Sask Party Leadership Week 6: The Redemption Tour




OH SORRY YOU WANT ME TO STOP YELLING okay that’s fine why didn’t you just say so.

For the love of all that is holey Ken Cheveldayoff’s social media needs to stop hollering at us in ALL CAPS.

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What They Got Up To

When he wasn’t breaking our eardrums on social media, Ken was crashing parties. I can tell this story because I was there, but am still going to try and keep details anonymous because the host would prefer it that way.

Every year a rather prominent Saskatchewan person (we’ll call him or her Sandy) holds an invite-only reception in September. Sandy is decidedly not a Chevy fan, so he wasn’t invited. That’s how that usually works.

Guess who showed up, wheedled his way inside, helped himself to Sandy’s free food and drinks, and campaigned to unwitting partygoers while studiously avoiding Sandy, who was outwardly furious?

That’s right.

#awkward #tacky

When he wasn’t snacking on shrimp cocktail he wasn’t entitled to, Chevy did release something resembling substance: the promise of high speed internet, via fibre optics, for rural Saskatchewan.

In five years, and at increased rates (he doesn’t specify if urban account holders would be expected to suck up the cost too).

This is all well and good, but not particularly groundbreaking given SaskTel started a fibre optics pilot program in rural Saskatchewan in the spring. A pilot program, because as SaskTel pointed out, installing fibre optic infrastructure across our vast, and often sparsely-populated province is a monolithic concept that you don’t rush in to. Ahem.

Scott Moe announced he will do what the Saskatchewan government has already said will: balance the budget by 2019-20. Given the current promise… does Moe know something we don’t? In fact, he says he can balance the budget AND reinstate the PST exemption on insurance premiums, forfeiting that forecast $150-million in revenue, getting there by not reducing the corporate tax rate as promised and by reducing the cost of the civil service by $150-million, or 5%, through retirement and attrition.

Hey, remember a few months ago when the Premier personally made the wildly unpopular announcement that the government was going to reduce the cost of the civil service by 3.5% through wage cuts? Clearly nobody told Wall that his government could reduce the civil service by a whopping 5%, simply by waiting for employees to leave on their own.

Color him embarrassed.

One other thing Moe got up to that really, really annoys me is this:


That’s a picture of Scott Moe last week, conducting an interview on his SaskParty leadership campaign with a Yorkton reporter… in Greg Ottenbreit’s MLA office.

You know, the office paid for by the taxpayer for Ottenbreit to execute his duties as a Member of the Legislative Assembly. The rules are extremely clear about what constituency offices are to be used for, and politics is not on that list.

I know it’s a little thing, but it’s the little things that bug me the most. These are the rules that are easiest to follow, so why break them… because you can? What happens if you get the power to break big rules?

Ottenbreit and Moe knew this wasn’t cool, because the picture was up on Facebook for about thirty seconds before it was ripped down.

I don’t know where to start with Alanna Koch. Maybe I should ask her, because it seems like nobody likes talking more about Alanna Koch than Alanna Koch.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone who uses the word “I” a lot? Grating, isn’t it? Some of the best advice one can receive on public speaking and broadcasting is to banish that word completely.

In a video posted to her Facebook page on September 30th, Koch uses “I” six times in 38 seconds, and says stuff like, “It’s been amazing to hear… how interested (people) are in my candidacy and how much support I’m getting and the momentum that’s building on my campaign.” Really. That must be delightful for… you.

On October 3rd Koch posted another video, this one 60 seconds, in which she says “I” 14 times.

“What people have told me about my leadership style is that I’m very authentic,” she says. “I come across as genuine and sincere and I think it’s because I really care about people.”

You know who needs to say that about Alanna Koch?

Not Alanna Koch.

Honestly, if you claim other people say you’re authentic and sincere, the last thing I’m going to believe is that you are authentic and sincere.

Combine this with with some of her comments in media lately, and it kind of seems like Koch needs a reality check.

“Koch has not yet unveiled any policy points,” read a recent article about Koch’s stop in Prince Albert. “She said she “wouldn’t want to make promises” that she can’t keep….she’s not campaigning to make promises, but to engage supporters and lay out the principles she’s running on.”

Look, when you’re campaigning you don’t “lay out” anything for voters – you listen as voters lay out what’s important to them. Further, it’s absolutely jaw-dropping that anyone who has never actually been elected thinks it’s totally fine to parachute into the Premier’s office without gracing us with policy or, god forbid, promises.

You know how employers write mandate letters to their employees telling them how to do their job? Last week Koch called a news conference to announce that she was releasing a mandate letter to the people of Saskatchewan.

Sooooo, we work for Koch? What?

Confused? So were media, who didn’t report on it because it was dumb (and potentially put her campaign’s future media coverage in jeopardy, because reporters’ time is valuable and the so-called announcement she hauled them out for was definitely not).

What’s in the mandate letter? It was about her (surprise!) and what her mandate will be as Premier. Most people call those “promises” but not Koch, apparently, because those she’d have to keep. What I know for sure is nobody has given her the mandate to do anything yet, and if they do, those that elect her will be writing it, not her.

Tina Beaudry-Mellor was in northern Saskatchewan, because her “vision to build Saskatchewan into the economic powerhouse of the West includes a plan for northern communities in the province” which have “struggled with higher rates of suicide, domestic violence, and HIV and AIDS…symptoms of poverty, low graduation rates, and birth rates twice the rest of the province”.

This grand plan seems like something she could have came up with when she was, oh I don’t know, Minister of Social f***ing Services, but sure, why not.

Gord Wyant, who IMHO is emerging as the most balanced, solid contender, was pretty quiet, perhaps because he was the living embodiment of a SaskTel commercial, embarking on a marathon road trip that took him from Maple Creek to Melfort and beyond.

Doubling down on his efforts to continue to detach himself from the federal Liberals, Wyant picked up a picket sign and marched with the Regina Chamber of Commerce against the Trudeau government’s proposed tax changes, and railed against the decision to scrap Energy East, which many folks around here are also hanging on the feds shoulders.

Wyant, bless his heart, was also caught up in some fantastic contenders for Awkward Family Photos:

Is it just me or do they all look like they’re gritting their teeth and trying not to touch each other?

And my god do I love this one:


Olauson: “Guys can I be on the front bench for on-”

Everyone else: “Nope.”

Chevy: “I don’t know what to do with my hands.”

Kid to his right: “Point at your crotch!”

Here’s where each candidate has been in the last couple of weeks:

Gord Wyant: Maple Creek, Eston, Elrose, Blaine Lake, North Battleford, Melfort, St. Brieux, Weyburn, Regina, Grenfell, Yorkton, Saskatoon, Davidson

Alanna Koch: Prince Albert, Meadow Lake, Lloydminster, Unity

Scott Moe: Saskatoon, Watrous, Humboldt, Saskatoon, Melfort, Outlook, Beechy , Kindersley

Ken Cheveldayoff: Weyburn, Yorkton, Saskatoon

What They Need To Do Next

I feel like a broken record, but Ken Cheveldayoff’s digital campaign is a mess. The SHOUTING, the weird collage videos that look like they’ve been put together by an 8th grade classroom working using MS-DOS; I don’t get it. Chevy has the money to hire professionals, so why isn’t he?

Oh, and the address for his MLA web page now points to his leadership page. If I was in his riding I’d be less than impressed, and ask him to reinstate the proper channels to contact him in the capacity to which he’s been elected.

Alanna Koch needs to stop talking about herself and start talking about concerns she’s hearing, and what she’s going to do about them. However, if you believe her messaging, she’s not hearing any concerns because everything in Saskatchewan is totally fine and nothing needs to change. For example, she’s “not sure” a public inquiry into the GTH is “absolutely necessary” – are you kidding me right now? Even the SaskPartiest-SaskPartier wants one. To me this suggests that she’s either not being honest with us, or not being honest with herself. Either way it’s a problem.

According to pretty much everyone, Scott’s Moe-mentum has flatlined, which is going to be a problem for both him and half of the SaskParty caucus, which will be faced with ass-kissing a leader they rejected.

And, his optics still suck. Seriously, what is this supposed to be?


Stoic? Thoughtful? Sleeping with your eyes open?

Between the weird pictures and videos, and both him and Koch hiding behind status quo messaging (Koch described herself to a reporter as an “insider-outsider” – wtf does that even mean?) they’ve told members precisely zero about themselves. Combined. Define yourselves – not by talking about yourselves, by standing out. Post testimonials to your authenticity voiced by someone who actually said it. Do SOMETHING.

Gord Wyant needs to keep up the rural Saskatchewan tour. He’s begun the process of defining himself quite nicely and will need to continue reinforcing it, member by member. I’d also like to see another bold policy announcement and some engagement with First Nations communities and issues.

Tina’s northern visit is going to win her precisely zero votes, and feels a bit like a) the Tina Beaudry-Mellor Redemption Tour instead of a leadership campaign, and b) defeat. That said, I’d love to see her keep it up for as long as she’s in this thing, because it gives me a glimmer of hope that inside the Sask Party at least one person has new ideas and cares about something other than business and bashing the federal government, even if their timing is off and these ideas would have been far more helpful a year ago.

One last thought: some of you are asking/snarking about why I’m not blogging/snarking about the NDP leadership race. I’ve said I will, but right now, frankly, I don’t care. The SaskParty race decides who will become this province’s next Premier so it’s way higher on my priority list.

T-10 days and counting to the first SaskParty leadership debate…

For those of you who care, I’m Tammy Robert. I’m a writer, but pay the bills consulting in media and public relations. Email me anytime at

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7 thoughts on “Sask Party Leadership Week 6: The Redemption Tour

  1. And who said that true journalism is dead. My hat is off to you young lady you, are a shining star in the rather foggy political landscape of Sask mired with scandal and
    deceit of which there seems to be no escape. Thank-you and keep up the great journalism. Francis…

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I had a glance at Koch’s manifesto-thingy… I found myself sliding into despair at the thought that here’s yet another that thinks government and business should run along similar principles. That’s the sort of thinking that gets STC cancelled because it’s unprofitable in terms of money, without serious consideration of the value to the province’s social fabric (which I use as an example only; not trying to flog a dead thing).


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