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The province’s new premier was in Kindersley last week to support the Saskatchewan Party’s byelection candidate and to greet citizens.
Scott Moe, who won the party’s leadership race in January, replaced the popular Brad Wall as the province’s premier. Moe was in town on Feb. 23 and it was the first time a premier has been to Kindersley in years.
It was unclear just how long it has been since a premier was in Kindersley. People suggested that it might have been 20 years since a premier was in the community. A comment was heard that Wall came to Kindersley as the Sask. Party’s leader before the party first formed government in 2007.
A crowd of approximately 100 people showed up for a campaign event at the West Central Events Centre to support Ken Francis, the party’s candidate for the Kindersley byelection, and to meet the premier. The byelection will be held on Thursday.
Francis thanked the members of his campaign team and the volunteers who have helped out. He noted that the party has provided him with a lot of support and he appreciates all the help he has received. The candidate said he hopes to be working with Moe in Regina in March and he encouraged people to get out to vote.
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Moe was joined in Kindersley by Health Minister Jim Reiter, Justice Minister Don Morgan and Cypress Hills MLA Doug Steele. The premier spoke about the province’s export-based economy, job creation and the party’s accomplishments.
The premier said Saskatchewan is a strong province because of its people, so he thanked everybody at the event for the great work they do. He noted that during the leadership race, he was able to travel across the province to experience the strength of Saskatchewan’s communities and people. Moe asked for support for the party’s candidate.
In an interview, Moe said he had already made stops in the Melfort and Swift Current constituencies, where the two other byelections are taking place. The stop in Kindersley was his final one to support the byelection candidates.
Moe said he believes it is very important for the party to continue with the engagement that began with the leadership race. Moe made a stop in Kindersley during his campaign to become the party’s leader. He stressed the importance of getting out to vote on March 1 or during advanced polls.
The party embarked on a process to transition from Wall to the new premier. Moe said the transition has gone well and most aspects of the immediate transition have been completed since the end of January including a cabinet shuffle.
He noted that the government has started to get to work on its budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year, a budget set to be announced in the spring. He said one of his first duties after he was sworn in as premier was to call the three byelections, so he was excited to be in Kindersley to support Francis.
Moe said for him, it has been exciting and humbling to travel the province as premier. The process to elect a new leader benefitted the party and the leadership candidates and that process is playing out at the constituency level from the byelections, he said.
The engagement with Saskatchewan residents during the process was crucial as the government develops its next budget, the premier said. The party has heard what is important to people and the next budget will reflect that process.
“Last year’s budget was a difficult one,” Moe said. “We talked to people across the province. We’ve committed to some changes. I think we’ve already moved on a couple of those changes with respect to our supports for our classrooms and our next generation – our children – in the education sector. I think you’ll see us moving very shortly on some additional campaign commitments that we made.”
He referred to commitments to the province’s industries and to the removal of provincial sales tax (PST) on certain items such as insurance products. Moe said the government heard from people regarding the PST exemptions on insurance, and the message was loud and clear. The government set out a three-year plan in 2017 to return the budget to balance, and the upcoming budget will help to keep the province on track with its plan, he said.
Francis said it was fantastic for him to have the premier make a stop in Kindersley during the byelection. He added that Moe’s visit helps to raise awareness for the byelection and to stress the importance of getting out to vote.