As the Saskatchewan Party officially hits the campaign trail, leader Brad Wall says voters can expect a campaign lacking in “expensive promises” that focuses on the economy.
“There is no issue more important today in Saskatchewan or more central to this election than the economy,” he said Tuesday.
Wall kicked off his party’s campaign surrounded by fellow candidates and standing before a few dozen party supporters in Saskatoon Silver Springs candidate Ken Cheveldayoff’s campaign office.
His speech focused equally on his own party’s eight-year economic record and blasting the opposition NDP’s previous terms in office. He offered the province’s triple-A credit score, the second lowest provincial debt-to-GDP ratio, job numbers, the growth in the province’s population and the retention of youth as proof of his party’s success.
Wall said his party’s platform will add to their current growth plan and present new ideas, but will refrain from offering up too many promises that result in new or big spending.
“Because unlike our friends across the way, we’re not prepared to make promises that we cannot keep,” Wall said, referring to the NDP. “If it’s a bidding war the NDP want, we’re not participating because it’s not our money. The money belongs to the people of the province.”
The provincial government was dissolved just two weeks after third-quarter estimates showed the province would post a $427 million deficit for the 2015-16 fiscal year; $165 million more than what was predicted mid-year.
Wall admitted Saskatchewan’s finances are in a tough position at the moment, but he said he is proud of his record and wants to get the province back to a balanced budget by the 2017-2018 fiscal year.
With several incumbent candidates retiring from politics this year and the addition of three new constituencies, Wall said he hopes to pick up new seats. Polls show the party has a healthy 49 per cent lead despite the NDP making temporary gains last week.
While the NDP promised Tuesday to have gender parity in their cabinet, Wall said the Sask. Party hope to have a good balance of men, women, rural and urban cabinet ministers if elected.