The Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan has removed Wade Sira as its interim leader. This wasn't just news to the public. It was news to Sira himself.
The former interim leader said he was not informed that he was no longer in the position until members of the media contacted him for comment on Wednesday.
The unanimous decision was made on Tuesday night at a scheduled provincial board of directors meeting.
In a news release Wednesday, the Buffalo Party said the move was not made lightly. It claimed the decision was made in the best interest of the young party, citing "several internal factors" as well as the upcoming party leadership selection.
Sira said he does not know what those internal factors are.
"There's always rumblings in every political party, but it was nothing out of any norm. So any inside factors, I actually cannot comment on that situation," said Sira.
"I was not able to be at the last meeting. I had no cell service and internet service where I was. So I honestly have no idea. I haven't even got a message from the party or any information from them whatsoever on their decision."
New leader selection
The party's annual general meeting will be held in Swift Current at the Palliser Pavillion from Nov. 5 to 7. There, members will elect a new provincial board of directors and the party will adopt proposals from the membership for its constitution and bylaws, the news release said.
Most notably, the party will use the AGM to formally launch its party leadership selection process so members can select the first official leader of the Buffalo Party.
"At this time the provincial board of directors is 100 per cent committed to a robust AGM, and ensuring all members voices are heard. This also ensures that we continue our commitment to being a member driven, grassroots party," said interim party president Kris Carley in Wednesday's news release.
Jim Farney, an associate professor at the Johnson Shoyama graduate school of public policy, said the choice to oust Sira is a strange one.
"[The AGM is] not all that far away and, you know, it makes sense that an interim leader would see them through it. It's odd and it's surprising," said Farney.
"They were a party that, last election, did reasonably well. They didn't win any seats. But of the third parties out there, they were the strongest."
In the 2020 Saskatchewan election the Buffalo Party, formerly Wexit Saskatchewan, ran a slate of candidates garnering 2.5 per cent of the vote. It finished second in four ridings in Saskatchewan's southwest and southeast.
The Buffalo Party has not explained what the internal factors involved in Sira's ousting were.
"The only [other] reason I could imagine a party saying an interim leader should not be leader through a leadership selection process would be if that person had made it clear that they plan to run for the leadership," said Farney.
"In that case you could you could draw a fairly clear line. But we don't know that, and given that Wade Sira was kind of surprised himself that he had been ousted, that doesn't sound like a convincing story."
Will this sudden removal of Sira affect support for the Buffalo Party?
"As a smaller party, it probably does less damage to their brand than it would if this happened to the Sask. Party. But it's still not good and it's certainly a disruption," said Farney.