By Craig Baird
With the announcement that long-time MLA Wayne Elhard would not be seeking re-election, many began speculating about who would replace him in the next election. Elhard, a well-liked politician in the area, served Cypress Hills constituents since 1999.
One individual putting his hat into the ring is the reeve of the RM of Gull Lake, Doug Steele.
Steele has served on the RM council for roughly two decades, and has spent the last 12 years as the director of Division 3 with the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities. This year, he also took over as vice president for the organization.
Steele currently lives in the Gull Lake area, where he operates a mixed cattle and grain farm with his wife Phyllis, on the family’s homestead. Steele has a long history with the grain industry, and has spent several years bringing up agricultural concerns on both a local and international level.
Now, the reeve feels the time is right to make a move into provincial politics.
“Wayne and I had many conversations over the past few years, so I am putting my name in the hat to run for the Saskatchewan Party nomination for Cypress. The party has come and asked if I would consider that thing thanks to my experience at the municipal level and with SARM. That should happen in the next little while.”
With his experience as reeve and with various political and provincial organizations, Steele is ready to move to the next level.
“Over the time being involved with municipal government, it has interested me. Over the last two terms, our province has changed. I have sat on the executive with the Cypress constituency and I have seen a lot of progress. Working with David Anderson to a certain extent and talking to him, and talking to Wayne, it is certainly something I would like to take a shot at,” Steele said. “They have mentioned to me to start getting out there and raising awareness about my nomination. Wayne and I have had discussions and he wondered what he was going to do, and I told him that if anyone else came up as an opening I would run, but I didn’t want to challenge him in his position.”
Hoping to succeed an MLA he greatly respects, Steele wanted to make sure that Elhard was not running before he ventured into provincial politics officially.
“My papers are in, but I didn’t feel that I wanted to challenge him,” Steele said. “I respect him and the time and effort he has put in for the area.”
An election call is expected for the fall of 2015 or the spring of 2016, depending when the federal election is called.