While the battle for the Conservative Party of Canada Leadership heats up, in Saskatchewan the battle for the leadership of the Buffalo Party is nearing the end of it's race.
This past weekend, the two candidates for the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan Leadership election Philip Zajac (from Estevan) and Clint Arnason (from Vanguard) talked about the issues facing Saskatchewan in a debate held Sunday night in Regina.
Arnason was the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan candidate in the Athabasca By-Election earlier this year.
Arnason an electrician by trade, says that he's seen the provincial and federal governments do deals that have been detrimental to both Alberta's and Saskatchewan's economy, "I know what it's like to have a small group of people and grow a business."
"We are trying to make Saskatchewan better, we aren't politicians this is all new to us, but (The Buffalo Party) are here to look after rural Saskatchewan and small businesses that built this province," Arnason added. "It's time to put Saskatchewan people first."
Zajac says that he has been involved in politics for some time in his community of Estevan, "When the provincial government tried to take away money from the libraries a few years ago, we steamrolled the whole process and got the whole province together. We had them revaluate.
The provincial government in 2017 restored $4.8 million in funding to local libraries across the province after its budget was tabled.
"It was one of the proudest things we did as a group," Zajac said. "The provincial government had no choice but to give us back the funding."
Zajac said the province needs someone with a stronger personality than Premier Scott Moe to stand up to Justin Trudeau, "We need stronger personalities to actually do it, simply putting on a facade and saying were going to stop the carbon tax and go to court and say 'oh we lost,' you know what that doesn't matter, We can stop the carbon tax."
The two men were asked point-blank why they should be the first leader of the Buffalo Party, Arnason said that he had not looked at it before, "There wasn't a whole lot of people putting their name forward, and I thought we needed to not just give it to one person.'
Zajac said that there were numerous reasons why he put his name forward to lead the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan, "We need someone with a strong personality, something that politicians lack right now. I would be a good voice and advocate for my community and the people of Saskatchewan.
"The next election (in 2024) is probably going to be one of the most important in 50 years. Saskatchewan has a lot to lose in the next election. We need a group of people who care enough about this province to step forward and advocate for our communities, and not for ourselves," he added. He went on to say that the provincial and federal government has been about self-serving themselves.
United Conservative Party MLA becomes the poster child for Recall Legislation
During the hour-long debate, the two men squared off on a range of topics including addiction, healthcare, accountability, and the creation of a provincial police force.
One area that the two men agreed upon was the introduction of recall legislation, Zajac said that is 100 percent behind the legislation, "It can't be easy it has to be legitimate."
Zajac then took aim a UCP MLA in Alberta, "There in a politician in Alberta who kinda went through this, his constituency felt that he wasn't being represented, and showing up at meetings, getting a paycheque and they had no real recall process.
"We talk about accountability, and you are accountable to your constituents. If you're not performing or doing your job... you get fired," He added.
Arnason echoed the sentiments of Zajac, "Recall should be there, that community should get to decide if they get to keep you or not."
In early 2021, the Town of Slave Lake wrote a scathing letter to Premier Jason Kenney, and Lesser Slave Lake MLA Pat Rehn asking him to resign as he had not been representing the area as he lived in Red Deer and was one of the few UCP MLAs who left the province, during the 2020 Christmas Holiday, to Mexico when federal and provincial governments were warning against said act.
Addiction, Accountability, COVID-19 Healthcare, Energy, Provincial Police Force and other topics discussed
Other topics discussed during the hour debate included Addiction, Healthcare, COVID-19, Mask mandates, Energy, Provincial Police Force, and Accountability.
The Buffalo Party changed its name from Wexit Saskatchewan in 2020 and finished in third place in the October election. Former interim leader Wade Sira was expelled from the party late in 2021, and barred from running for leadership. The first leader of the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan will be elected on March 25th.