You walk into a room and what you hear over the course of a couple hours is loud music, thundersticks, cheering and applauding. It sounds like you’re seated at Mosaic Stadium to catch the Saskatchewan Roughriders in action, doesn’t it?
However the atmosphere being described here is what was experienced at the Saskatchewan Party’s convention on Saturday at the Queensbury Convention Centre in Regina.
An energetic crowd took in the final gathering ahead of their campaigning run for the 2020 provincial election expected to take place a year from now.
During the convention’s afternoon agenda, each candidate running in the election was introduced on stage by James Thorsteinson, president of the Sask. Party. Premier Scott Moe was the last member of the team to be introduced while receiving a standing ovation from the audience before his keynote.
While addressing his colleagues and supporters, Moe discussed the importance of working harder than the other candidates over the coming months in order to have a successful election next year. He talked about an emphasis on winning battles in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.
The premier said urban seats will be a focus for his party since there is “room for growth”.
“We will be going on the doorsteps listening to people, listening to what’s important to people not only in our urban centres, but across the province. But we’ll most certainly be spending time in those centres,” he said to reporters.
On the subject of growth, Premier Moe mentioned how they’ll be putting out a platform geared towards growing far beyond the next election.
He explained how his government has been able to reach many of their targets, and now it’s time to refocus with an expanding and diversifying economy.
“We’ll be putting forward a platform that I think will resonate with all of the people of Saskatchewan.”
‘We feel that is a fair offer’
Thousands of workers were on strike in downtown Regina during the Sask. Party’s gathering on Saturday as negotiations remain stalled between the sides.
Before the weekend, finance minister Donna Harpauer released a statement via a government email stating the government’s appreciation of crown employers and essential employees who are working together to ensure that essential services remain in place during the strike.
She added that the government believes their offer of five per cent over five years “respects the hard work of crown employees while balancing the fiscal reality of our province”.
Premier Moe, who is in agreement with the statement, said they hope everyone can be back at the bargaining table sooner rather than later.
“We represent the people that are receiving the services from these public sector utilities, but we also represent the people that are on the lines. They are friends of ours in many cases,” stated Moe. “The best agreements always happen at the bargaining table.”
When asked why it’s appropriate for him to leave for an upcoming 11-day trade mission to South Korea and Japan during this massive strike, he responded by saying they have a number of capable and competent ministers that are involved with the Crown corporations during his absence.
He clarified that trade and export values are what drive the economy of the province, allowing residents to have services and enjoy goods.
“[This trip] has been in the works and a lot of effort has been put into the meetings that we’ll be attending with respect to those countries,” added Moe. “We should never take our eye off not only our trade relationships, but our market access in countries abroad.”
This will be the premier’s first time to either country. He will also be making a stop in Hong Kong to meet investors.