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Monday, January 28, 2013 

"We need to be able to engage the Sask Party on economic issues” - Erin Weir - Candidate for #skndpldr

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.

NDP leader candidate makes Border City stop 

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 that.
“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 about issues.”
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 University.
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.

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