REGINA – The Saskatchewan election is the home stretch, and over the final week of the 27-day campaign Global News will profile different political party leaders in the province.
READ MORE: Saskatchewan election enters home stretch
On Monday, Teri Fikowski sat down with Liberal Party leader Darrin Lamoureux to discuss his party’s platform and plans for the future.
Q: The Liberal Party has a full slate of candidates running, so what does that say about the political arena in Saskatchewan? Is it changing, are you hearing while door knocking that appetite for the Liberal Party?
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A: We’re hearing an appetite for change. They want a more legislative assembly that’s accountable to the people who are voting the MLA’s in. It’s not just the government that they’re looking at as a form of replacing but they’re also looking at the opposition. You know, the opposition is responsible to hold the government accountable and what we’re hearing at the door is, ‘why wasn’t this brought up before with the GTH (Global Transportation Hub) land deal? Why wasn’t this brought up before with the amount of money spent on the Regina bypass?’ This is the issue we’re hearing at the door. It’s nice that people are doing something about it now but what was happening before it was being debated in the legislature?
Q: In your own words “the NDP has failed to hold the SaskParty accountable” for some of these times you’ve brought up. What would set yourself, your party, apart from the NDP and what would you do differently?
A: It’s our philosophy, it’s the way we look at spending money. We were lobbying in a Lloydminster by-election about why we aren’t building 9,000 senior care home units instead of [the] bypass around Regina? We actually believe in homes instead of highways. So, giving a different perspective before the money is allocated – that’s what we’ll bring to the legislature.
Q: What are the challenges campaigning against two dominant political parties?
A: What I would suggest is the fact that we made the wrong decision in 2011. We put our resources into one leader to get in him the legislature. It’s about brand and about having 61 candidates working hard, getting the message to the doors. This is the approach we’re taking this election is that we have 61 great candidates throughout Saskatchewan and they are working hard to get the Liberal message out.
Q: For someone who has maybe been tuned out of the campaign so far, what is the message you want to get out in that last seven days before voters head to the polls?
A: We’re talking about jobs, we’re talking about real change. We have the First Nations community that need employment around these communities. To set up a pipeline that is running throughout Saskatchewan is key to the development of Saskatchewan. You know eight people set up the Co-op Refinery and it employs 1,200 people today. We need more refinery jobs. If we can get five or six refineries you’re looking at 7,000 or 8,000 long-term jobs, but it’s the immediate impact on the economy today of actually getting that infrastructure in place to get up to the Port of Churchill. If we can accomplish the Port [of] Churchill, we can hit tidewater. That will bring investments in from private corporations to put the money that’s needed to invest into these refineries and create full-time long term jobs for Saskatchewan citizens. This is just one example of what the Saskatchewan Liberal Party wants to talk about when we get elected onto the Saskatchewan legislative floor.
Q: You have a background in construction, you’re husband to your wife Linda, and have two grown children. You’ve lived in Saskatchewan, BC, Manitoba. Why should people put their confidence in you to lead this party?
A: Sometimes for change you need perspective outside your province. Living in B.C. in the early 1990s and living in Manitoba in the early 2000s has given me the different perspective of what’s needed to have investment actually brought into your province. I don’t regret any of the moves I’ve made, but unfortunately, I did have to move in 1985 when there were no other opportunities for people like myself. There are many of my friends have moved to Calgary or Edmonton, and that’s why when the Roughriders play on away dates the stadium is full of ex-Saskatchewan people. It’s about creating the employment opportunities here. I don’t want my kids to move, I love my kids as every parent does and don’t want to have my grandparents in Calgary, Vancouver, or Edmonton. It’s important to me that there are jobs here and that’s why I took the year and a half off from construction to make sure this message got heard during this election.
Q: With the federal Liberals forming government, do you think that that’s created momentum on a provincial level?
A: Most definitely. It’s increased the exposure of what the Liberal brand is and explains to people what it is to be Liberal; that free enterprise with social conscious. From going from 35,000 voters in the last election to the 135,000 here in Saskatchewan shows the growth potential of the Liberal Party. This is one of the reasons we wanted to make sure 61 candidates were being run, is to allow every person in Saskatchewan has an opportunity to vote Liberal this election.
Full Coverage: Saskatchewan Election 2016