The Sask NDP has just shared the final membership list with both campaigns, and we’re thrilled to welcome so many new members. If you’re new to the party, welcome. We look forward to working with you to build the Saskatchewan NDP into a vibrant force for change.
This has been a campaign of big ideas. But of course, to make any of these big ideas a reality, we need to win the next election and form government so we can get government working for Saskatchewan people.
How do we do this, and who is best positioned to make it happen?
We believe there are seven things we need to do to win, and that Ryan Meili is the leader to make it happen.
Continue to grow the party
We need to inspire new people to join our movement for a better Saskatchewan — not just to vote for us, but to become the leaders who build it.
Over the past several months, Ryan’s campaign has signed up many hundreds of people who have never joined a political party before, and many hundreds more who used to be members but had lost interest in recent years. Many have joined our team of over 400 volunteers. These are people who are excited about what’s possible and willing to work hard to achieve it — they are the future of our party, and we are thrilled to welcome them to it. Through their tireless work, we have built a strong base of support within the party, as shown by the only independent poll of members in this race.
We know that longtime party members are thrilled to see the party growing once again, and eager to work with the new faces showing up to meetings and debates.
2. Tell a better story
Historically, our party’s best leaders have been storytellers. A good storyteller can communicate big ideas in ways that people can relate to, and inspire people to join them in building that vision.
There’s no denying that the Sask Party had a great communicator in Brad Wall. He was able to sell an story of Saskatchewan — not one that worked for everyone, but for some. Scott Moe will struggle to keep spinning that tale that so many have come to question.
We win when we tell a story in which Saskatchewan voters can see themselves and their future. That speaks not only to their fears and frustrations, but also to their hopes and dreams, and their ideas of what we can and should achieve together. Ryan’s story of a healthy society has excited and inspired many — the healthcare professionals he has taught at the University of Saskatchewan, the public he reached with the organization he founded, Upstream, and the constituents in Saskatoon Meewasin who gave him a convincing mandate just a year ago. And whether it’s on the doorstep or in the legislature, his wealth of experience and his authentic care for the people of this province shine through, as you can see in this TEDx Talk where he outlines his approach to health and politics:
3. Keep up the momentum
The NDP has won two by-elections in a row, starting with Ryan’s decisive victory last March in a seat the Sask Party had held for two terms. Saskatchewan people have begun to stand up and fight back against a bad government’s dangerous decisions. New Democrats will be working hard to hold that government to account from now until Election Day, but we need to offer people something to vote for, not just against. Ryan has the energy and dynamism to lead the charge. A poll last summer found him to be the most popular provincial politician in Saskatchewan, with 63% approval, with solid support among women and men, seniors and youth, urban and rural. Ryan’s strong reputation as a principled leader offers the NDP a unique opportunity to build a province-wide coalition for change.
4. Reach new audiences
There are so many ways the NDP can and must be connecting with Saskatchewan voters these days, and we need to be using all of them. When our message isn’t getting through via traditional media, we need to be able to speak directly to people -- in face-to-face meetings where possible, but also through telephone town halls like the one we held in December, Facebook Live conversations like the one we held in January, engaging and creative social media posts, and direct face-to-face outreach from our energized volunteers. Ryan’s team has shown an incredible ability to combine traditional phone and mail outreach with the use of the latest communications technology, as evidenced by the huge advantage in social media engagement over any of the recent Saskatchewan leadership campaigns.
Ryan’s rural upbringing and his years spent working as a doctor in rural and northern Saskatchewan equip him well to be having these conversations with people all over the province. He’s a firm believer that if you meet people where they are and seek common ground, you can find agreement and support in every community. Ryan’s message of building an economy that works for everyone has been attracting support, in-person and online, in every walk of life and every corner of the province.
5. Share an inspiring vision
We’ve heard time and again that people want to hear more than just what we’re fighting against — they want to hear what we’re fighting for. For us to defeat the Sask Party, it’s not enough to just criticize their approach, we need to show we’re ready to lead with a clear vision of our own.
We set the tone for progressive policy ideas in this campaign by committing to a $15/hour minimum wage.
We committed to a new relationship with teachers, with high quality, equitable K-12 education and affordable, accessible universal early childhood education.
We put forth a plan to reduce our emissions by 30% through bold investment in clean energy.
These and many other great ideas have met with incredible excitement and interest as people have signed up to join a campaign with a consistent vision for the future.
6. Take fundraising to a new level
Because of Saskatchewan’s election finance laws, the NDP is woefully outspent each year by the Sask Party and the big corporations who back it. How do we win against that kind of influence? We win by calling out this corrupting influence on our politics, and building a movement of thousands of small donors to fight it. Because while they may have the numbered companies, we have the numbers. Once in government, we bring in comprehensive campaign finance reform to ensure free and fair elections on a level playing field.
Ryan leads his competitor in the NDP leadership race in fundraising by a significant margin. He also has had more individual donors contributing than any candidate for leader of the Sask Party, and has the lowest average donation. These are important signs of the broad support, energy and excitement New Democrats can count on when we lead with a bold vision of a better Saskatchewan.
Ryan knows that for the party to be successful in implementing its larger goals for social change, it first needs to have its own financial house in order. An ability to mobilize small donors around a commitment to doing politics differently is essential to our success.
7. Be The Change
People are tired of the same old story. Tired of being told that there’s no alternative to deep cuts to education, the sell-off or shutdown of our crowns, or a quarter of Saskatchewan children living in poverty. People are looking for change, while the Sask Party is offering them more-of-the-same.
But for us to be the change that people choose, we need to show that we’ve changed as well. That doesn’t mean compromising on our principles. Far from it. It means being clear about what we believe, and what we can achieve when we all work together.
Ryan’s career has been one of bringing forth new ideas, such as working to start the SWITCH student-run clinic in Saskatoon, starting the national advocacy organization Upstream, or outlining a new approach to politics in his book A Healthy Society. He has a remarkable ability to find solutions to what some would see as insurmountable challenges, and building teams that can make it happen.
It’s that kind of a fresh approach — a new way of doing politics — that New Democrats need to win the next election and to once again be national leaders in taking bold new ideas and making them a reality.
The next step is yours...
With hope and determination,
Ryan's campaign team