MLA Carla Beck made history by becoming the first female leader of the Saskatchewan NDP on Sunday at the Delta Hotel in Regina.
Beck secured 3,244 votes to Kaitlyn Harvey’s 1,492 in the leadership race, which was was prompted by incumbent leader Ryan Meili’s announcement that he would be stepping down. In June, he said that he would be leaving politics all together and resigned as MLA of Sasaktoon Meewasin on July 1.
“The only way I can thank you is to win back and take back this province for the people of Saskatchewan,” Beck said in her victory speech.
The NDP hasn’t always got things right, she said, but they “stand on the shoulders of giants” and owe it to the generations that come to get things done right now.
“If we tell our own stories and share our vision and fight for it, then we can win, then we can deliver the positive change, the future that we all want for our province, our kids and grandkids,” she said.
She received the support of six NDP caucus members and over a dozen former NDP MLAs.
Beck is the member of the legislative assembly for Regina Lakeview. She defeated Kaitlyn Harvey who is a Metis lawyer in Saskatoon.
In her campaign, Harvey pitched a focus on Saskatchewan’s climate change plan, an issue she said is being ignored by the provincial government and underplayed by Beck and her supporters.
She also asked party members to support a petition made by the Liberal leader Jeff Walters, who has called for an enquiry into the Saskatchewan government’s handling of the pandemic.
Beck says she is focused on rebuilding the party and finding “common ground” to create trust with voters.
“The premier’s unwillingness to look at some of the issues that are so plainly in front of us, you know, saying he doesn’t care about emissions, doing nothing about the mental health addiction, suicide crisis in this province, how our schools are being funded, how there are health-care centres that are closed due to lack of staffing all across this province. And it’s time that we had a government that took the calls, met with people and built those solutions.”
Ryan Meili said, “You might not necessarily think of social worker and politician as a natural fit but what she’s got is a real ability to do because of that background and of course, her time as an MLA and a school board trustee, is to connect with people. She really has that emotional intelligence.”
When asked about the seat in Sasaktoon Meewasin, Meili said it would mean trouble if the NDP loses it. “Nothing is a given, and especially with byelections when turnout can be so small.”
The byelection is expected before the end of the year.