honest, it’s hard to objectively see the problems going on when you’ve been at city hall for almost 15 years,” said Norris, referring to current Mayor Charlie Clark, who was a councillor for 10 years before unseating Don Atchison in 2016 to become mayor.
“While my time as an MLA was invaluable, I’ve spent the last five years outside of government and been able to listen with my eyes wide open and see exactly what’s been going on. It’s time for someone with a fresh perspective in the mayor’s office.”
Clark has not yet announced whether he will seek re-election, saying he is focused on providing leadership to the city during a challenging period.
Norris said he has heard from people who have expressed concerns about a lack of accountability in the mayor’s office, neighbourhood safety and security and the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the city.
“People in Saskatoon are concerned about the city’s recovery after COVID-19: they are concerned about jobs and their family’s economic security; they’re concerned about paying for ever-increasing property taxes with no relief in sight; and they’re concerned about their personal safety and safety in their neighbourhoods,” he said in a statement.
“As mayor of Saskatoon, I will urgently work to help each and every person and family in this great city that we call home.”
He offered no policy positions, saying those will come at a later date.
Norris told Global News on Wednesday that he stands “shoulder to shoulder” with the Saskatoon Police Service over calls to defund the force.
“Let’s think about new training, let’s think about new recruitment activities, let’s think about new protocols,” he said, adding that conversations about the police having fewer resources send the wrong message.
“Our police services do a terrific job. They’re not perfect, but there is a real determined effort to help people,” he said.
Norris joins Jason Friesen in the race for the mayor’s chair.
Friesen was the first to announce his intention to seek the seat. The 39-year-old considers himself an underdog going into the election but is confident in his platform.
The municipal election is scheduled for Nov. 9, 2020.
— With files from Nathaniel Dove