Wednesday, 13 April 2016 14:10

Speculation swings from Riders to politics

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Sports coverage these days is such that watching the previews, the analysis and the debates amongst the pundits is almost more interesting than the games.

In Saskatchewan for instance, the amount of talk focusing on the beloved Roughriders with all new coaches, a slew of new players and new-lauded management is infinite. Speculation and opinion swapping is a sport in itself.
However, there’s a new sport in town: it’s called “Pick a New Leader.” Two of the most high profile positions in Swift Current have the spotlight shining on them.
On Tuesday,  Jerrod Schafer announced he was stepping away from City Hall and not running again for re-election after two stints as city councillor and twice elected mayor.
Schafer has had a few critics, but generally speaking, he’s been a popular civic politician. Being the spokesperson with the City’s deft handling of the infamous rat problem in the city (who can forget the citizens’ slapshots of the rodents against walls of businesses?) really brought him to the provincial and urban forefront. He was also leader of a city which introduced the Safe Places Initiative which followed the Graham James/Sheldon Kennedy situation; there were road and overpass construction projects and infrastructure improvements during his tenure, as well as a new hospital and school. He was also mayor as two world women’s curling championships were in the city, and major upgrades to the city’s largest arena including adding the Sask. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Undoubtedly, Swift Current has a higher profile now than in years’ past.
Sure, the critics will point to the city’s debt and hikes in taxes  — which the City says are still the lowest amongst Sask. cities — and perhaps the perceived tenuous relationship with those at the R.M. of Swift Current.
These issues of course will now fall on the shoulders of whomever wants to run for the leadership. Coffee row in Swift Current will be buzzing as talk will steer towards who will run for the job. There are already names out there, but when push comes to shove, it will be interesting to see who actually files papers.
Speculation is unfolding as we speak no doubt.
There is also a lot of musing about the future of both provincial parties’ leadership status. Yes, both.
Swift Current MLA and Premier Brad Wall is continually being asked about whether or not he’s throwing his hat into the federal Progressive Conservative leadership ring. The election of a new leader doesn’t take place until May 27, 2017, but there are those who think Wall will/should run despite his continued public declines.
Until the leadership convention happens, conservatives will be constantly speculation on ‘will he or won’t he?’
The Sask. Party’s opposition, the New Democrats, are under the microscope as well. With the maybe-not-so-unexpected announcement of Cam Broten resigning, there is the wondering of the future of the Saskatchewan NDP’s leadership.
Now before people start throwing dirt on the Saskatchewan NDP, don’t hold your breath on the rise of the Saskatchewan Liberals, Victor Lau’s Green Party or the Progressive Conservative who are around thanks to Rick Swenson. However there shouldn’t be any lack of speculation on who may take a run at it. Names such as Regina’s Erin Weir and Trent Wotherspoon come to mind. How about Shaunavon native Dwain Lingenfelter coming back?
Have fun speculating. Just don’t forget about the Riders during your coffee breaks.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor