Sask. NDP party picks new interim leader
Published Saturday, November 19, 2011 6:09PM CST
Its official: John Nilson is the acting leader of the Saskatchewan NDP.
He is the longest serving MLA in the NDP caucus, going on 17 years.
In a provincial council meeting Saturday in Regina, Nilson was the sole nominee, and the MLA for Regina-Lakeview was elected unanimously.
"I'm one who has taken a balanced approached as we've dealt with many issue both within the party and the govt. It's important when you go into a leadership time to have somebody that everybody has seen playing a positive role," says Nilson.
NDP members, like Sandra Morin are confident with their choice of leader "John has a long history with the party, certainly has a lot of experience. He will bring a very good approach to the situation as an interim leader."
Nilson says he wants to rebuild the party so the next leader can move forward and win the 2015 election.
His first task? Prepare for the fall session and choose the critics. His focus is to ensure that all Saskatchewan residents benefit from the booming economy.
As for the permanent leader, Nilson says the choice won't be easy. "It'll be somebody who recognizes that leadership means bringing everybody along so that they all share in what happens in the economy of the province."
But Nilson says it won't be him. He thinks its crucial to have someone who is prepared to serve for many more years. Some members are speculating it will be the younger generation stepping up to take control of the now struggling party.
Kevin Miller is a member of the Saskatchewan Young New Democrats. He thinks a younger leader could have its advantages. "I think if you look at the people who expected to run, they are a younger group of people within the party, Cam Broten, Trent Wotherspoon."
The next NDP provincial council meeting will be held in late February or early March. That's when the party will determine the rules and timing for the next leadership race. Until then, Nilson will lead the nine-member caucus.