A third candidate has entered the race to become the MLA for Saskatchewan Rivers in this fall’s provincial election.
On March 7 the PC Party of Saskatchewan nominated its deputy leader, Shaun Harris, to run in the riding. The NDP had previously nominated Lyle Whitefish, while the Sask. Party nominated incumbent MLA Nadine Wilson.
Harris characterized his party as an alternative to anyone tired of the same stories from the NDP and Saskatchewan Party.
“I work in this constituency daily,” Harris said in a phone interview Wednesday.
“Everywhere I go, whether it’s up north, trucking to the mines or logging sawmills, pulp mills in Meadow Lake, hauling grain — it doesn’t matter. Everyone is excited there is a third option and now a serious fourth option with the WEXIT party. They are sick of the same two old horses in the race.”
Harris said he’s the ideal candidate for the region because he works in the same industries that drive Saskatchewan Rivers. In addition to running a trucking and logging company, he’s a farmer and cattleman and has oil and gas holdings.
“People are starting to be sick of the fact that we’re not growing,” he said.
“provincially, as a whole, our economy is hurting. We keep hearing from the Sask. Party that our economy is growing — we all fail to see where it’s at.”
That’s especially true, he said, after stocks tumbled this week.
“I own a logging and trucking company and I‘m involved in oil and gas. In the last three days I’ve had probably 50 per cent of my work evaporate. It’s scary.”
He said the Sask. Party seems to not have a plan in place.
“I know as a logging business owner, forestry is struggling right now. We’ve seen many companies go under, many companies think about leaving the industry.”
Harris said the PC party of Saskatchewan has a plan to help get a deal in place to get the Prince Albert pulp mill going again.
‘As soon as the writ is dropped, we will release that plan,” he said.
He said that his trucks were the last two to run across the scale when it closed.
“A lot of jobs went away and they aren’t coming back,” he said.
“Agriculture-wise, commodity prices are dropping daily. We just seem to have no plan in place from anybody who is in power right now to deal with these problems. They’re always reactive instead of proactive. They never seem to have any vision or any intuition to know there are problems coming down the line.”
Harris also said the riding has suffered from a lack of representation. He cited the need for a second bridge for Prince Albert as one example.
“We’ve got 14,000 vehicles per day on average using that bridge, most of them coming from the Saskatchewan Rivers constituency to do business, to go to work, just something as simple as buying groceries,” he said.
“The current MLA there had no opinion to give, no nothing on the issue.
“There is no voice, no action. It’s like they don’t want to accomplish anything, and the NDP has been a very, very, very weak opposition.”
Harris said that, a few times, the Sask. Party has “run amok on their spending” and the opposition failed to “keep them in line.
“People are getting very sick of it,” he said. “There are a whole plethora of issues that need to be addressed and people are sick of not hearing any representation from that constituency at all.”
Harris is the first Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan nominee for the region. He said nominees for Prince Albert Carlton, Prince Albert Northcote and Batoche will be named shortly.