At the Foothills hospital in Calgary. We moved to Saskatchewan in grade 4 and I have been a Saskatchewanian ever since.
What’s a little known fact about you?
I came in 2nd in my age class at the Manitoba Marathon once with a finishing time of 3:40. That was a long time ago….
Why should voters hire you?
Because the SaskParty has now been in power for 10 years and we have really moved this province forward, thanks to the leadership of Premier Wall. But now it is time to look ahead to the next decade. I am focused on our political growth as a party and on moving us forward with fresh thinking and innovative policies. I also believe that all organizations should shore up their weaknesses in order to continue to be strong and for us, that means continuing to pay tribute to our strong rural base but to attract and maintain urban voters. I can do that.
Who should we call as a reference?
Murad & Michelle Al Katib.
What are your priorities for Saskatchewan?
My platform has 3 main pillars, which folks can read about here: votetina.ca/news
- Smart Social Investments
- The inclusion of financial literacy in the K-12 mandated curriculum
- Housing First
- Ministry of Accessibility
- Building the Economic Powerhouse of the West
- Reinstating the PST exemption on all insurance products
- Growing the NextGen economy
- Opposing the Carbon Tax
- 100% 4G LTE connectivity across the Province
- A made-in-Sask approach to the federal legalization of marijuana
- Continued investment in infrastructure through accelerated use of P3s and examining opportunities for private equity fund for infrastructure
- Performance Managed government
- Public inquiry on the GTH depending on RCMP investigation results
- Move to a 2-year budget cycle
What is your greatest strength?
My colleagues tease me about being a nerd, but I enjoy learning. I listen to what people say, I read, I research and I work very hard to try to master the areas I need to. I am not satisfied with mediocrity on anything. I have been told often that I am also a very strong communicator.
What is your greatest weakness?
I am impatient. I hate processes, meetings and speeches that take too long. I have a quick mind and want people to get to the point so we can get to work! I get frustrated with problem focused rather than solution focused thinking.
Would you maintain the increase and expansion to the PST enacted in the budget?
No. I have already committed to reinstating the PST exemption on all insurance products and was the first candidate to do so.
Where do you stand on provincial debt?
It’s always a balance. We have the lowest debt to GDP ratio in the country and just received another AAA credit rating. We have an infrastructure deficit that we still need to address and it is critical to our economic growth, so we need to keep investing in it. While we can play a key role, we do have opportunities to leverage federal infrastructure funding opportunities and I would like to see not only the acceleration of the use of P3s for infrastructure, but also, as a said previously, to explore the use of private equity funds for infrastructure to keep the provincial burden down.
What was the last book you read?
I just re-read The Handmaid’s Tale over Christmas holidays. I read it 20 years ago.
What is your favourite TV show?
Did the government handle the GTH controversy appropriately? How do you intend to maintain public trust in light of the GTH investigation?
I was elected in 2016 so I can speak only to how the matter has been handled since then. We asked for a review by the Ethics Commissioner. We asked for the provincial auditor to look into the transactions and cooperated fully. The matter is now being investigated by law enforcement. I believe that this has been an appropriate process using the independent officers of the legislature. Pending the results of the RCMP investigation, I would consider a public inquiry into the matter. I have door knocked enough in my own constituency and in the last 2 byelections in Saskatoon to know that people still have concerns that we need to address so we can move forward as a Party.
When your alarm goes off in the morning, how many times do you hit the snooze button?
There have been a lot of late, late nights preparing during this leadership campaign, so I hate to say it, but once or twice. I used to get up and work out at 6AM. Hasn’t happened much lately.
There have been complaints about the impact the budget had on the classroom. How will you ensure education needs are met across the Province?
The thing I have heard most about on the campaign trail and in my constituency office – where, by the way, a lot of teachers live – is the struggle teachers have in the classroom managing students with increasingly complex needs. I have reviewed the Education Sector Strategic Plan and see that the Supports for Learning component only comprises about 15% of the total funding pool. While we cannot do everything, it makes the most sense to me to focus on where the need is greatest and this seems to be the area. So, I would like to have a conversation with our partners in education to talk about the Supports for Learning funding pool. I should say that this is likely to include a discussion about increasing that portion of the funding and that I would be inclined towards conditionality on that funding piece so we can track our investment outcomes.
Brad Wall is said to be the brand of the Saskatchewan Party. How do you intend to differentiate yourself from him and make your own stamp as leader?
I hope that I am able to emulate some of the Premier’s best qualities: humility, good humour, approachability mixed with principled conviction. I share the Premier’s passion for people with disabilities. What I hope I have demonstrated to our membership and to citizens of the Province who’ve been watching this leadership race is that I am a strong communicator, an innovative policy maker, a strategic political campaigner, I am unafraid to take a strong stand and I a warm and likeable person. Obviously these are qualities that the Premier had as well, but I believe that they are the keys to good leadership generally.
But I am also an urban, highly educated, mother of teenagers who currently represents a bell weather constituency that was hard won. In addition, I don’t want to go back to seeing our Party brand embodied in a single leader. I think this leadership race has allowed us to demonstrate the depth of talent we have on the bench and in our membership. Key to our long term institutionalization as a Party is surviving any one personality and I will be focused on finding ways to develop and emulate our bench strength as an organization going forward.
Who inspires you and why?
Rona Ambrose when she was interim leader of the Conservative Party. Rona managed to recover the Conservative Party from a signifcant electoral loss to the Liberals with a personal brand of warmth and accessibility matched with sharp critiques of the governing party. She was committed to the political re-growth of the Conservative Party and put her mark on it by pursuing a few issues that she felt passionate about with a combination of grace and conviction. She did her job and she did it very well, commanding the respect of many outside of that Party and in so doing, took gender out of the equation in terms of what it takes to be a good leader.
Is the carbon tax inevitable? What will you do to work with the federal government on this issue?
No it is not. We released our own made-in-Saskatchewan climate change plan. Just because we oppose the carbon tax does not mean we won’t do anything on climate change. We oppose the carbon tax because it is an ineffective instrument at lowering emmissions and it is harmful to our economy. We put forward our own plan to demonstrate that we are willing to work towards lowering emissions. The federal government has indicated that this is still unacceptable which frankly suggests to me that they are only interested in a cash grab – otherwise they would applaud our plan which is far more robust than anything they have put forward. If they will not accept our plan, I am prepared to litigate against the imposition of the carbon tax and I think we have a very strong case to do so.
What is your guilty pleasure?
A great book, a glass of wine and my two dogs cuddled close on a Friday night.
What is currently on your playlist and which song are you most embarrassed to have on the list?
Oh boy… I think my whole playlist would be embarrassing to our base. I confess I listen to hip hop so on my playlist is Kendrick Lamar, Jay-Z, Kodak Black, Migos and Gucci Mane. You might recall that I walked into my convention speech playing LL Cool J.
It’s a day off and you can have anything you want for dinner. What would it be?
I love to cook, especially when I have time. I would have to say homemade pad thai with fresh rolls. I also make a mean ale and cheddar soup.
If you could sit down for dinner with any famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
Margaret Thatcher. She was characterized as the Iron Lady because she never demonstrated vulnerability on any front and some might say she had little tolerance for the vulnerable as well. I would ask if she thought vulnerability was weakness. Despite whether one agreed or disagreed with many of her policies, you would have to say she was fearless, politically astute and very intelligent. I would love to hear her thoughts on Reagan, Mulroney and the British monarchy. I would also ask her if she had to do it all over again, what would she have done differently?