With heavy Sask. Party caucus backing, Scott Moe enters leadership race

Former Environment Minister Scott Moe has announced his candidacy for Saskatchewan Party leadership.

Moe resigned from cabinet earlier this week

MLA Scott Moe, centre, announces his candidacy for the Saskatchewan Party leadership race. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

Scott Moe, who resigned from cabinet as environment minister earlier this week, has announced his candidacy for Saskatchewan Party leadership.

Moe, who represents the Rosthern-Shellbrook constituency, announced his candidacy in a trucking yard north of Saskatoon Friday morning.

"I needed to know that I had the support of many of my colleagues," said Moe. "I thank them for that."

Moe was flanked by a number of prominent Saskatchewan Party caucus members, including Finance Minister Donna Harpauer, Advanced Education Minister Kevin Doherty and Education Minister Bronwyn Eyre.

Health Minister Jim Reiter introduced Moe, saying Moe had become "a leader in our caucus and in our cabinet."

Meadow Lake MLA Jeremy Harrison, who pulled out of the leadership race Friday morning to endorse Moe, also attended.

Joining Moe for his announcement was Jeremy Harrison, centre, who earlier in the morning had pulled out of the race and endorsed Moe. Harrison declined to comment on his decision. (Guy Quenneville/CBC)

Harrison declined to comment on his decision, saying, "I'll be commenting in the future. It's Scott's day today."

Drunk driving conviction 

Following his announcement, Moe addressed his 1992 conviction for drunk driving at the age of 18.

"It's something that I truly regret," he said.

"It's also something that's part of me. It's part of the decisions I make in caucus and cabinet and in my life and we've made some of those decisions quite frankly in caucus, in cabinet."

Last year, the provincial government introduced stricter anti-drunk driving rules, including the ability of police to seize and impound the car of an experienced driver found to have .04 to .08 per cent alcohol in their blood — on a first offence.

Moe's remarks about his conviction came only days after the government erected the first official roadside memorial dedicated to victims of impaired driving in the province. 

Carbon tax

Moe reserved his most forceful words for an agenda item of departing Premier Brad Wall.

"Let me be clear: we will fight any notion of a federally imposed carbon tax on the people of this province," he said to the crowd of supporters, drawing the strongest applause of the morning.

The other four candidates running include Ken Cheveldayoff, Gord Wyant, Tina Beaudry-Mellor and Alanna Koch. All are former cabinet ministers in Wall's government except Koch, his former deputy minister. 

Candidates have until Nov. 24 to file their nomination papers. Sask. Party members will elect a new leader — and by default, a new premier — in January 2018.

Wall announced this summer he was retiring from politics.