A second hopeful has announced intentions to become the next leader of the Saskatchewan NDP.
Kaitlyn Harvey, a self-described “Métis lawyer, community organizer and climate justice activist,” announced her candidacy campaign Tuesday morning ahead of a leadership convention planned for June 26 in Regina.
“We’ve got two years before the next election and I can use that time to do the hard work that our party needs to do to,” Harvey told reporters, after opening remarks expressing support for investment in harm reduction, pursuit of reconciliation and action on climate change.
Harvey added that a failed 2020 campaign to become an NDP MLA for Saskatoon Willowgrove allowed her to engage with voters, experience she says will help her win a seat the next time Saskatchewan heads to the polls.
“In the next election, I will get a seat and a lot more NDP candidates will get a seat.”
At her campaign announcement at Federation Des Francophones De Saskatoon, Harvey told the supporters she was inspired to run after the recent death of her cousin in the Prince Albert Penitentiary.
“It was not something on my immediate agenda, to run,” she said, fighting back tears as she told Brendan Vermette’s story.
“I just needed to take this step forward because I didn’t really feel much choice.”
She called the death a “tragic end to a life full of more tragedy and heartbreak than it ought to have been” and said she sees further action on harm reduction as necessary to prevent others from meeting the same fate.
“Brendan isn’t the first relative of mine who passed away for reasons that could have been avoided and he may not be the last,” she said.
“But the day I found out he died of a drug overdose in the PA pen was the day I decided I could not be silent anymore.”
In February Interim Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili announced intentions to resign as head of the party after the spring sitting.
The only other person to announce their candidacy, Regina Lakeview NDP MLA Carla Beck, took to Twitter Tuesday morning to welcome Harvey to the race.
Beck has so far been endorsed by several sitting NDP MLAs, including Trent Wotherspoon and Nicole Sarauer.
Harvey has not yet officially entered the race, according to Saskatchewan NDP Party Secretary Tim Williams.
Saskatchewan NDP leadership candidates must receive party approval before running by being a member of the party in “good standing,” gather at least 100 signatures from party members, provide a registration fee of $4,000, and limit campaign expenditures to $200,000 or less.
The deadline to meet that criteria is April 29.
The leadership convention will take place at the Delta Hotel in Regina, where party members will be able to cast their votes in-person. Mail-in and digital voting will also be available.
Members must be registered by May 6 in order to vote in the leadership election.