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Saturday, September 08, 2012 

Former Manitoba Premier Howard Pawley Endorses Erin Weir For Leader Of The Saskatchewan New Democrats

The race to elect a new leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party is officially underway.

First to toss his hat into the ring was Saskatoon NDP MLA Cam Broten. Broten is the Member of the Legislature for Saskatoon Massey Place Constituency and is critic for Health, Seniors, Advanced Education, Employment and Immigration with the NDP Caucus.

Next into the race is Erin Weir, economist and president of the Progressive Economics Forum. Weir served as economist for the United Steelworkers and is well known for his appearances on the Lang & O'Leary show on CBC as well as the many  op-eds that he has penned for a variety of media outlets.

Boosting the Weir campaign is an endorsement from former Manitoba NDP Premier, Howard Pawley, which appeared in the 'Letter to the Editor' section of today's Regina Leader-Post.

"I respectfully disagree with my fellow political scientists who suggest that one must sit in the legislature to lead New Democrats (NDP MLAs have head start - Sept. 1 Leader-Post). Three of the last six Saskatchewan CCF-NDP leaders, including Tommy Douglas, were not MLAs when elected leader.

Jack Layton had no seat when he won the leadership of a battered federal NDP in need of renewal, much like the Saskatchewan NDP today. A leader from outside caucus can focus on rebuilding the party, work that must be done outside the legislature.

In addition to this advantage, economist Erin Weir has been an active New Democrat for much longer than the other three prospective candidates named in the article. He represented the party in government caucus meetings (1998-2000), served as president of the Saskatchewan Young New Democrats (20002001) and ran in Wascana in 2004.

Ironically, the comment about MLA's having "higher recognition" was printed on a day when Weir was also quoted in The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star and another Leader-Post column. I got to know him through his frequent and articulate appearances in newspapers and on national TV.

My team won in Manitoba by developing a thoughtful and focused challenge to the Conservatives on economic issues. Weir has begun doing so in Saskatchewan through extensive media commentary on resource royalties, Dutch disease, the Nexen takeover, unemployment, and the minimum wage.

His commitment to progressive values, knowledge of public policy, and communication skills make him the best choice to lead Saskatchewan's NDP ."
Howard Pawley
(Pawley is a political science professor at the University of Windsor and was NDP premier of Manitoba 1981-1988).

Also expected to seek the leadership of the Saskatchewan NDP is Regina Rosemont MLA, Trent Wotherspoon and Saskatoon Physician, Dr. Ryan Meili.

You can follow more on the Sask NDP Leadership Race HERE.

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