Cam Broten announced he is stepping down as leader of the Saskatchewan New Democrat Party.
Standing with his wife Ruth, Broten made the announcement Monday in his Saskatoon neighbourhood playground, a week after his party suffered a devastating provincial election loss.
“You can think about things that could have happened or should have happened but the reality is we’re here today, I didn’t win my seat and because of that, the best step now is to step down,” he said.
Broten said it was not an easy decision to step down and that it has been a “distinct honour” to serve Saskatchewan residents.
In one of the tightest races, Broten lost his Saskatoon-Westview seat by 232 votes to the Saskatchewan Party’s David Buckingham. The NDP won 10 seats in the legislature, up one from last year, but far from what the party wanted, Broten said.
“In a democracy, elections belong to voters and the voters have spoken and it is our duty to respect that decision,” he said, repeating a line from a concession speech he made at the party headquarters on election night.
Broten said he looks forward to spending more time with his family, and would look for ways to serve the province in the future.
“When, how, where, I don’t know, but I love this province,” Broten said.
The announcement comes one day after federal NDP delegates at the party’s national convention in Edmonton voted 52 per cent in favour of a leadership race.
Broten said he was more focused on his own plans than the national convention and also deferred opinion of the controversial NDP Leap Manifesto to those in positions of leadership within the provincial party.
A provincial interim leader must be chosen before the legislative session begins next month. The provincial council of the party meets April 23 where the leadership race will be the main discussion.