Green Party candidate looking to give voters a different option

A local business owner is looking to give voters a different choice during the upcoming provincial election.

As the NDP and Saskatchewan Party trade pointed barbs ahead of the Oct. 26 vote, Sarah Kraynick is looking to rise above and present a different vision for Saskatchewan as the Green Party candidate for Prince Albert Northcote.

Kraynick is a familiar name to Green Party voters. She ran federally in the Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River riding last year, finishing in a distant fourth with two per cent of the riding’s votes.

When asked to run provincially, though, Kraynick carefully considered the offer.

“After my experience running federally, I got a little turned off by politics,” Kraynick said.

But after a conversation with leader Naomi Hunter, she agreed to stand for election in October.

“I’m doing my part in democracy,” she said. “We’ll see what happens.”

Kraynick said the Green Party offers an alternative to voters tired of seeing the same names battle it out time after time.

“I see this mix of NDP and Saskatchewan slinging mud. There are more parties than just the NDP and Sask. Party,” she said.

“When you do the same thing over and over again, that’s the definition of insanity. I think the Greens and other parties offer options to people. It’s about getting out the word that there are other options.”

Hunter was in Prince Albert in July, and said her party will run a full slate of 61 candidates in this year’s election.

The small business owner, artist and environmental activist has been involved with the provincial Green Party since 1999. The party finished in fourth place with 1.8 per cent of the vote in the 2016 provincial election, but Hunter is confident they’ll improve on that in 2020.

“I always laugh when people say, ‘well, Saskatchewan is so right-wing and conservative,’” she said during an interview in Prince Albert on Thursday. “I go, ‘no it’s not. Saskatchewan votes wildly left and wildly right.’ People are more concerned with the issues than the parties. They are interested in the little guy, and that is exactly who the Green Party represents.

Hunter lives in Regina, but grew up near Birch Hills and used to operate the Lakeland Art Gallery and Tea House near Christopher Lake. One of the biggest concerns she said is public health and access to clean drinking water in Indigenous communities.

The party also supports traditional environmental platforms like solar power and clean energy, which Hunter believes can eventually replace the oil and gas sector. She criticized the Saskatchewan Party’s handling of the net metering solar program, saying she’d rather support small solar companies than give more tax incentives to the oil industry.

For Kraynick, the party’s commitment to ensuring better outcomes for Indigenous people and to social justice issues such as poverty and housing align with her values. So does the party’s respect for diversity and its core of protecting the environment.

Kraynick also cited issues such as restoring public transportation.

“I see too may people walking on the highways,” she said, adding that a lack of reliable transportation affects crime rates as anyone released from prison with nowhere to go has any means to get anywhere else. Instead, they end up back in the streets in a situation where they’re likely to reoffend.

Kraynick also expressed frustration with the Saskatchewan Party’s handling of suicide rates in the province and criticized the decision to vote against the private member’s bill put forward by the NDP calling for a provincial suicide prevention strategy.

“(The Greens) are pushing for positive policies. Transportation, Indigenous rights and affordable housing. They’re common sense. For some reason, in Saskatchewan, we’re hesitant to have some of these things.”

While it’s not part of the Green Party’s platform, Kranick said another topic she’d like to see addressed is the issue of business licensing. She operates her business in multiple communities and needs a separate license for each. Instead, she said, the province should have one provincial license which would then be distributed proportionately to each of the communities it applies to. That, she said, would make things easier on businesses that operate in more than one jurisdiction.

Overall, though, Kraynick is hoping to bring a different voice forward for voters disillusioned with the back and forth between the NDP and Sask. Party.

She might be one of the only alternate choices this time around. Only the Saskatchewan Party, NDP and Greens have committed to running a full slate. Progressive Conservative Leader Ken Grey said his party will have about 30-40 candidates nominated by voting day, while the fledgling Buffalo Party is nominating about half a dozen. The provincial Liberals indicated they would only be fielding four this time  — and one of those candidates has since resigned.

That leaves voters in Northcote with Sask. Party, NDP or Green.

“Some people don’t vote as a protest,” she said. “Maybe instead of not voting, vote for a third party. If you have a mix to the pot, you have something that comes up is amazing that we wouldn’t have known was possible unless we gave another party an option.

“If it’s not working right now, why do the same thing over and over.”