Saskatchewan

Saskatoon lawyer Kaitlyn Harvey 2nd to enter Sask. NDP leadership race

Saskatoon lawyer Kaitlyn Harvey has launched her bid for Saskatchewan NDP leadership.

Harvey ran for NDP in 2020 provincial election

Saskatoon lawyer Kaitlyn Harvey announced her bid to be the Saskatchewan NDP Leader on Tuesday morning. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC)

Saskatoon lawyer Kaitlyn Harvey has launched her bid for Saskatchewan NDP leadership.

She announced her run on Tuesday morning in Saskatoon.

Harvey described herself as a "Métis lawyer, researcher community organizer, and climate justice activist."

Harvey said she decided to enter the campaign more than two weeks ago.

"We are here for you, we are here for our kids, we are here for something different. We want a different future for this province and this is our time to make that happen," Harvey said.

She said she is pursuing the leadership for her 14-year-old son, who she referred to as "her boss."

Harvey got emotional during her speech describing the death of her cousin Brendan Vermette, who died last month at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary.

"The day he died of a drug overdose in the P.A. pen was the day I could not be silent anymore," Harvey said.

She said the party has advocated for things like harm reduction and mental health support, but that those efforts have "not gone far enough."

Harvey said climate action and reconciliation were at the top of her priority list.

"Our cultures and our communities are at risk from the decisions this government is making. It is 2022 and our emissions continue to be among the highest per capita in the world and they are not going down."

Harvey said the provincial government "wants to increase investment in oil and gas and fossil fuel resources when it needs be investing in communities to reduce our emissions and create new green jobs."

Kaitlyn Harvey stands in front of supporters at her campaign launch in Saskatoon. (Dan Zakreski/CBC)

Harvey was introduced by former Saskatoon NDP MLA Cathy Sproule.

"I've always been impressed by her enthusiasm and willingness to jump in. Kaitlyn's courage and strength are incredible to take on a challenge like this and that's exactly what this party needs to go forward into the future," Sproule said.

Saskatchewan NDP vice president Senos Timon also endorsed Harvey.

"I am proud to be here today in support of my friend Kaitlyn, an Indigenous woman and our first Indigenous NDP Leader coming June 26, and I'm hopeful the premier of Saskatchewan."

Harvey joins Regina Lakeview NDP MLA Carla Beck in the race to replace current Leader Ryan Meili who announced he was stepping down in February.

Beck has received endorsements from Regina caucus colleagues Trent Wotherspoon, Aleana Young and Nicole Sarauer.

Beck also picked up endorsements from seven women, all former party MLAs, including cabinet ministers Pat Atkinson, Doreen Hamilton and Deb Higgins.

Harvey called Beck a "great person who has done a lot of great work for this party" and said they are both working to benefit the community.

Harvey is not an elected MLA and there are no byelections on the horizon in which she could gain a seat in the legislature. 

Meili won a byelection in 2017 and then won the leadership in March 2018.

Harvey said she thinks not having a seat at the moment is a positive.

"I'm excited about the fact I don't have a seat. We've got two years before the next election and I can use that time to do the hard work that our party needs to go around the province talk to people and build capacity within our party." 

Harvey ran for the NDP unsuccessfully in the 2020 provincial election in Saskatoon Willowgrove, losing to the Saskatchewan Party candidate Ken Cheveldayoff by 3,900 votes.

She said became a candidate in 2020 right before the writ dropped and had 30 only days to campaign in a strong Saskatchewan Party constituency.

The NDP will hold its leadership vote in June in Regina.

To enter the race, leadership hopefuls must be members in good standing and meet the following requirements:

  • Signatures of at least 100 members — half of whom must be women or gender diverse — from at least 20 constituencies.
  • A non-refundable $4,000 registration fee.
  • Observe a campaign expenditure limit of $200,000.
  • Receive approval from the Saskatchewan NDP.

Party members will be able to cast their votes online or by mail-in ballot.

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