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Wilson defeats Dennis to win Canora-Pelly Sask Party nomination

Wilson said the Canora-Pelly constituency is more than just a region on a map, “It's a source of inspiration. It's what drove me to seek the nomination."

CANORA — “Wow. I can't believe I'm standing here with all of you, as the SaskParty candidate for Canora-Pelly. This is something else!”

After more than 1,000 votes were counted, Sean Wilson was declared the winner at the Sask Party nomination meeting held at the Sylvia Fedoruk Centre in Canora on Oct. 17.

Prior to the election, both candidates, Wilson and Terry Dennis had the opportunity to address the audience of Sask Party members. The candidates drew for speaking order, with Wilson taking to the stage first.

As meeting chair and constituency president Kris Cherewyk stated before the speeches, “This evening we are reaffirming the principles of democracy. A lot of places in the world right now there is tyranny and oppression with a lack of democracy.”

Wilson: You want to be heard

Wilson opened his speech with the reminder that, “Change is the law of life. Those who look only to the past and present are certain to miss the future.”

He stated that he does not claim to have all the answers, “but is someone who has listened, learned, and is ready to serve.

“I've traveled throughout our constituency, from Canora, where I graduated in '97, to every corner of our region. I've met and re-met many of you, and the message is clear: you want to be heard.”

Wilson said he has made a point of meeting with as many municipal councils as possible.

“From the largest to the smallest, the concerns are consistent. It's not just about healthcare wait times; it's about having access to basic health services in our hometowns. It's about the state of our highways and the quality of our infrastructure.”

He made it clear that there are many areas of concern regarding the actions and policies of the federal government.

“It’s about the fact that so many of you drove here to cast your vote, and each and every one of you know what that cost with the federal carbon tax. The price of heat, groceries, are all direct effects of that tax and until we have a federal government that listens, I will be fighting tirelessly on your behalf.

“We need a federal government that understands the unique challenges faced by our municipalities, that recognizes the importance of local voices, and that values the contributions of every community, big or small. It's not just about policy, it's about people.

“It's about the families who are struggling to make ends meet, the seniors who are concerned about their future, and the young people who are looking for opportunities to stay and thrive in their hometowns."

Wilson said the Canora-Pelly constituency is more than just a region on a map, “It's a source of inspiration. It's what drove me to seek the nomination. This is where my roots are, where my family and friends reside, and where pivotal moments in our party's history unfolded.”

Wilson paid tribute to the history of the Sask Party and its founders.

“Remember the days when this area was dubbed the 'red square?’ Then emerged a visionary named Ken Krawetz, alongside a group of dedicated liberals and conservatives, giving birth to the Saskatchewan Party we know today. It's essential that we honour our past, recognizing our growth and understanding that there's always a path forward to betterment.”

Over the past six months, Wilson said he’s been in inundated with information, concerns, and hopes. “It's a hefty weight, but one I carry with pride and responsibility. I'm listening. I envision a vibrant and diverse constituency association, representing every region of our area. We're situated in a robust region, brimming with potential for value-added businesses and opportunities for our residents to thrive.”

Wilson closed his speech by expressing his gratitude to the team responsible for making his candidacy possible, “an exceptional group of individuals whose spirit, dedication, and support have been unwavering. And a special acknowledgement to my wife Renee, not just for being my staunchest supporter but for playing multiple roles, from enforcer to confidante. Thank you.”

Dennis: Ask for your endorsement to continue to work for you

Terry Dennis took over the mic next, and noted, “It’s great to see such a large turnout tonight.

"As I enter into my eighth year as the MLA for Canora-Pelly, I would like to say that I am excited about where we are in the province of Saskatchewan. We are seeing growth, investment, and a population increase that we haven't seen in 100 years. Our population has grown by over 230,000. We are building schools, hospitals, long-term care homes, highways and much more. This year alone, we have seen over $18 billion in private investment.

“Agriculture is always one of the top industries in this province, and when you see crops like we have had in our region and the price of cattle this year it's a win for everyone!”

Dennis pointed out that the Sask Party has made significant investments in the Canora-Pelly region.

“We have passing lanes from Canora to Melville, an expansion into two canola crushing plants in Yorkton, new paving on Highway 229 extending into Good Spirit Provincial Park. I was able to assist a private investor in the development of a $17 million Peat Moss Plant near Norquay that has provided employment for 50 people.

“The Sask Party continues to invest into the schools, daycares and hospitals in Canora, Kamsack and Preeceville and area. We are putting up cell towers in our area for better rural connectivity but there is still more to do. We are committed to building a Regional Hospital in Yorkton that I will be involved with moving forward.

Since being elected in 2016, Dennis said it was a privilege to work with “two of the most popular premiers in Canada, past Premier Brad Wall, and our current Premier, Scott Moe. We have 46 elected members and one of the strongest caucus teams in the country.

“I currently sit on the Board of Internal Economy, on the Caucus Management Committee, I am Legislative Secretary for the Minister of Trade and Export, and am the Chair of Intergovernmental Affairs and Justice. I was also named Legislative Secretary responsible for Ukrainian Relations in Saskatchewan in 2021.”

Dennis said he and his colleagues have been heavily involved in working with the Ukraine during the ongoing crisis resulting from the attack by Russia.

“The province of Saskatchewan stepped forward to accept Ukrainian citizens seeking refuge and it has been my privilege to take the lead in organizing the arrival of five flights, allowing 4,500 Ukrainians to flee the conflict: I helped set up a processing system to provide them with social insurance numbers, health care, along with all the documentation required to assist them to settle and start a new and safe life with their families.

Dennis concluded his speech by expressing his gratitude. “It has been my greatest honour to serve the people of the Canora-Pelly constituency for the past seven years. Thank you very much for your past support. Tonight I ask for your endorsement, so I can continue working for you and for the province of Saskatchewan. Thank you.”

Plans for the future

After Sean Wilson was declared the winner of the Sask Party nomination, Terry Dennis shared his thoughts.

“I wish Sean all the best. I believe after the voting turnout that the Sask Party is quite strong in the Canora-Pelly constituency and will be well represented in the next election.”

Dennis said he always tried to be there for the people of Canora-Pelly and to represent them in the best way he could.

“It has been an honour and a pleasure to represent the people of Canora/Pelly and the province of Saskatchewan.”

When asked about his future plans, Dennis said there is more to be done, “To continue to work hard for the constituency of Canora-Pelly until the next election.”

After the election was decided, Wilson made it clear that this is much more than just a victory for him. “From the folks I've known since my road construction days to the new faces I've met on this journey, thank you. This isn't just my win; it's ours.”

Before going any further, Wilson paid tribute to Dennis.

“Thank you, Terry, for your service to our constituency and this province over the last seven years. And thank you for your support of and actions to celebrate Ukraine over the years. It has been noticed and appreciated and so very necessary, now more than ever. Let’s have a big round of applause for Terry, folks.”

Wilson said this victory would not have been possible without the support of his crew of volunteers.

“You guys are the real MVPs. Setting that record for memberships? That wasn't me, that was all of you. It just goes to show what we can do when we roll up our sleeves and get to work.”


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