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Search for a new leader begins for Saskatchewan NDP

Click to play video: 'Search  begins for new Saskatchewan NDP leader' Search begins for new Saskatchewan NDP leader
WATCH: With Ryan Meili announcing he will be stepping down as Saskatchewan NDP leader once a replacement for him is picked, the NDP has started the search for a new leader – Feb 21, 2022

The Saskatchewan NDP is looking for a new leader with Ryan Meili announcing his plans to step down from the position.

Meili believes the time is now for the party to go in a new direction and have a new voice.

“We need a new leader who can articulate what the version is after this, what have we learned from COVID-19, how can we plan a future that will make a difference for everyone,” Meili said.

Click to play video: 'Sask. Party’s surprise win in Athabasca may be a result of regional politics: USask prof' Sask. Party’s surprise win in Athabasca may be a result of regional politics: USask prof
Sask. Party’s surprise win in Athabasca may be a result of regional politics: USask prof – Feb 16, 2022

One prominent former MLA says the field is wide open.

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“I think if there was a person of Indigenous background or a woman that would offer a new perspective, it would also be highly valuable for the NDP party in my opinion,” said Buckley Belanger.

Another expert says it’s crucial for the NDP to improve their connection with rural Saskatchewan. Finding a means to connect with the rural sector of Saskatchewan will be key for the NDP come the next provincial election in 2024. Nearly 70 per cent of rural Saskatchewan voted for the Saskatchewan Party in the 2020 provincial election.

University of Saskatchewan public policy Prof. Ken Coates adds the party should consider all options in their search for a new leader and maybe surprise people.

“This is actually one where they are going to have to search to find someone. If we want to go further we will find someone who isn’t currently here.”

“Go off the grid and find someone that most people maybe don’t expect.”

Read more: Indigenous MLA decides against running for Sask. NDP leadership

Meili says he will help the new leader make the transition to take the NDP above and beyond where it has in the past.

“I want to make sure I am here to help. That we are able to truly establish that voice and version with a new face.”

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There is no timeline for when a new leader will be named at this point. Belanger says the new leader needs to be able to light a fire under the NDP caucus.

“It’s an incredible opportunity, a lot of sacrifices will be needed but that’s what it takes. They have to get tough and defend themselves,” said Belanger.

Read more: Sask. NDP asks for better cellphone coverage for First Nations

Coates says the NDP party should focus on a very important issue in the province right now.

“If the NDP seized onto one thing, it would be the revitalization of rural and small-town Saskatchewan would be very important. What is going to happen to the Kindersleys or the Yorktons of the world,” said Coates.

“Wouldn’t it be something if there was an Indigenous leader that came forward or one of the incredibly powerful and influential women to lead the NDP next, that would amazing, similar to what we saw in Manitoba,” added Coates.

Click to play video: 'USask public policy professor on future of Sask. NDP' USask public policy professor on future of Sask. NDP
USask public policy professor on future of Sask. NDP – Feb 22, 2022

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