Sask. NDP meet for first time since election defeat at annual convention

October 23, 2016 - 1:14pm Updated: October 23, 2016 - 6:52pm
Delegates gather at TCU Place to vote on policy resolutions for NDP party.
JT Marshall/650 CKOM
Delegates gather at TCU Place to vote on policy resolutions for NDP party.

No Leap Manifesto, no shutting down coal-fired power plants in the province, and no making illicit drugs legal.

That's the message the Saskatchewan NDP made at their annual convention Saturday as none of those policy resolutions that were pitched by members made it to the floor for voting.

"Those things don't affect people or their daily lives," said newly elected President Dave McGrane, who's a political science professor at the University of Saskatchewan. "Most of our members are worried about classrooms, health care, and about workers and workers rights."

Resolutions that passed focused on cracking down on impaired driving, not selling Sasktel, and putting stronger regulations on pipelines to move oil.

"Our delegates are focused on forming a government in 2020," McGrane said. "All these resolutions speak to issues that affect Saskatchewan families."

He said it's not the role of a provincial party to talk about international or national affairs.

"We need to talk about Saskatchewan issues, the federal NDP can focus on the other things."

But when McGrane was asked whether his party is moving more towards the centre on the political spectrum he replied nobody even knows what left and right means.

"As a political scientist, I do a lot of surveys on what those terms mean and nobody really understands them," he said. "I don't think left and right resonates with the Saskatchewan public."

Interim NDP leader speaks first time to membership.

It was the first time interim NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon addressed the membership.

It's been six months since the Saskatchewan Party won a huge majority and the focus of the speech was forming a government in 2020.

"We need to fight against a reckless sell-off of Sasktel, and cuts to the most vulnerable like mental health services and the Lighthouse," Wotherspoon said. "There is so much at stake right now and this government has been dishonest to the people on so many fronts."

NDP delegates want to go back to the glory days when they dominated government from 1991 to 2007.

"Our building matters and our voice matters," Wotherspoon said. "We are the party to be the voice for the voiceless and we need to fight for a future that everybody deserves."

The convention at TCU place wrapped up on Sunday afternoon.