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A great article from the Lloydminster, Saskatchewan 'Meridian Booster'. By my reckoning, economist Erin Weir continues to ask the hardest questions of any candidate in the Saskatchewan New Democrat leadership campaign. The governing Saskatchewan Party is led by Premier Brad Wall and boosted (to the point of embarrassment) by the province's major daily papers and other MSM outlets. Weir holds Wall's fiscal and natural resource policy under the microscope and it's not as rosy as the government or the press try to tell you it is.
A Saskatchewan NDP leadership candidate made a stop in Lloydminster last
week on his campaign to take the reigns of the provincial party.
Erin Weir, a Regina native, said he joined the leadership race because
he believes the Saskatchewan NDP needs to articulate an alternative
policy vision for the future, and he believes he is the one who can do
“In particular we need to be able to engage the Sask Party on economic
issues,” said Weir. “I don’t think anyone is likely to win a personality
contest against Brad Wall but I think we can win the battle of ideas by
staking out policy differences and engaging the Sask Party in a debate
Weir said that while there is going to be a huge challenge to rebuild
the party after the last election, it is an advantage to be someone
running from outside the current NDP caucus.
“It will allow me to be free to travel the province and lead that
renewal process,” said Weir, adding he would compare the Saskatchewan
NDP now, to the federal NDP about a decade ago. “Jack Layton sought the
leadership and one of the questions he faced was not having a seasoned
parliament but his answer was that he would make use of not being in the
house to tour the country and renew the federal NDP and we have seen
how well that worked. I have seen Jack Layton’s leadership of the
federal NDP as a model of what I would do provincially in Saskatchewan.”
Weir has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics, History and Political Sciences
from the University of Regina, a Master of Arts in History from the
University of Calgary and a Master of Public Administration from Queen’s
He started work as an economist in the federal public service sector
working with the treasury board secretary in the department of finance
and with the privy councils’ office then moved on to work as an
economist in the trade union movement first with the Canadian Labour
Congress and then with the United Steel Workers Union.
Weir said he has also worked with the International Trade Union Confederation.
He was elected to the legislative assembly advisory committee, which is a
group of party members chosen to represent party policies to caucus,
and served from 1998 to 2000.
He also served as president of the Saskatchewan Young New Democrats from
2000 to 2001 and ran as a federal NDP candidate in 2004.
If elected to lead the Saskatchewan NDP, Weir said he would focus on
collecting a better return from Saskatchewan’s non-renewable resources.
“Currently the provincial government is almost giving away resources to
encourage companies to dig them up as quickly as possible but the goal
should be to collect the best possible return for the people of
Saskatchewan for the resources,” said Weir. “I would focus on closing
loopholes in our resource royalty and tax structure that allows
companies to extract oil and potash without paying anything approaching
standard royalty and tax rates.”
Weir said Saskatchewan’s increasing population growth has put a strain
on infrastructure and services, which is one of the main reasons the
province needs to collect a better return for its resources.
He said as leader of the NDP he would also like to address the
affordable housing shortage and believes the government could play a
role in providing startup funding to housing cooperatives.
Growth has also led to a shortage of licensed childcare spaces, a
problem he would address by providing universally accessible childcare
for children between the ages of two and five.
He said establishing childcare in Saskatchewan schools would be a good
way to use established infrastructure and would help families who have
older children in the schools already.
Weir said he is opposed building a nuclear reactor in Saskatchewan and
is also opposed to the storage of nuclear waste in the province, adding
he believes those jurisdictions creating the nuclear waste should be
responsible for storing it.