Leader to un­veil cli­mate change pol­icy, cam­paign plat­form at NDP con­ven­tion

Regina Leader-Post - - CITY + REGION - ALEX MACPHER­SON amacpher­son@post­media.com twit­ter.com/macpher­sona

SASKA­TOON A steady driz­zle fell from the slate-grey sky as the first Saskatchewan NDP mem­bers ar­rived at the party’s an­nual con­ven­tion, which is be­ing framed as a chance to pro­ject unity and ex­cite­ment ahead of the next elec­tion cam­paign.

Party of­fi­cials ex­pect about 400 peo­ple to show up at Saska­toon’s TCU Place for the three-day event, but only a few dozen had trick­led through the doors by the time the first panel talks got un­der­way Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Ryan Meili, who was elected to lead the party in March, is sched­uled to ad­dress the con­ven­tion Satur­day morn­ing — a speech he is ex­pected to use as an op­por­tu­nity to out­line some of his early cam­paign plat­form planks.

While the NDP has yet to re­lease a plat­form, it is un­der­stood that it will in­clude a $15-per-hour min­i­mum wage as well as a new re­new­able en­ergy and cli­mate change strat­egy that in­sid­ers be­gan hint­ing at ear­lier this week.

Speak­ing with re­porters, Meili re­fused to di­vulge spe­cific de­tails of the “made-in-saskatchewan plan” ex­cept to say it will be “more com­pre­hen­sive” than Saskpower’s cur­rent goal of dou­bling the province’s re­liance on re­new­ables by 2030.

“That’s, of course, only part of the over­all scheme: You do need to look at how we re­duce emis­sions among the high-emit­ting, emis­sions-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries within the province, as well as through­out the econ­omy.”

As Meili and other guests — in­clud­ing Al­berta En­vi­ron­ment Min­is­ter Shan­non Phillips and Cana­dian Fed­er­a­tion of Nurses Unions pres­i­dent Linda Si­las — de­liver speeches, party mem­bers will de­bate and vote on a grab bag of res­o­lu­tions.

Many are pre­dictable, in­clud­ing calls for a ju­di­cial in­quiry into the Global Trans­porta­tion Hub scan­dal, the abol­ish­ment of pay­day lenders, the re­ver­sal of Saskatchewan Party cuts to ed­u­ca­tion and the re-cre­ation of the Saskatchewan Trans­porta­tion Co.

A few ap­pear to un­der­score the party’s po­lit­i­cal re­al­ity, in­clud­ing a re­quest to rec­og­nize the agri­cul­ture and ru­ral life com­mit­tee as a for­mal wing of the party with the aim of win­ning ru­ral seats in 2020.

An­other sug­gests the party is in “limbo” and not “cre­at­ing di­rec­tion for its mem­bers and the gen­eral pub­lic,” and calls for the party brass to flesh out and pub­li­cize its poli­cies on a range of is­sues, such as ed­u­ca­tion, health care and the econ­omy.

One sim­ply calls for con­ci­sion: “Be it re­solved that res­o­lu­tions be writ­ten with­out pre­am­ble (‘whereas’) state­ments.”

The party is also set to elect a new pres­i­dent this week­end.

David Mc­grane, the Univer­sity of Saskatchewan pro­fes­sor who has held the post since late 2016, is not seek­ing re-elec­tion. In­stead, he is ex­pected to seek a nom­i­na­tion in an un­spec­i­fied Saska­toon con­stituency.

It was not clear Fri­day who will to re­place Mc­grane. Nom­i­na­tions for the job, which in­cludes re­spon­si­bil­ity for in­ter­nal gov­er­nance and the provin­cial coun­cil, close Satur­day af­ter­noon.

LIAM RICHARDS

Doyle Ver­mette, left, NDP for the north­ern rid­ing of Cum­ber­land, checks in at the 2018 Saskatchewan NDP Con­ven­tion at TCU Place on Fri­day.

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