The Saskatchewan Liberal Party announced their first set of candidates for the 2020 provincial election, with three people taking a run at seats in Saskatoon and Regina.
The candidates, revealed July 20, includes leader Naveed Anwar, who will run in Saskatoon University.
Anwar resides in Saskatoon with his wife, Farah. They have two children. He is the owner of a tax consulting firm with operations in both Saskatoon and Prince Albert. He grew up in Pakistan, studying Statistics and Mathematics at the University of Punjab (Lahore) and Business at Concordia University in Montreal. Anwar became party leader in 2018 after first running as a candidate in 2016.
“We, as the party, we have decided not to go with a full slate,” Anwar said on July 24. “We will be nominating less people than last election. Well we haven't decided how many it will be, but we are looking at the ridings where we have a significant presence.”
He said they’re looking at running candidates in 15 to 20 ridings, and they would likely be in Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw.
“Mostly, we are sticking to urban areas,” he said.
The three candidates announced have all run before, but their constituencies have changed. Their nominations were not contested.
Robert Rudachyk is running Saskatoon Westview. Rudachyk is a father of two “with a passion for human rights and the environment,” according to the party’s July 20 press release. “As a renewable energy advocate, he would like to see our province achieve its full potential through economic and energy diversification.”
Bruno Sahut will represent the Party in Regina Lakeview. Sahut was educated in France as well as Canada where he obtained his university education and worked as a student leader. Throughout his life, he has advocated for unionization and other social causes, the release noted.
Liberal policy focuses
Anwar said the party will focus on four policy areas: climate change initiatives, immigration, health and education.
On immigration, Anwar said, “This government don't know what they are doing it, and the province is lacking for the skilled workers. Progress in this province is getting slower day-by-day since 2012.”
Anwar said the construction industry is especially affected, and 30 or 40 industries are going “downward.”
“Health is another major issue for us in this province,” he said.
Anwar said the Saskatchewan Party government has set goal for a higher population in Saskatchewan, “but they are not giving any idea, any policy on how they are going to fit, schools, classrooms, education funding.”
He added, “If the population grows in this province, what about the health, hospitals and health providers? So, on one side, they are saying that they want to increase the population in province, but another side, they are not giving anything. So where are they going to put the children in the schools? Where are they going to put people if they get sick in hospitals?”
“We need both in education more funding, more schools, as well as more hospitals, more beds.”
With regards to the COVID-19 response, Anwar says Saskatchewan’s government is “only following a copycat program from Europe or south of the border. They are not doing any tailor-made local programs, which they are supposed to be, because we were totally different than let’s say New York, Los Angeles, London. They are waiting for whatever the world is telling them. Let’s see if New York City tomorrow is going to be the mask policy, they will follow the mask policy. If they say we need more ventilators, the government will take more ventilators. But there is no local-made policy.”
Asked what he suggest instead, Anwar said, “We should listen to the medical community, health community in the province, and we have to create a program that fits for the health workers, not what we receive from other countries. Every country has different dynamics. Every country has a different way of approaching, so we don't have to follow those rules. Of course, there are some of the universal rules are, which we should adopt, but the most, most part we have to look at the local needs.
He referred to how La Loche was essentially totally locked down, creating a black market economy.
“Rather than listening to people providing them with necessities. It was totally shut off,” he said.
“I am suggesting that it should be on a scientific basis and then we have to some kind of a testing method that if somebody want to move from north to south and visit with a business or personal or family business, they should be tested and let it be integrated.”
He said testing should be used to allow people to visit areas, like La Loche, which have been locked down.