The Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce (PSCC) hosted a Sask Party All Candidates Forum on Wednesday, August 21st at the Canalta Hotel in Martensville. This event gave those in attendance a chance to learn more about each candidate and pre-submit questions for the candidates. Candidates that attended the event included Bill Dyck, Bas Froese-Kooijenga, Terry Jenson, Abe Quiring, and Kevin Tooley. Doug Ramage, a Director with the PSCC, was the moderator.
The evening began with an opening statement from each candidate before moving into the question portion of the event. “It is through forums like this that candidates are provided with an opportunity to express their views openly so audience members can become better informed about their choices as elected officials,” Ramage explained.
A number of questions were asked to the candidates including how each candidate would help to see growth continue within the area. “What it comes down to, is that we need to put the basics in place for communities to do what they need to do to grow. Ultimately, it is all about efficiencies. If we work together, we are far better off. It is all about avoiding conflict and instead, working together as municipalities, which is important to the provincial economy,” Bas Froese-Kooijenga stated. Tooley spoke about the need for infrastructure. “As we know, this particular region has been one of the fastest growing regions in Canada. This will help to make sure that we have appropriate infrastructure in place to help us grow in numbers and will help this area contribute to those numbers.”
The next item up for discussion was regarding the environment and what plans are in place to help protect it. Candidates touched on the Made-in-Saskatchewan Climate Change Strategy that has been put in place, including the Prairie Resilience strategy plan. “I believe in Sask Made Solutions, but what irks me a bit is when people in big smoggy cities are setting the guidelines for our farming communities, and our areas here are doing as much as we can. There are many things that we are doing here and people in the big cities have no idea. They are setting the rules where I really believe we are capable of doing ourselves,” Bill Dyck said. Next Terry Jenson spoke on the subject and kept his thoughts on the matter quite clear. “Taxes bad; innovation good is where I come from. I think it is important that innovation comes way before taxes. When you start taxing the economy, it takes money out of possible ways of developing that innovation and implementing new strategies.”
In Saskatchewan, agriculture is a big part of our economy, so candidates were asked what their strategy would be to support it. “Agriculture is one of the leading industries and we need to work hard to keep our farmers viable and trade issues strong. When we look around our area, it is all about farming and we need to keep that strong and keep our trade with other countries strong. That is what puts food on our tables,” Abe Quiring said.
Another question asked about the balance of diverse interest between rural and urban municipalities. “Something the province likes to see is regional cooperation. We are doing it here on a voluntary basis and it is going amazingly well. What we are accomplishing here is quite special and it will be used as a model in other areas in the province, if not the country,” Froese-Kooijenga explained regarding the Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth (P4G) Regional Plan.
Candidates then had a chance to provide their thoughts on the biggest challenges facing this constituency and how to fix them, to which Dyck replied, “We have to keep up with what the demands are.” He then commented about infrastructure being needed, and more overpasses to increase transportation options in the area.
When asked about their vision for the constituency, Jenson stated, “Ultimately, I want the rest of the province to look at this constituency and think, ‘Wow, I want to be like them’ because they do things right. They think about things ahead of time, planning together and looking at all possible options in terms of development, agriculture and infrastructure.” Tooley noted that he could see this constituency become more than one constituency. “As the rapid growth and rapid population in this area happens, we are going to see it divide at some point and become more than one constituency.”
Near the end of the evening, candidates were asked why they decided to run in this election. “I love my province. I love Saskatchewan and this gives me a chance to have a voice,” Quiring stated.
To listen to the full forum, visit ‘Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce’ on Facebook to watch the video of the entire question period with the candidates. For more information on how you can become a Saskatchewan Party member and cast your vote as to who should be the new MLA for the Martensville-Warman constituency, visit www.saskparty.com/become_a_member. The deadline to become a member is August 29th at 4pm. There will be a nomination meeting held on September 5, 2019 at the Legends Centre in Warman.