PROFILE: Dwain Lingenfelter
Leader of the New Democratic Party
He's been hit with some brickbats and broadsides in his first two years as New Democratic leader, but Dwain Lingenfelter doesn’t seem to be letting it bother him.
"We’re moving on," the 62-year-old Shaunavon native told CBC News this summer after the NDP came under scrutiny for running a controversial ad with spliced-together quotes from Premier Brad Wall.
It was one of a few fires Lingenfelter has had to put out since returning to Saskatchewan from Calgary, where he worked as a vice-president for the energy company Nexen Inc.
Before his nine-year stint in the private sector, he had been deputy premier and one of the most powerful cabinet ministers in former Premier Roy Romanow’s government in the 1990s.
Returning for the 2009 leadership contest, Lingenfelter was put on the spot when hundreds of new NDP members his campaign signed up turned out to be people who had no interest in or knowledge about joining.
He later apologized for the actions of what he called an "overzealous" worker.
Since then, Lingenfelter gone to work criticizing the Wall government, arguing that he’s fighting for working families.
He has accused government-owned SaskEnergy of gouging the public with high natural gas prices.
He’s attacked the government’s record on housing, and promised to restore a universal subsidy on chiropractic services that the Wall government cut.
He's also argued Saskatchewan should be socking away more of its resource wealth in long-term savings.
A different style?
Occasionally, Lingenfelter’s style has contrasted with the nice-guy image his predecessor Lorne Calvert projected.
During a heated exchange in the legislature, Lingenfelter once referred to Wall as "the little thief from Swift Current."
Another time, when he referred to Wall as a "loser," the Saskatchewan Party accused him of bad-mouthing the province, something he denied. But he didn’t back away from using the word.
"When I refer to a loser, I'm not talking about anyone but Brad Wall," Lingenfelter said.
Lingenfelter, the incumbent in Regina Douglas Park, has a long record of electoral success, having been elected MLA in Shaunavon in 1978 and 1982 and in Regina in 1988, 1991,1995 and 1999. Only in 1986 did voters fail to return him to office.
Newspaper public opinion polls have suggested Lingenfelter’s personal popularity lags well behind Wall, something he said last year he planned to address.
"It tells me I've got to work harder and work smarter and change some of the ways that we're approaching politics because obviously it hasn't been working," he said.
Will a changed approach pay off for Lingenfelter at the ballot box? The public will find out Nov. 7.