Beck kicks off NDP leadership campaign with stop in Prince Albert

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Carla Beck spoke to a crowd at the Spice Trail on Saturday about her campaign for leadership of the Saskatchewan NDP.

Regina Lakeview MLA Carla Beck kicked off her campaign to be the new leader of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party (NDP) with an event at the Spice Trail restaurant in Prince Albert on Saturday.

Beck was introduced by former Prince Albert Northcote MLA Nicole Rancourt who endorsed Beck for the role of leader.

Beck said that when she began her campaign soon after former leader Ryan Meili resigned and said her first job was to get around the province.

“I have told many people I am prepared to run the tires off my car getting out, doing outreach in communities because we do need to hear from people in communities like Prince Albert and right across this province and we need to bring people together, we need to invite people in and I know that so many people are looking for change. Our job is to show them that we are that change, that we can deliver the government of the people,” Beck said.

She explained that her first job was to listen to people and invite ideas to get back voters who haven’t voted for the NDP in a while,

“If you share our values and you want to find solutions for the problems that face this province. There is a place for you here in the Saskatchewan NDP,” Beck said.

Rancourt said that she endorsed Beck because of their friendship from being both elected in 2016 and she immediately became a proponent.

“Well as soon as I heard that Carla was going to run for leader I knew I wanted to support her because since I have known her in 2016 when we were newly elected I have seen how much of a leader she is and how she listens to people and has such a good background with her rural connections and her urban connections to be the leader that we need,” Rancourt said.

In her introductory speech Rancourt noted that Beck wanted to come to Prince Albert as soon as she announced her leadership run last week but timing and weather were a problem.

Rancourt and Beck also attended the Prince Albert Raiders game against the Saskatoon Blades.

So far Beck is the only announced candidate and expects more people to enter the race.

“We have built a very impressive team. I still fully expect that there may be someone else to get into the race. But regardless of that we are building it won’t slow down one way or another the work that we are doing,” Beck said.

Rancourt also expects more people to enter the race.

“We want to make sure that we have a leader that the whole party is going to be able to endorse and to get behind. And we are seeing that a lot of party members are excited to see Carla coming out and doing that. And like I said before she is the leader that we need to unify our party,” Rancourt said.

“If another person comes into the race that has a lot of positives as well because that generates more memberships within the party. And then it will bring out more ideas as well,” she added.

Beck said that her focuses on the race would include jobs and affordibility.
“We are hearing that from everyone. Coming out of the pandemic we are hearing a lot of concerns about mental health,” Beck said.

She also wants to heal the divisions that have been sown by the pandemic.

“I look around here and I know many of us found at Christmas time people had difficulty sitting down as a family at Christmas because there has been so much division. And the kind of division that we are seeing from this Scott Moe government, instead of looking for solutions and planing those divisions that is not the path we are taking we are looking to listen to people, to find solutions and to bring people together,” Beck said.

Beclk explained that she wants to find solutions rather than sow division.

“There are people in this province for sure who have done well under the Sask Party but that is an increasingly small number of the population. What we have seen is wages stagnating, economic opportunities haven’t been pursued by this government and more and more people are falling behind,”

She gave the example of the recent spike in gas prices and no solution offered by the government.

“ And when we ask them about these things, we ask what their solutions are, they point to Ottawa, they point to the NDP government in 2007 or 1991. People are tired of that people want solutions, they want their leaders to do more than just yell at each other, they want to build unity, they want to build a brighter future for this province and that is exactly what we are doing,” she said.

With larger needs such as a new bridge for Prince Albert and the Victoria Hospital expansion she said that none of the current Prince Albert MLAs have talked about these matters in the Legislature.

“ Prince Albert really provides services for the people of Prince Albert but also is really the gateway to the north. I have been on that bridge trying to get north in the summertime,” she saod.

“That is infrastructure that the people of Prince Albert need but also the people of this province need to capitalize on some of the opportunities that we should be pursuing. We see a lot of announcements from this government like the renovation of the hospital. Delivering often is something that is delayed and I think we have all seen that here. We need to look into that sense of urgency to make sure that we deliver on those promises,” Beck added.

Beck gave credit to Meili for his leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think some of the things that we were proposing during the pandemic we fought the Sask Party government at least in early days to eventually take some of those measures,” Beck said.

There was a decent crowd of supporters in attendance and Rancourt said that there was some good buzz around Beck.

“Ever since Carla has announced that she is running for leader I have been getting phone calls and people who are interested in joining the team and has built some excitement within Prince Albert,” Rancourt said.

Rancourt added that Beck was going to continue to be in Prince Albert for the leadership race.

“Carla is no stranger to Prince Albert and I think that is why we are seeing a good crowd here is that she has built relationships with a lot of folks here already and she is going to continue to come to Prince Albert and build relationships,” she said.