Members of Saskatchewan's provincial NDP who met in Prince Albert last weekend are hopeful they can build toward a 2011 election win.

"There's a growing momentum, and that's not to say that we're winning in this race," said NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter. "I think we're behind, but the momentum is there."

"What keeps me awake at night is making sure we're thinking the process and policies through to make sure the platform we do get out in front of the public is the right one," Lingenfelter said.

The NDP lost ten seats and control of the provincial government in the last election.

Lingenfelter said the party has a lot of ground to cover, but it will be ready to win the 2011 provincial election.

"When people ask you, can we win the next election, I want you to tell them, 'you bet we can,'" he told delegates to the convention in Prince Albert, Sask.

Ads to be critical, not personal

Dale Schmeichel, NDP campaign manager, said the party will use TV campaign ads this year.

Schmeichel said the ads will be critical of the Saskatchewan Party, but won't attack its leader, Brad Wall.

"I think that's a better way to go, than to engage in personal attack ads," said Schmeichel.  "But I guess we'll see."

The party, which wants half of its candidates nominated by the end of June, has formally introduced criminal record checks and candidate-screening questionnaires into its nomination process.

"Really it's just a formalization of a process we've always had, "said Jane Wollenberg, NDP president. "Informally, we've always checked the background of people; made sure they're people we want running for the party. We've just been formalizing it through this process."