First in the race

The first Saskatchewan Party leadership candidate has officially entered the ring.

Regina-University MLA and Minister of Social Services Tina Beaudry-Mellor announced on Tuesday that she plans to run for party leader.

“I think it is safe to say that no one will ever fill the shoes of Premier Brad Wall,” she said in a media release. “I will state here that I am not going to try. I prefer high heels anyway.”

Beaudry-Mellor was first elected to the legislature in April 2016. Prior to that she served as a lecturer in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina, and operated a consulting business called TBM Strategies.

As part of her announcement, Beaudry-Mellor took wasted no time taking aim at any critics who say she doesn’t have enough experience to run for leader.

“People will say that I have not been in elected office long enough. They will be correct. But if this is really about renewal, then I see this as an advantage, not a disadvantage,” she said. “I am smart enough to know what I do not know and I will spend my time engaging in communities to take the pulse of the people in our party.”

If elected leader, Beaudry-Mellor said she would diversify the economy, balance the budget, and continue to oppose the federal carbon tax.

“For me, it is about balance … not just about balanced budgets, but also about balanced government policies,” she said.

Beaudry-Mellor added that for years she’s worked and encouraged women to get involved in politics. She views this leadership race as an opportunity to lead by example.

“(I) have tried to contribute to the conversation about redefining leadership so that it becomes less about gender and more about having a vision and bringing people together to realize that vision,” she said. “Presented with the opportunity to participate in the upcoming leadership race, I cannot watch from the sidelines. I am going to lean in. All the way.”

Beaudry-Mellor will have to step down as Minister of Social Services in order to run for the party’s top job. On Tuesday, the Premier’s office released a statement saying all cabinet ministers will have to resign their positions in order to run.