Sask. NDP to move beyond criticizing

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Kent E. Peterson
Business Manager

The Saskatchewan New Democratic Party has been occupying the opposition benches in the Legislature since November of 2007 – after a 16-year run of being in government. The roles and responsibilities of the Official Opposition are to contest, question, and criticize the government. In this case, Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party government has spent three years on the receiving end of seemingly endless NDP opposition. The NDP’s tactics have generally not played well in the media, and polls indicate voters are not happy with the so-called “natural governing party.” However, as the 2011 provincial election draws nearer, NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter wants to change his party’s image.

Lingenfelter is excited for the conclusion of his party’s policy renewal process, which has been holding meetings in communities throughout Saskatchewan. Lingenfelter hopes solid ideas will be developed at the party’s March convention, allowing the NDP to start focusing on positive alternatives to the governing Sask. Party.

“I’m looking forward to the release of our policy document and our platform so that Saskatchewan people can view our positive solutions and working alternatives,” Lingenfelter said. “From there we can move from being opposition critics to start laying out positive alternatives.”

The Sask. NDP leader thinks that delegates at the March convention will present popular ideas on issues such as rural living, the environment, poverty reduction, affordable housing, post-secondary education, and childcare. “[The Sask. NDP] will have the best policy and the best programs for families in Saskatchewan,” Lingenfelter said.

In addition to province-wide policy meetings hosted by the party, Lingenfelter himself has been visiting voters and listening to their concerns. “I’ve been out traveling the province, meeting constituents, listening to their needs, meeting with stakeholders in every area,” Lingenfelter said.

Lingenfelter maintains that there is plenty of time until the Nov. 7 election for his party to develop sound policy, and present it to voters. He believes that once the electorate sees his party’s vision for the future, they will support the NDP.

“Brad Wall will keep trying to skew public opinion numbers with attack ad campaigns like the ones the Republicans like to run in the United States,” Lingenfelter said. “That’s because he wants people to focus on spin instead of real issues like the ones we’ve been talking about.”

In conclusion, Lingenfelter offered a contrast between himself and Premier Brad Wall.

“I bring forth a record of success,” he said. “I’m a successful business leader with experience working around the world for major companies. I also have solid experience in government, having been trusted with important portfolios by great NDP leaders such as Allan Blakeney and Roy Romanow.” In the past, Lingenfelter has accused Brad Wall of being a failed businessman, even calling him, “the little thief from Swift Current” in the Legislature.

“I know what it takes to run a government … what it takes to listen … I think that’s what the people of Saskatchewan want,” noted Lingenfelter.

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