Former Kindersley Sask Party MLA Jason Dearborn has announced he will run as an independent against the incumbent, and beleaguered, Bill Boyd.
This he declared from the steps of the Saskatchewan Legislature moments ago, after spending the morning with the RCMP filing a criminal complaint against Boyd over the GTH land deal.
Dearborn – who one Sask Party insider told me earlier today was not particularly popular in caucus – swiped the nomination, and the seat, from Boyd in 2002, after Boyd stepped down and a by-election was called. Dearborn was then was re-elected in 2003 for a four year term. He retired prior to the 2007 general election, upon which Boyd was re-nominated as the Sask Party candidate… won the riding…and here we are.
A fifth-generation Kindersley farmer, Dearborn has a bazillion degrees in busy-business stuff, including one from England’s Oxford University, and has been building empires since he left the Legislature. He founded Brecknock Breweries, which has since gone public; has held a number of high-powered roles in Saskatchewan corporations like Brandt Industries; and most recently Dominion Bitcoin Mining Company, of which he is Chairman.
Dearborn was a provocative figure as a politician, once suggesting former NDP Premier Lorne Calvert should be shot.*
He’s had his share of drama in business, as well.
In 2014, Saskatchewan’s Financial and Consumer Affairs Authority (FCAA) announced that it had served a temporary cease-trade order against Dearborn’s Dominion Bitcoin, alleging that the company appeared to be soliciting investors and trading securities without the proper registration or paperwork.
Okay, this is the same FCAA that didn’t notice one Saskatchewan company milking over a thousand investors for $20-million over almost two decades. I can see where Dearborn, who founded Dominion Bitcoin with former Sask Party president Peter Voldeng, might feel a bit put upon.
Dominion Bitcoin, along with Dearborn and Voldeng, were fully exonerated by the Saskatchewan FCAA last year.
So what’s Dearborn’s bombshell today all about? Retribution? Democracy? Fighting for the voters of Kindersley?
We’ll find out soon enough.
If he comes out of the gate – tomorrow morning – prepared, with a strong campaign team, message, and is genuinely organized, this could be quite the battle. There are a shocking number of diehard conservatives in Kindersley, who I’m hearing from firsthand, who are not happy with Boyd. At all. There’s no real risk in Kindersley of a vote split in favor of the Saskatchewan NDP, but if Dearborn backs up today’s talk with the walk, this could become a heated two-way battle.
Or, Dearborn will have nothing properly organized beyond his visit to the RCMP and today’s media event. In that case, his announcement will be almost immediately written off as a stunt, and he will be irrelevant to the Kindersley campaign within a week.
At the very least, I imagine the Sask Party has woken up and for the first time in decades, has to figure out how to put resources into campaigning in Kindersley. Will they even know what that requires?
Word is that Dearborn didn’t come up with this plan overnight, and is well-organized and staffed. Regardless, his next 48-72 hours of campaigning in Kindersley will be crucial to whether or not this pans out as a blip, or a battle.
*Updated – Stefani Langenegger pointed out that Dearborn nominated Lorne Calvert as someone who should be shot; he didn’t threaten to shoot Calvert himself. Ah, politics.