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Monday, June 08, 2009 

Saskatchewan New Democrats Now Roll Up Their Sleeves And Get Down To Work

After facing what I will call 'tepid' opposition since they were elected in 2007, Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party government is now going to get what they asked for ... a New Democratic Opposition led by Dwain Lingenfelter.

And serious opposition is what Mr. Wall and Co. needs. Let me illustrate. During this last winter, Saskatchewan businesses and residents paid the highest natural gas rates in Canada due to the sheer incompetence of the Wall government locking us in at record high prices. As a result. the province that produces most of Canada's natural gas was paying more than anyone else to heat their homes and businesses. The free ride is over and Mr. Wall is now going to face some serious opposition.

But first things first. Mr. Lingenfelter will have to name a new Deputy Leader of the Party as well as an acting Leader of the Official Opposition to act on Legislative matters until he can take a seat in the Assembly. Critic responsibilities will need to be reviewed and there may be some shuffle of duties.

Brad Wall has instituted Reform Party style 'fixed election dates' in Saskatchewan and the next one is 882 days from now. Mr. Wall is going to regret that he ever wanted Mr. Lingenfelter to lead the Saskatchewan New Democrats!

Final thoughts:
The media (and certain others) are trying to make a big deal out of what they claim are divisions and challenges that the NDP faces after Mr. Lingenfelter's 'narrow' win over Meili by 55% to 45%. For the record, during the 1991 leadership race, Calvert defeated Axworthy by a margin of 57% to 43% on the final ballot. The NDP went on to a resounding win over the Sask Party in 2003 ... there were no damaging 'divisions'. Leave that nonsense to right wing apologists at the Regina Leader Post like James Woods.

Fair point. But let us also remember the leadership style of Calvert. Calvert was an inclusive leader, he didn't lock MLA's out of cabinet for philisophical disagreements, he didn't run the party with an iron fist. If Link wants healing to happen he needs to reach out to the grassroots and the "anti-nukes" and make compromises. He needs to appeal the the entire party not just the right side of the party. So yes, Calvert won a close leadership, but he worked hard to unite everyone, I should hope Link does the same, or the party will be ripped apart.

-Lingenfelter believes in publically funded health care - Brad Wall likes a highly involved private sector model

-Lingenfelter believes in the Crown Corps - Wall would sell them off if he could, but knows he has to do it carefully, quietly and incrementally

-Lingenfelter believes in a balanced economy with public enterprise, private enterprise and cooperative enterprise - Wall is an 'unfettered free market' guy

-Lingenfelter believes in the Trade Union movement - Wall would destroy it if he could

-Lingenfelter believes in a balanced society with a government that reflects it - Wall believes that Private Enterprise should run the policy of government.

The things that tie you and I and Mr. Lingenfelter together as New Democrats are stronger than any differences that we may have that could tear us apart.

With the nomination of Will Olive to be one of the VPs of the party by nominator Noah Evanchuk who was a key advisor to Meili; it is a sign that what natural divisions occurred during the leadership race are going away. Lingenfelter advisor Allison Nystrom also nominated Dion Tchorzewski during council to serve on the executive. These events are not automatically going to unite the party but they are a sign that all sides are coming together as one united party. Sunnyside is right in stating Lingenfelter is going to have to reach out and I believe the events which occurred on Sunday are a sign that Lingenfelter is reaching out and is receiving positive responses.

I do hope you were at the Convention this weekend, and you did get the chance to hear all of the speeches from the leadership candidates.

The theme I got from the other 3 candidates was about the party heirachy and renewal. That renewal should happen from the ground up, from the members, and that the members should have the opportunity to set policy, and vote on the policy. To me this is the essence of Democracy inside the party, and is why I am involved in the NDP.

The Fear you are trying to sell about Wall didn't work in the last election, the same bag of tricks from years gone by won't get the NDP back in power either. By same old bag of tricks, I mean making Wall out to be some sort of boogey man, as one who will destroy Pubic Health care, unions, and the Crowns. What I am talking about is at the heart of the party, that is Democracy, and grassroots involvement. Those who pay their do's, take their weekend off, and spend their money to attened Convention, and help write resolutions, and vote on resolutions, do not appreciate being told by the leader that those resolutions don't matter anymore, we have a new leader.

Yes, perhaps we can find common ground and admit we do want to get back into power, but it doesn't mean that the party or its members have to sell its soul. I would much rather be a proud New Democrat that proudly follows the party consitution of its members as a collective. I would much rather be part of a party that listens to its members and creates new and innovative ideas, rather than motivate its members through fear tactics such as privatization. We don't have to sacrife our values as New Democrats to win, and if we do, I am afraid winning won't be much fun, or worth the price.

I will end my rant here,and hope you understand what I have said, as I spoke from my heart about what this party means to me, and where I think it should go. I won't call you more or less or more "real" of a New Democrat than myself.

The leader clearly stated resolutions do matter and the media reports with the exception of the one which misquoted the leader back that up.

"The Fear you are trying to sell about Wall didn't work in the last election, the same bag of tricks from years gone by won't get the NDP back in power either." Sunnyside, the reason that the NDP lost the last election was because they had been in power for 16 years! Four terms! In Canadian politics, that is very hard to achieve. Big money out of Alberta plus the fact that most of the major media outlets backed 'change' made it hard for Calvert to win again. So I don't agree with you entirely.

The things I mentioned earlier are critical for all New Democrats. Mr. Wall and his party, believe in 'unfettered free market economies'. This is the very same ideology that has destroyed the world economy aka 'George Bush' style economics. That is not scare tactics, that is the reality. The collapse of the world financial system has largely left us here only mildly affected, but that has NOTHING to do with Wall, it has everything to do with the kind of economy that we have built here in Saskatchewan for years.

I value your opinion. I know you value mine!

John - Noah Evanchuk, Dion Tchorzewski and others are not only the future of the New Democratic Party that I keep referring to - they are the 'NOW' of the Party! Meili was the catalyst around which they and many other bright lights of the party gathered. I am on record as saying that the Sask Party should sit up and pay attention to the new gen New Dems who have made their voices heard during this leadership.

We are in great shape now and into the future. Because of that, we can say the same about Saskatchewan.

Pardon me for being stuck on the same theme, but what Ryan Meili did this morning has got me going. When Doctor Meili chose not to seek the nomination in Saskatoon Riversdale because he did not feel it would be right to go against Danielle Chartier, he displace incredible class. People generally view Brad Wall as having that same class. (I know you would argue that Brad Wall doesn't have any class, that's why I said "view" rather than outright stating that Premier Wall is a class act all the way, but people do like Wall, a lot, so go with me on this) If the NDP want to over through the Saskatchewan Party government they will need a leader that people view as classy as Premier Wall. Meili has that class. In spades, as they say. Pedersen does too. Link has more baggage than Air Canada. He's on wife number 3! Not to mention that Channel Lake and Spudco are now both in play.

Just my thoughts, good luck in Nova Scotia!


I have to disagree with you on your comparison of this leadership convention having any similarities with 2001.

In 2001, Calvert was seen as the left-of-centre compromise candidate bringing the Wiebe, Sonntag and Crofford camps together to defeat the right-of-centre Axworthy.

This time round - all left-of-centre camps swung heavily behind Meili leaving the right-of-centre Lingenfelter camp solid but failing to draw in very many supporters from the other camps.

Furthermore, one of the failures of the Calvert years was although much needed renewal in the caucus, party and policy was promised, it never actually happened. Now, ten years later, many party members are not willing to wait for progressive change any longer.

The bottom line is no one in the province - other than a handful of those who lost their jobs at the Leg when the government changed - is all that afraid of Brad Wall right now because, aside from labour legislation, you or anyone else on this blog can't name anything that his government has done differently than the NDP since they achieved power. Even in terms of the labour legislation, it is not exactly like the NDP caucus has taken a strong stand and said they would withdraw essential services if in power.

Telling people what Brad might do or what we think he might do won't cut it anymore. It worked in one election but saying it over and over again just makes us look desperate.

Party members and people in the province want to know what progressive things an NDP government would do if elected, not just hypothetical things they would try to stop.

Link has been democratically elected by the party membership and we must all now respect that. As part of his new role, he as incredible opportunity to put the leadership campaign behind him, be the bigger person and bring all sides together by refashioning a younger, more progressive caucus and party, regardless of what his own personal views may be.

As leader, he needs to take the initiative to seize this opportunity though as it certainly won't last long.

Hunter .. I raised ONE comparison between the 2001 and 2009 versions of the leadership.

After hearing over and over from James Woods and Murray Mandryk that Lingenfelter was leading a 'fractured' and 'disunited' NDP by virtue of the fact that he won ONLY 55% compared to Meili's massive 45%, I drew one and only one comparison to 2001 which was that the winner then garnered 57% versus 43%!

I raised it only to try and dispel the ongoing bleating by MSM opponents of the Sask NDP that our Party is being held together by scotch tape and bubble gum.

Okay, fair enough leftdog.

If our party disagrees, at least we can agree to disagree. As opposed to the Saskies which consists of a core of about 10 with the rest being a bunch of 20-year-old walk ons who now find themselves employed at the Leg.

I also found it kind of amusing that Mandryk kept saying there was no interest in the NDP leadership campaign as he was writing columns about it everyday. Does anyone remember how much interest Brad's 2004 coronation garnered? Not much.

Fact of the matter is, as much as they would never admit it, the press core finds the Saskies quite boring and found it much more enjoyable and interesting with the NDP in power.

If Link can ignite the progressive forces in the NDP that have been inspired by the Meili campaign, Brad and his troop of 10 will be indeed no match.

The Leader Post and Star Phoenix have a editorial policy that favours Stephen Harper and Brad Wall. Those who write for these MSM rags follow the wishes of their owner and slam the Sask NDP every chance they get. It has always been so.

To make my point again, (on 55%/45% and 57%/43%) - here is what Les MacPherson with the Star Phoenix writes today in an attempt of continue describing our party as about to completely collapse:

"Deep, sulfurous fissures within the NDP are another impediment to Lingenfelter's ambitions. Almost unbelievably, 45 per cent of New Democrats, including quite a few party stalwarts, preferred Ryan Meili."

Well with CanWest continuing its slow path to death, I do imagine some reporters are attempting to find employment elsewhere. And lucky for some at the leader post and star phoenix that means sucking up to a potential employer every time they write an article.

Just look at Mandryk praising the 2,000 leaders dinner the SP had as a major sign of a shift in politics. Well only giving a small mention to the fact a large number of those in attendance had to be flown in. Not much of a shift when a large number of the 2,000 attendees had to be flown in from Alberta.

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