NDP sights set on Saskatchewan

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Justin Crann
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Mulcair sees prairie province as 'key battleground' in 2015

Saskatchewan will be vital to the NDP's grand strategy to form government in the 2015 federal election, according to leader Thomas Mulcair.

Thomas Mulcair, leader of the New Democrat Party of Canada, speaks at the Saskatchewan New Democrats convention in Moose Jaw Friday. Mulcair declared the prairie province as a 'key battleground' in 2015.

"Frankly, Saskatchewan is going to be a key province in the next federal election because it's going to be the way to measure what's happening on the prairies," Mulcair told the Times-Herald Friday.

"Some people might say 14 seats is not that much, but actually, it's going to be very important because it's going to be telling in regard to the attitude of people toward the neglect of the Conservatives over the past 10 years," he added. "Saskatchewan is going to be a key battleground."

Mulcair is confident in the party's ability to recapture Saskatchewan — and not just because of the province's historic relationship with the NDP and the legacy of Tommy Douglas.

"As I go across the province, I realize the issues that the NDP is always talking about are still important for people," he explained. "All you have to do is talk to people across the province to know that social vision remains."

Mulcair said the redrawing of several ridings — including the riding in which Moose Jaw is situated — will "make life easier" on NDP candidates across the province. But, he added, that won't stop the party from pushing "competitive" candidates in each of those ridings.

"We're going to have people offering themselves up to work hard for the people of Saskatchewan with the tough approach to what has to be done to make sure this is a fairer country, but also an optimistic, positive approach about what we can do together," Mulcair said.

"We're going to run really great candidates, we're going to run a good campaign, and we're going to win a majority of seats here in Saskatchewan."

The key will be to harness that vision and push on some fundamental issues — such as, for instance, grain transportation in the light of the crisis that set back producers this past year.

"This is the first time in Canadian history that a government is so incompetent it can't even get a record grain crop to market," said Mulcair. "It's an incredible travesty to have the Conservatives boast they're somehow good public managers when, in fact, they're abysmal."

Also vital to the strategy will be the country's youth.

"There's going to be a lot of contact with young people. We're going to make sure they understand that Stephen Harper is leaving the largest economic, social and environmental debt in our history in their backpacks," said Mulcair.

"They're turned off by politics because they don't think that they can make a difference, but we're going to convince them that they can," he added. "And we're going to keep talking to them."

You can follow Justin Crann on Twitter.

Organizations: NDP, Conservatives, Times-Herald

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Moose Jaw

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