Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan Leader Ken Grey knows this campaign won’t be an easy one.
His party has not had an elected MLA in a quarter-century while the Saskatchewan Party held 51 of 61 seats at the conclusion of the last general election in 2016.
FULL COVERAGE: 2020 Saskatchewan Election
“The 1995 election — that was the last one that we elected anybody. And then, of course, we went into hiatus for that time period after the Sask Party and it was part of an agreement of the powers that be at the time to do that,” Grey said on Monday.
“The reason why we’re back is that there really is no conservative alternative in this province … for a fiscal conservative like myself, there’s no alternative.
“Right now, of course, the Sask Party’s the big kid on the block but we want to be able to provide folks with an alternative for a fiscally responsible small ‘c’ conservative government, or caucus anyhow, in the legislature. We may not form government this time with a number of candidates we have running, unfortunately, but we’re going to take that first step.”
Grey described the party’s 2020 election platform as having three prongs: personal freedoms, financial transparency and autonomy as well as bringing jobs back to Saskatchewan.
“(With) the personal freedom aspect … I get the sense in talking to folks that they just kind of feel that they’ve lost a bit over the years. We have less influence on our government … What we want to do is try to give some of that back and so we’ve instituted a few measures in our platform to do just that,” Grey said.
The PC Party is proposing a few measures to achieve this, including regularly allowing individuals to address the legislature on topics and recall legislation for MLAs.
“The way I envision (recall legislation) would actually call a byelection if it were to meet a particular threshold … if enough folks came in, said, ‘I’m not pleased with the effort of the MLA in this area,’ it would then go back to a byelection,” Grey said.
The second point Grey wants to raise is making the government more transparent about where finances are going and provincial autonomy.
“When we’re talking about provincial autonomy, we want to look at ways in which we can have more say in our own businesses and I’m thinking specifically about policing. A PC government would actually institute its own — our own — police force in Saskatchewan,” Grey said.
“And that’s mainly so that we can direct policing where we believe it is necessary and I think this is a big issue in rural Saskatchewan, which is seeing large gaps in policing over the years.”
Lastly, Grey intends to bring jobs back to the province by getting out of the New West Partnership, which was launched in 2010 between Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.
“What we have seen as a result of that policy is a number of, particularly in the construction trades industry, a number of … Saskatchewan companies being bypassed in favour of larger out-of-province firms,” Grey said.
“Now, we’re not saying that the municipality should not have that right to do those kinds of bids. What we’re saying is that it’s not right for the government of Saskatchewan to interfere in their governance processes by signing an agreement that requires them to do it.
“Also what we’re seeing is that in this day and age of COVID, when there’s been so many businesses in Saskatchewan impacted by the lockdown and by the reduction in business that resulted with COVID, that the government of Saskatchewan should, at least through this procurement process, put Saskatchewan businesses first.”
The PC Party had 18 candidates running in the 2016 election and last presented a full slate of 58 in 1995. As of Oct. 5, Grey estimated they’ll have roughly 35 candidates for the vote.
Saskatchewan’s 29th general election is scheduled to take place on Oct. 26.