Premier Moe receives seal of approval from party members at convention, leadership review

·3 min read
Scott Moe speaks in front of the Saskatchewan Party membership at the party convention on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2021.  (Theresa Kliem/CBC - image credit)
Scott Moe speaks in front of the Saskatchewan Party membership at the party convention on Saturday, Nov. 11, 2021. (Theresa Kliem/CBC - image credit)

Premier Scott Moe was given strong approval from Saskatchewan Party members at the party's convention and leadership review in Saskatoon on Saturday.

Moe received "80 per cent plus almost 20 per cent" of the vote, according to James Thorsteinson, president of the Saskatchewan Party.

According to its constitution, the party only announces the exact results of the leadership review if a leader receives less than 80 per cent, said Patrick Bundrock, executive director of the Saskatchewan Party.

The leadership review is a regular part of the party's biennial conventions. Moe also received an approval rating of over 80 per cent at the last convention two years ago.

Prior to the results being announced, Moe said any leadership review vote is "influenced by the challenges or the opportunities that provinces and governments ultimately are faced with at that point in time."

"There's no doubt that over the course of the last 20 months … one of the largest challenges for this province and all other provinces and territories in Canada and really the rest of the world has been our response to COVID-19 and the subsequent waves."

The convention was the first opportunity for the party's membership to gather since the 2020 provincial election, according to Moe, but it was scaled back from the original plan because of the pandemic.

Moe spoke to party members about the economy but also his government's response to the fourth wave of the pandemic.

"We are not through this pandemic in this province by any stretch of the imagination," he said.

However, the drop in recent active case numbers has been encouraging, he said.

"That's why we have resisted some of the calls that we have all heard to impose even ... tougher restrictions."

Theresa Kliem/CBC
Theresa Kliem/CBC

While Moe addressed party members inside of TCU Place, a group of people gathered outside to protest how the government has handled the fourth wave of COVID-19.

"Scott Moe is the problem," said Theresa MacKinnon, one of the organizers of a group called Concerned Citizens for COVID Action.

"He needs to lead us through this pandemic, and he hasn't."

MacKinnon said she wants the province to introduce stricter gathering limits as well as a broader vaccine mandate that would not allow a negative COVID-19 test result instead of proof of vaccination.

"What we really need to do is get 95 per cent of our population vaccinated to protect our vulnerable and our children," she said.

As of Saturday, 807,319 people in Saskatchewan have been fully vaccinated.

Opposition leader decries Moe's comments at convention

Official Opposition Leader Ryan Meili also spoke out about how the provincial government has handled the fourth wave, along with some of Moe's comments during the convention.

"We are still in the midst of the worst fourth wave in the entire country," he told reporters after the convention.

"Thousands of people are waiting for surgeries. People are unable to access organ transplants, and we've got kids unable to access therapies. We also have the worst jobs record in the entire country and yet here you have Scott Moe up on stage saying that he struck the right balance,"

Saskatchewan lost 6,500 jobs between September and October, according to Statistics Canada's latest labour force survey, which comes after two months in a row where the province gained jobs. However, the province still has one of the lower unemployment rates in the country and is below the national average of 6.7 per cent.

Meili also criticized the amount of approval Moe received from Saskatchewan Party members.

"That tells you that the problem isn't just Scott Moe," he said.

"It's the 48 members. It's the cabinet that has said nothing. It's all of those MLAs who have said nothing, who have stood silently by and watched as Scott Moe led us into the worst fourth wave in the country."

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