SaskParty leadership hopeful Ken Cheveldayoff made an informal stop in Prince Albert yesterday on his campaign tour of the province, and fielded questions from the crowd, media and the city’s mayor.
The Saskatoon Willowgrove MLA and long-time member of Brad Wall’s cabinet said he is embarking on a “listening tour” of the province which will include open forums in multiple cities focusing on different issues on each stop. The Prince Albert event was centred on local issues including the funding for a new hospital and rural crime.
Cheveldayoff said he believes stepping up police visibility and education in rural communities are the best ways for the province to tackle crime outside of the urban centres.
“I think the key to it is more presence of law enforcement officers and also more presence in our schools,” he said. “I’m a big believer in education.”
Cheveldayoff said the current government is already working to tackle the issue of rural crime proactively, and said he would closely review their decisions if he wins the party leadership to ensure they are effective.
“We’re going to be listening very closely to see if those changes are working, and if not, how we can improve upon them,” Cheveldayoff said.
The leadership candidate said the SaskParty made some errors during their most recent budget, and emphasized that he would “admit where we’ve made mistakes” and work to correct them. Cheveldayoff said he would reverse the decision to charge PST on insurance sales, but said he would stand behind the controversial decision to close the provincial bussing company, STC.
“I don’t think that’s one we’ll be revisiting,” he said. “I think that was one that was well thought-out.”
Mayor Greg Dionne attended the event, and asked Cheveldayoff if he intended to provide provincial funding for a new hospital for Prince Albert. Cheveldayoff said the city needs to be recognized as the healthcare service centre for the North, and noted the provincial government has recently helped fund new hospitals in Moose Jaw, North Battleford and Swift Current.
“There will be one in Prince Albert as well,” Cheveldayoff said.
Dionne told paNOW he was satisfied with the candidate’s answer, and intends to ask the same question of all the other hopefuls when the visit the city.
“The Premier was pretty solid during the last campaign that we would have a regional hospital funded by the province, and that could change,” Dionne said. “I’m looking forward to the rest of them coming, and hearing what they have to say.”
The SaskParty will choose their new leader Jan. 27.
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