On Friday, September 15th, SaskParty leader candidate Ken Cheveldayoff stopped by during his visit to the Northeast for a Meet & Greet at Gieni’s Fine Family Restaurant in Nipawin. The stop was arranged just a few days prior when local businessman Bryan Baraniski invited the MLA of Saskatoon Willowgrove to speak with Nipawin residents following his visit to Melfort.
Cheveldayoff addressed a small contingent of Nipawin area business owners and residents, as well as took the time to listen to each of their concerns and answer questions. In keeping with his campaign slogan, “Rural Roots/Urban Strong“, his address to the attendees included an explanation as to how his background and experience would be of significant benefit to the SaskParty in the next election in 2020. Citing historical elections, Mr. Cheveldayoff explained that, in order for the party to maintain leadership of the province, they must gain a stronghold in both the rural and urban votes.
Ken Cheveldayoff grew up in rural Saskatchewan, the son of a farmer and teacher who, according to the biography on his website, knew his destiny from the day that John Diefenbaker stopped at Blaine Lake when he ran to get in line for a second time so he could shake his hand again. Ken explained to the group how his political experience as a page in the House of Commons, as an urban MLA, and multi-time Cabinet Minister in the Saskatchewan Party government, combined his experience as an entrepreneur, and his deep rural roots merge “the roots and resilience of rural living with the innovation and enterprise of larger urban centre” making him a highly qualified candidate to lead the Saskatchewan Party.
Overall, Ken Cheveldayoff wants to see a 10-year growth plan in our province, one that emphasizes our strengths such as agriculture, tourism, forestry, and manufacturing. Many topics were covered but Ken emphasized what matters to Nipawin and the Northeast. Ken recognized that issues such as small business, agriculture, forestry, manufacturing, and tourism are vital to our region and assured those present that, while important issues, he would not only focus on the hot topics such as the Federal Carbon Tax, PST changes or the sale of Crown Corporations but made it clear that he is keenly aware of many other issues that rural communities want to see addressed.
Federal Carbon Tax
While Ken is opposed to the Federal Carbon Tax, he emphasized the opposition alone is not enough. “Those who oppose the carbon tax must off other options” he stated in response to questions on the issue. Some of the areas he feels those options could be offered include innovation and crop science.
Drawing the conversation of Carbon Taxation into the field of Agriculture, Ken reaffirmed his support of innovation in Agriculture as a key aspect. Ken also described his desire to see all of the 21 largest communities in Saskatchewan, which includes Nipawin, Tisdale, and Melfort, able to increase localized food production with greenhouses in every one of those communities. In addition to providing independence and food security for communities, particularly those in the north of the province, he feels the opportunity to look to exporting locally grown food would be important for the future of the economies of those regions.
PST on Insurance
While Ken made it clear his belief that Premier Brad Wall will be seen as the best premier our province has ever known, he did acknowledge Saskatchewan resident’s concerns with the recent budget. “With our budget, I think we’ve made some mistakes” he conceded but assured those attending that he had plans to address some of the impacts of some of those decisions. Part of Ken’s platform for party leader includes a promise that, should he become the next Premier of Saskatchewan, he will appoint a Tax Review Panel, with a 60-day consultation window, to consider the impact of sales tax on life insurance. The Panel will be would consist of tax policy experts who would examine the tax treatment of life insurance premiums and other related products to establish a tax base more consistent with what is happening in other provinces. Full details of his taxation policy can be viewed in his September 7, 2017 – Taxation Press Release
The topic of tourism for Northeast and Northern communities was also an important one for Ken. Attendees pointed out to him the difficulties rural tourism economies, such as the ones in the Nipawin area, face when trying to build their businesses and the tourism economy as a whole. One of the issues, as pointed out by local businessman Bryan Baraniski, went beyond programs and investments to build our tourism destinations, but brought up the issue of the deplorable conditions of the roads area tourists must travel on to reach our local attractions.
Shown an example of the condition of Highway 35 to the west side of Tobin Lake back in April of 2017, and assured by Mr. Baraniski and others that travel on the south side, going to the Resort Village of Tobin Lake, is even worse, Cheveldayoff agreed that the infrastructure that serves our tourism industry needs to be a part of our long-term planning to build the rural economies.
Joining Mr. Cheveldayoff on his tour was one of the 10 MLA’s currently endorsing his race for party leader, Eric Olauson, MLA Saskatoon University. The trip was Mr. Olauson’s first visit to Nipawin in several years and he stated he was quite impressed with the growth and economic development he observed since his last visit. “The last time I was here there were all kinds of empty buildings, ” he commented, “Now there’s so much happening, all the new businesses and work that’s been done in the town“.
Rural Roots/Urban Strong
Learn more about Ken Cheveldayoff, his policies, and platform on his website, Chevy For Leader
Ken Cheveldayoff – Saskatoon Willowgrove – SaskParty
Ken was first elected MLA for Saskatoon Silver Springs in 2003. He was re-elected in the 2007 and 2011 provincial elections. With the changes in provincial boundaries, he was re-elected in 2016 as the MLA for Saskatoon Willowgrove. Since the Saskatchewan Party formed government, Ken has been responsible for various portfolios including time as Minister of Crown Corporations, Minister of Enterprise, Minister Responsible for SaskEnergy and Minister Responsible for Trade. Ken has served Saskatchewan as Minister of First Nations and Metis Relations, Minister Responsible for Sask. Gaming Corporation, and Minister Responsible for Northern Affairs. He has also been Minister of Environment, Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Watershed Authority and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Water Corporation. Ken was most recently Minister of Parks, Culture and Sport and Minister responsible for the Public Service Commission (PSC). Cheveldayoff attended Carleton University in Ottawa, the University of Saskatchewan, and Newport University in Southern California, receiving a B.A. (Honours) in Economics and Political Science in 1988 and a Masters of Business Administration in 1996. Prior to being elected Ken worked with Western Economic Diversification assisting individual businesses and industries to grow and expand. Ken and his wife Trish have raised their son Carter and daughter Paige in Saskatoon and the entire family is very active in several community organizations and activities.
Ken has announced he will be a candidate to succeed Premier Brad Wall in the upcoming Saskatchewan Party leadership campaign.
Editor’s Note: This article is a report of issues addressed by Mr Cheveldayoff in his recent visit to Nipawin and is not intended as an endorsement as a SaskParty leader candidate.