Wednesday, October 07, 2020

On healthier politics

While Saskatchewan's election campaign is noteworthy in part for the callousness of the incumbent, it's particularly significant due to the contrast between the leaders of the two primary parties.

Others have already written plenty about Ryan Meili's defining traits as a leader. Of note, I'll point to Tammy Robert's post which is again making the rounds...

Ryan genuinely cares about everyone’s wellbeing. For example, he and I used to clash about needle exchange programs and safe-injection sites all the time, until he finally asked me why I was so okay with unsafe-injection sites all over the province, since they’re far more dangerous to and expensive for the rest of us.

That shut me up and changed my mind pretty quick. Some may say (they’re wrong, obviously) that isn’t an easy thing to do. But it did cement my theory that Ryan would be a great premier of Saskatchewan. He often spins his take on how government impacts our daily lives as the metrics of a healthy life (or something like that, I don’t know), but to me it’s just compassion plus common sense: two qualities which, in my mind, embody leadership. well as Stephen Whitworth's campaign interview:

Meili — a family doctor and community organizer who won the party leadership in 2018 after unsuccessful runs in 2009 and 2013 — has a lot to say. Over a half-hour or so we discussed issues that don’t seem to be priorities for Scott Moe’s Saskatchewan Party government but matter a lot to those of us who want Saskatchewan to be somewhere people love to live, as opposed to a worksite handing out resource paycheques that get cashed in other provinces.

More than any election since I’ve lived in Saskatchewan, Meili’s common-sense policy platform embodies the NDP at its best: practical ideas that work and make regular people’s lives better. 

And for those looking for a summary of Meili's candidacy from his own perspective, I'll point to 20:30 of his fireside chat with Aleana Young. 

I'll then take the opportunity to add my voice as well. (And while it isn't news that I've long been a supporter of Meili's, I've continued to be impressed at how he's adapted to the pressures of leading a party without losing sight of what has motivated people to support him.)

This isn't merely the typical election featuring a right-wing party with obviously-dangerous plans, and a milquetoast centre-left-ish party whose best argument is that it represents the most plausible means to limit the damage.  

Instead, Meili stands out among the NDP's recent leaders - not just in Saskatchewan, but anywhere in Canada with the possible exception of Gary Burrill - in offering a powerful and cohesive vision, along with the judgment to work toward it in ways that are both practical and sustainable. And that's led in turn to the cultivation of a strong group of candidates who both share and enhance it.

That distinction between Meili and other nominally progressive leaders doesn't mean I'll agree with his choices on everything. Indeed, the one controversy manufactured by the Sask Party during the campaign represents an example of Meili taking an arguably pragmatic line (which I'll acknowledge is also consistent with the expressed will of NDP members), rather than adopting what I'd see as the superior policy stance. 

But it does mean that rather than voting for the lesser of two evils, we actually have a chance to elect a government which will move the needle in a positive direction. 

So with that in mind, I'll again encourage readers to donate (which again can be done from across the country), to volunteer, and to get the word out about the healthier society the Saskatchewan NDP is offering. And if we do our part now, it may not be long before Saskatchewan can once again help to chart the course toward a more just and equitable Canada.

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