MLA Corey Tochor to challenge 'polarizing' MP Brad Trost for Conservative Party nomination

The former speaker of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly has thrown his hat into the ring of federal politics.

Tochor stepped down as speaker of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly last week

MLA Corey Tochor (left) plans to contest the nomination of Conservative Party MP Brad Trost. (CBC/Liam Richards/The Canadian Press)

Corey Tochor says he plans to contest the federal riding of Saskatoon-University because it needs a fresh start, calling the current MP Brad Trost a "polarizing figure."  

The former speaker of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly announced on Monday he will run for the Conservative Party nomination.

"I believe the feelings are that we need a change and if we are going to put a candidate that can help Andrew Scheer become the next Prime Minister of Canada, that is a driving force that I can't turn down," said Tochor.

The seat is currently held by MP Brad Trost. Trost was elected in 2004. He ran for the leadership of the Conservative Party last year and came in fourth place.

Tochor to continue as MLA

Tochor was first elected as an MLA for Saskatoon Eastview in 2011 and was elected speaker in 2016.

He said he will not be stepping down from his role as MLA while he campaigns for the nomination.

"The role as MLA doesn't change," said Tochor. 

"I was elected to represent the people of Saskatoon and that continues but obviously we are going to take this challenge first and then look at decisions afterwards, hopefully as a successful candidate with the Conservative Party." 

Tochor said it was a difficult decision to step down from his role as speaker but he felt compelled to do so because he wants to help fight for a Conservative Party win at the next federal election in 2019.

Asked how he thinks Trost is failing in the role, Tochor said he believes Saskatoon University constituents are ready for change.

"Brad is, rightfully or wrongfully, a polarizing figure and I believe after talking to members and the public ... that we need still a principal voice but a fresh start," he said.

Redekopp also running for nomination

Saskatoon businessperson Brad Redekopp has also announced he will be contesting the nomination.

"I welcome Mr. Tochor to the race," Redekopp said in a news release. "As I talk with people in the riding, many have been looking for change and Mr. Tochor's entry highlights that fact even more."

A date for a nomination meeting has not been set.