Provincial Justice Minister Gord Wyant will be leaving his current post to pursue the Saskatchewan Party’s top job.
Wyant made the announcement Friday morning at a restaurant in Saskatoon.
“My message to the people and to the party today is this: I am ready to listen, and I am ready to lead,” he said.
The Saskatoon-Northwest MLA added he would develop his platform after hearing from every Sask. Party constituency in the province.
He said the government should be listening to the people, and they maybe didn’t do as good a job of it during the 2017 budget process.
“There were a number of groups we perhaps didn’t listen to,” he said. “We need to pay a bit more attention to education and to the health care situation.”
Asked if he would roll back cuts to those sectors, he replied by saying he would “take a look” to make sure the right resources are being applied where needed.
Wyant began his political career as a Saskatoon Public Schools trustee in 2000, then became the Saskatoon city councillor for Ward 5 in 2003, winning re-election in 2006 and 2009.
Wyant transitioned to provincial politics in 2010, when he was elected as Sask. Party MLA for Saskatoon-Northwest in a byelection. He was then re-elected in the 2011 provincial election and again in 2015.
He served as the Sask. Party’s deputy house leader after the 2011 election and was made minister of justice and attorney-general in 2012.
In 2014, Wyant was appointed minister responsible for SaskBuilds and in 2016 added the titles of minister of corrections and policing, and minister responsible for SaskPower.
A lawyer by trade, Wyant was born and raised in Saskatoon and received his law degree at the University of Saskatchewan.
His leadership run is being assisted by former Brad Wall aide Terri Harris, and founding Sask. Party member June Draude.
“He’s the one that I best see can lead us into the future,” Draude said. “This is an important decision, we’re making history … and Gord’s the man for it.”
Ken Cheveldayoff has told media he plans to make his official leadership announcement on Monday.
Health Minister Jim Reiter announced he will not be seeking the leadership.
Wall previously set a deadline of Aug. 28 for current cabinet ministers to step away from their portfolios if they plan to run.
Otherwise, candidates have until Nov. 24 to declare for the Sask. Party leadership convention, with voting beginning about a month before the Jan. 27 event in Saskatoon.
The vote will be conducted by preferential ballot among Sask. Party members who sign up for memberships before the end of December.
—With files from 650 CKOM’s Chris Vandenbreekel