Warren Michelson on Scott Moe and Brad Wall's Legacy.
Excitement and optimism is how Moose Jaw North MLA, Warren Michelson, describes new SaskParty Leader and Premier elect of Saskatchewan, Scott Moe.
Moe, the MLA for Rosthern-Shellbrook managed to defeat Alanna Koch and claim the leadership in the fifth round of voting in Saskatoon this past Saturday.
Michelson, who supported third place finisher Ken Cheveldayoff, said the leadership convention was one which saw those in attendance shifting their support to flow behind the new leader.
“In the end there was an overwhelming wave of support for the new leader,” Michelson said, adding “everybody accepted this as the democratic process and the results.”
One of the big things Michelson said came out of the race was the fact the SaskParty had such strong candidates to chose from.
“We were fortunate to have five people with such fine credentials. You have to look at how only a few hundred votes were separating them (the top four)…it attests to the talent in the race,” he said.
The strength of the candidates and the race itself should help the SaskParty, Michelson stated. Many ordinary people came out to participate and express their views and support.
“We heard from all over the province some of the stuff the Party has to work on. His (new SaskParty leader and Premier elect Scott Moe’s) agenda and priorities will take a priority. But the agenda is no different than the rest of the caucus,” Michelson stated, adding caucus meetings are open and members have their say and are heard.
Asked what effect selecting Moe might have on Moose Jaw, Michelson said “I don't think things will change, Moose Jaw has always been part of the mix. We are not at the cabinet table but we (Michelson and Wakamow MLA Greg Lawrence) are heard.”
Michelson pointed to the fact that Moose Jaw now has a new hospital, something “formerly two cabinet ministers (former NDP MLAs Glenn Hagel and Deb Higgins) and Premier (Moose Jaw native Lorne Calvert) wouldn't bring to Moose Jaw. It was part of my priorities when elected. Moose Jaw has done fairly well without a cabinet minister.”
Asked about Lumsden-Morse MLA and Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart, who has an office in Moose Jaw, if he helps speak for Moose Jaw, Michelson stated “his constituency doesn’t include Moose Jaw, but Greg and I can talk to him anytime.” The Lumsden-Morse constituency completely surrounds Moose Jaw.
Regarding the future of Alanna Koch, rumoured to be in doubt in local conservative circles, Michelson said he had “not heard a thing. Alanna is a very talented lady there. It's up to her whether she wants to stay.”
Although he never publicly supported Moe, Michelson stated he has a friendship with the new Premier. When Michelson faced a serious challenge for the SaskParty nomination by Party insider, Shelley Jones, the future Premier elect encouraged him.
“He (Moe) was one of the people who encouraged me. Other people stayed away from you and let the democratic process play out. He encouraged me to continue,” Michelson stated.
When asked the obvious question when it came to comparing Moe to outgoing Premier Brad Wall, Michelson said Wall was one of those few leaders who come up in a lifetime.
“During your lifetime, there are half a dozen leaders who stand out, who are really inspiring leaders with incredible communication skills,” he said, adding “you don't find many people with those respective talents.”
Michelson pointed out Moe’s strongest points are encouraging people and leadership.
“I wanted my candidate (Cheveldayoff) to win and so did everybody else for whomever they supported...it's not hard to get behind him, he presents very well and people are excited,” he said.
Asked if Moe was stuffy or an ordinary guy Michelson replied the Premier elect is "down to earth."
“He is down to earth. He has run businesses and farmed and is well rounded in a lot of aspects and open to suggestions to make the province stronger. He is easy to talk to,” Michelson stated.
About what a likely cabinet might look like, Michelson said the Party had many good people in the caucus and there were some alliances from those who had supported Moe, but the Premier elect would “look at all people’s talents” before deciding what the new government would look like.