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Tuesday, 02 October 2012 16:21

Sask. NDP leadership candidate visits Swift Current

Written by  Matthew Liebenberg
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Saskatchewan NDP leadership hopeful Trent Wotherspoon recently spent a day in Swift Current to talk to residents about his vision for the province.

The Regina Rosemont MLA, who was first elected to the Saskatchewan Legislature in the 2007 election, is one of four candidates who have entered the race to become the party’s new permanent leader.
Wotherspoon used his time in Swift Current on Sept. 25 to speak to business owners and to meet with party supporters during an afternoon coffee party. That evening he was able to interact with area residents who attended the NDP’s labour review consultation meeting in the city.
“What I’m letting them know is that we’re at a time of renewal as a party, that we’re going to work really hard to revitalize ourselves and to become relevant once again in the lives of Saskatchewan people,” he said.
“I had nothing, but an incredibly receptive response both from people and from business owners here in Swift Current.”
He has been criss-crossing the province since declaring his leadership intentions during a public rally on Sept. 14. His campaign theme — “Forward together” — will come up regularly during his discussions with people.
“When I talk about moving forward, it’s both as a party but then as a province,” he said.  “Making sure at a time of prosperity that we put the well being of Saskatchewan people and communities first.”
According to Wotherspoon it is important everyone should benefit from the good economic times in the province. He emphasized the NDP is working towards a fair, more prosperous Saskatchewan for all.
“Right now we see a government that has focused on growth for the sake of growth but hasn’t recognized that many are losing ground in their own economy,” he said. “Many in fact are struggling to find affordable housing.”
He considered it important the NDP reach out to rural voters during the party’s rebuilding process, both to reconnect with former rural supporters and to create new relationships.
“This isn't going to happen overnight, but I know renewal will only come to our party when we’ve renewed and rebuild relationships with rural Saskatchewan,” he said.
Wotherspoon is happy with the response he is receiving from people during his travels around the province.
“Members are really excited about seeing this building process occur and the public is actually very receptive to offering their ideas and are interested in how we're going to renew as a party as well,” he said.
The three other leadership contenders are Saskatoon MLA Cam Broten, Regina economist Erin Weir and Saskatoon physician Ryan Meili.
“We have a very strong group of candidates who have stepped forward who each brings specific skills,” Wotherspoon said. “My approach to leadership is that it's going to take all of us to do the meaningful building of purpose that we must.”
In addition to his own experience from working in education, community development and business as well as being a sitting MLA, he felt his leadership style will bring people together.
“We should be working to find common cause and what I know with all certainty is there's far more that unites us as a province than ever divide us,” he said. “It’s going to take all of us as a party to strengthen and renew, it’s going to take all of us in this province to fulfil the better, stronger future that we need to work towards.”

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