Sask. finance minister says budget update needed before leadership decision
Premier Brad Wall has set Aug. 28 deadline for leadership candidates to join race
Saskatchewan Finance Minister Kevin Doherty says he wants to present a budget update before he announces whether he'll jump into the race to replace Premier Brad Wall.
Doherty said on his way into a cabinet meeting that he wants to present the first-quarter financial picture by the end of this month.
"I'm the finance minister and I want to present the quarter-one update to the people of Saskatchewan," Doherty said Wednesday. "It doesn't have to be out by the end of August, but we want it out by the end of August, so we'll gear towards that."
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That's also near the Aug. 28 deadline Wall has set for cabinet ministers to make a decision on whether they'll run to lead the Saskatchewan Party and, ultimately, become premier.
Wall has said all ministers will be required to leave cabinet immediately if they decide to run.
"I'm not trying to be coy. You know, I've got some responsibilities I'm focused on as finance minister," Doherty said.
"We just found out late last week that the premier had made this decision in his life, for him and his family, and so it's a big step."
Wall announced Aug. 10 that he is stepping away from politics after 10 years as premier. He says the province and the party will benefit from a fresh perspective.
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Social Services Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor announced her intention to run on Tuesday. She won office just 16 months ago in the April 2016 election.
Justice Minister Gord Wyant, Parks Minister Ken Cheveldayoff and Health Minister Jim Reiter said on the way into the cabinet meeting that they're close to making decisions too.
Reiter said he's talking to family and friends as well as gauging caucus support.
"I realize time is short, so I'm not going to drag this on very long," said Reiter, who was first elected in 2007. "I'm going to
make a decision fairly shortly, but I'm very seriously considering it."
Cheveldayoff, who won office in 2003, said he has the backing of his family and his excited children are asking about how to sell party memberships to garner support.
"In a short period of time, I'll be able to share some news with the Saskatchewan public," said Cheveldayoff.
Wyant said there's a lot to consider before making his next move.
"This isn't just about becoming the leader of the party," said Wyant, who won a seat in a byelection in 2010.
"It's about becoming the premier and it's really, to my way of thinking, about the future of Saskatchewan, so that's quite a mantle of responsibility to think about."