Saskatchewan

Carla Beck wins Sask. NDP leadership, first woman to be elected leader

Carla Beck made history on Sunday afternoon in Regina, becoming the first woman elected to lead the Saskatchewan NDP.

Beck received 70 per cent of vote

Carla Beck was elected Saskatchewan NDP Leader on Sunday receiving 70 per cent of the party vote. (Olivier Rouquairol Jodouin/Radio-Canada)

Carla Beck made history on Sunday afternoon in Regina, becoming the first woman elected to lead the Saskatchewan NDP.

Beck received 3,244 votes to Kaitlyn Harvey's 1,492 in the race, held after Ryan Meili's announced in February that he would be stepping down as leader.

"The only way I can thank you is to take back this province," Beck said after her victory.

Beck said the NDP are the party that can deliver the change people are looking for.

"We can win and then we can deliver the positive change and the future we all want for our province," she said.

In her speech before the in-person vote Beck called for party unity. "Everyone has a role and a place in our party," Beck said.

"Fear and division, that's the Sask. Party way. We know we are stronger together."

Beck received the endorsement of six of her NDP caucus colleagues, including Doyle Vermette, who introduced her Sunday. She was also endorsed by more than a dozen former NDP MLAs.

Harvey calls for action on climate change 

In her speech before the in-person vote, Harvey's pitch to members focused on the province's future in a changing climate. 

"We don't have any more time to wait for action. We need to demand better of our elected officials."

Harvey said there has been "a lot of talk" of new parties being formed and said the NDP needs to address that.

Kaitlyn Harvey received 1,492 votes in the leadership race. (Olivier Rouquairol Jodouin/Radio-Canada)

She concluded her speech asking members to support a petition from Liberal Party Leader Jeff Walters calling for an inquiry into the provincial government's handling of the pandemic.

Harvey also said she would be launching a petition into an inquiry into the province's handling of forestry.

Last month, Meili said he would be leaving politics altogether, resigning from his seat in Saskatoon Meewasin as of July 1.

Harvey has announced she intends to seek the party nomination in Meili's seat.

Meili calls for party unity

Before the vote, outgoing leader Ryan Meili addressed the delegates.

Meili did not endorse either candidate during the three-month campaign and did not on Sunday.

"Today, we elect the first woman who will serve as the premier of Saskatchewan."

Meili said he and others "spent too much time fighting internal battles. Who wants to join a team that's fighting amongst itself?" 

He called on members to not divide following the vote result but to work together, saying "every one of those NDP MLAs is driven by a love for the people of Saskatchewan."

Former Premier Lorne Calvert applauds former NDP Leader Ryan Meili. Members stood to acknowledge Meili after he was thanked by new party leader Carla Beck. (Olivier Rouquairol Jodouin/Radio-Canada)

Meili also took a shot at his political foe, Premier Scott Moe, criticizing Moe's "evolution".

"Scott Moe's ongoing evolution to a hard right, anti-vax, anti-science, insurrection cosplay supporting, post-truth Trump Republican."

Meili said he is looking forward to helping patients as a doctor and spending more time with his wife and two sons.

LISTEN | Political panel discusses upcoming NDP election and what will face the winner

The Saskatchewan NDP will elect its next leader this weekend. We talk with our panel Adam Hunter of CBC Saskatchewan and Leader-Post opinion columnist Murray Mandryk about the two candidates seeking the job and what will face the winner.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Adam Hunter

Journalist

Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for more than 14 years. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him: adam.hunter@cbc.ca

With files from Dayne Patterson

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