Saskatchewan’s Liberal Party leader says his party wants to present a clear third option to voters come April.
Darrin Lamoureux says his party’s platform will be “different to what Saskatchewan residents have heard in the past” and present “alternatives to what the Wall government is doing” as voters get ready to head to the polls on April 4.
The provincial Liberals officially hit the campaign trail Saturday evening with a launch event in Saskatoon with 14 local candidates. The party has 36 candidates so far.
The Liberals have not held a seat in the Legislature since 2003 and will need to stand out against the opposition New Democrats.
In an interview before the launch, Lamoureux said he is not worried about vote splitting or the NDP.
“Historically we’ve seen NDP governments in the past have done nothing to improve Saskatchewan’s economy and we’ve seen the NDP opposition be ineffective at holding the (premier Brad) Wall government accountable,” he said. “The NDP itself is a government union lobbyist group… the Saskatchewan Liberal party is for the working person.”
Lamoureux did not release any specifics of the party’s platforms, but hinted towards indigenous and economic issues.
“The Sask Party has basically ignored First Nations,” Lamoureux said. “It’s a voice that needs to be heard. We’re making sure the Saskatchewan Liberal party is representing that voice of cooperation, something that Brad Wall doesn’t know the term.”
He said the platform will also include the Liberal’s plan to grow the Saskatchewan economy in a time of economic downturn and criticized the province’s minimum wage.
Saturday’s launch focused on immigration and culture policies including reintroducing the family referral category of immigration, increasing the program’s age limit to 55 and allocating five per cent of the province’s immigration to parental re-unification. The Liberals promised 40 percent of the province’s annual immigration will go towards allowing qualifying permanent residents to sponsor the immigration of other family members.
Lamoureux also wants to allow cultural groups to use school facilities during the summer months.
However, the Liberals would also prevent employers from using the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
“When Mr. Wall promoted the temporary foreign worker program, it was more intended to provide a cheap labour force to Saskatchewan business which has really depressed thew wages of Saskatchewan residents,” Lamoureux said. “Tempiorary foreign workers will send their cheques back home and there’s no real spin off benefit to Saskatchewan’s economy.”
In 2014, the Saskatchewan government said there were approximately 11,700 temporary foreign workers employed in the province.
Lamoureux said he hopes to ride the wave of the federal Liberal win.
“In last federal election, 135,000 people in Saskatchewan put their hand up and identified with the Liberal Party. We’re going to make sure the Liberals who voted for us in October understand what the Saskatchewan Liberal Party has to offer on the provincial level.”