Premier leadership candidate Gord Wyant made the trip from Regina to Maple Creek to attend SUMA and share a few words with attendees.
Wyant is one of the front-runners to become the province’s next premier. Wyant spoke with the News-Times about his plan to rebuild trust and bridge the gap between Regina and rural Saskatchewan. He says he understands the budget passed by his party might have upset Saskatchewanians, but, if elected, he promises to rebuild any trust that may have been lost.
“The thing that the party was really good at was talking to communities, talking to people, talking to organizations such as SUMA in an effort to find out what local issues are,” he said. “One of the plans in our campaign is to go out to communities and find out what the issues are. A policy that gets drafted in Regina has to be responsive to the people that it affects. I don’t think we’ve been as responsive as we could be and the last budget was a reflection of that.”
The Global Transportation Hub scandal is another issue Wyant sees leaving a dent in the party trust, and he says those who did wrong should be held accountable.
“There is a cloud over our government, and that needs to be cleared,” said Wyant. “The issue with the Global Transportation Hub is probably the most significant issue our party has had to deal with.
“I’ve called for a public inquiry as soon as the police have finished their investigations, we need to get to the bottom of it and clear the air. Once we get to the bottom of it and the facts are straight, I think that will help renew the people’s trust in our government.”
Wyant says rebuilding trust is going to be the biggest challenge for the new leader of the party. He says he will also continue to be very adamant, just like the party has, on the proposed federal taxes that are said to affect generational farmers and small businesses.
“The Federal Government talks about a tax on the rich, but this going to affect the middle class,” he said. “People that have invested in their businesses, intergenerational farming, it’s all going to be drastically affected, and we will continue to oppose that as a government.”
Wyant also commented on what to expect if he becomes the next premier. He says there will be strong leadership and support of the agricultural community.
“The agricultural industry is key to our economic success. So we need to ensure that we are drafting policy that is responsive to the needs of that industry,” he said.
Among the various other subjects covered at SUMA —which included environmental issues such as landfills, revenue sharing and a request that SUMA better address town concerns at a provincial level — towns also participated in sharing what they liked about their hometown.
The theme was “Hometown Proud,” and mayors along with councillors all took a moment to speak on what they liked about either the direction the town is going or certain things that had happened. Mayor Barry Rudd took a moment to address the progress of Maple Creek.
“We are starting to make small waves,” said Rudd in reference to the progress the town has made with the introduction of a new hotel, as well as the relationship with the RM and the work of the fire department.
SUMA is the collective voice for all Saskatchewan hometown communities and represents the interests of the members to other orders of government leading to improved local government and thriving sustainable communities.
NEWS PHOTO FACUNDO RODRIGUEZ
Sask. Party Leadership candidate Gord Wyant speaks to councillors and mayors during SUMA’s regional meeting. The Saskatoon Northwest MLA promises to help bridge the gap between rural Saskatchewan and Regina.