Sask. Party MLA Bill Hutchinson loses nomination bid
Muhammad Fiaz wins contested nomination for Regina Pasqua
Saskatchewan Party MLA Bill Hutchinson has lost his bid to represent his party in the next provincial election.
On Monday night, Hutchinson was in the running at the Regina Pasqua nomination meeting, but he lost to a political newcomer: small business operator Muhammad Fiaz.
On his Twitter feed, Premier Brad Wall congratulated Fiaz for winning and "his friend" Hutchinson, who represents Regina South, for conducting a strong campaign.
Fiaz, a driving instructor and a part-owner of a jewelry business, pledged to work hard to earn the support of people in Regina Pasqua, which is a new riding in the next election but covers some of the same territory as Regina South.
Hutchinson, who congratulated Fiaz and thanked his supporters, was first elected to the legislature in 2007 and re-elected in 2011.
He held three cabinet posts, but was dropped from cabinet in 2012.
That followed weeks of criticism from the film industry over the cancellation of the Saskatchewan film tax program, which was part of his portfolio as culture minister.
Hutchinson also took some flak for an incident at a shopping mall during the 2011 campaign when he pretended to be meeting random members of the public, but was actually meeting and greeting his own campaign workers.
Few sitting MLAs lose nomination
It's a rarity in Saskatchewan politics for a sitting MLA to lose his or her party's nomination.
It happened in 2011, when Denis Allchurch lost the Rosthern-Shellbrook nomination to Scott Moe, who went on to win the seat in the general election.
The next election is scheduled for 2015.