By Kenneth Brown
The Kindersley Clarion
In the run-up to the provincial NDP leadership race, leadership candidate Saskatoon Meewasin MLA Ryan Meili paid a visit to Kindersley with four of the NDP’s summer students.
Meili, a family physician who was first elected back in March in a byelection, announced his candidacy for the NDP leadership in May. He ran for the party’s leadership in 2009 and in 2013, finishing second both times, to Dwain Lingenfelter in 2009 and Cam Broten in 2013, when he lost by only 44 votes even though he didn’t have a seat in the legislature either time.
But now, with two second-place finishes behind him, and with a seat in the legislature, he said, “I think the chances are very strong.” Meili said he received a strong response in the previous two leadership races and he believes there’s an appetite for change within the party, so his hopes are high for the race.
Meili and the summer students were in town on Aug. 24 to collect signatures for two petitions – one against cuts to the education system and another opposing the sale of the province’s Crown corporations – and to speak with community members. The NDP leadership candidate also met with local NDP members during lunch.
Meili said the students asked him to join them in Kindersley and he saw it as an opportunity to meet with local people who have been involved with the party for years.
Meili noted that he’s been involved in politics for a long time, but it was nice to take the plunge and gain the experience of being in the legislature. He added that the byelection in March was also an opportunity for the party to test how people are responding to the Saskatchewan Party’s current mandate and fiscal situation.
The NDP leadership convention will take place on May 6, 2018, in Regina.
Meili said the party’s approach in the 2011 and 2016 elections didn’t highlight an appetite for change.
“We didn’t do enough to make it clear what our vision was,” the MLA said. “It was about a strong critique of the Saskatchewan Party, but not necessarily a clear indication of how we were different and what we’d be able to achieve.”
He hopes to see a desire to inspire and excite people among the party’s leadership candidates at the convention. Meili said it’s an interesting time for politics in Saskatchewan, with the only two parties in the legislature both holding leadership races.
Meili, who was raised on a farm in the Moose Jaw area, added that the focus for the NDP heading into the next election will be on improving the quality of life for every resident of Saskatchewan.
© Kindersley Clarion