SASKATOON — Newly elected Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan president Victor Teece is looking forward to ushering a new era for the Tories and preparing for the 2024 general election.
Teece was chosen as the new president replacing Glen Leason during the Tories’ convention and annual general meeting last weekend at the Double Tree Hilton Hotel and Conference Centre in Regina.
Leason is also a member of the board, being the past president. John Goohsen (vice president), Yvonne Choquette (secretary), Mike Stackhouse (treasurer), and Wayne Mastrachuk (chief official agent) are the other board members.
The Tories are hoping to field candidates that would help the party gain seats on the Legislative Assembly after being shut out for six straight elections since 1999. The last time PCP earned the majority was in 1986 and was the Opposition in 1991, while being the Third Party in 1995.
Teece said he is looking to have between 20 to 30 constituency associations set up by the end of this year with the help of about 15 provincial zone representatives, positions that they would want to be filled by the right people who would assist them to achieve their goal.
“We need to set up a vetting committee. We want to make sure we do thorough and proper vetting. We have to have our standards and our kind of policy in place. So that when people are going to be running as candidate we're going to have some standards laid out some qualifications. That everybody's going to be measured by the same policy,” said Teece.
“That makes it a lot easier for us because then we don't have to always be trying to figure out what we're looking for. And if people have different ideas, it's not going to cause any kind of confusion. We need to have things in place and there’s going to be some foundational things that we're going to be working on right away.”
Teece added constituency associations are also on their to-do list since these would be responsible for the party’s grassroots development.
“Constituency associations are important. It’s going to take a lot of work and we need to move fast. So every constituency we want to have a constituency association that would be responsible for finding candidates, getting memberships in their constituencies, and establishing communication between the membership and the party,” said Teece.
“Communication between the party and membership will play a big role to people who want to really get involved with the party. Constituency associations are like liaisons between the party and grassroots membership, and we want to work on these goals because they are critical in the party’s grassroots development.”
He said they are confident in finding the right people to get the job done since a lot of individuals are ready to be involved with the party.
“We have, probably, at least half a dozen that we're going to be able to really get set up quickly here across the province. So getting started in that area really actually looks pretty good. One of the things we're going to be doing is setting a vision for ourselves and putting the plans together,” Teece said.
One of the possible candidates of the Tories is 29-year-old Doug Barr, who is also running for the party leadership post. He was present at the AGM where the number of those who attended were affected by the rising cases of the coronavirus Omicron variant.
Barr said aside from having a new board, the Tories also amended their constitution where the new officers will have more accountability while giving the members more power in shaping the party’s future.
“This is the same way we want to govern. More accountability from our elected officials and more power back into the hands of the people of Saskatchewan. The new constitution was passed unanimously, which shows the unity of the party to help make Saskatchewan better for everyone and not just a select few. I, as a leadership candidate, am excited to work with the new board to help make Saskatchewan a better place,” said Barr.
Over the next few months we will be focusing on multiple things including growing constituency associations to help our grassroots at the local level. We will also be having focus groups throughout the province to listen to the concerns of the people. This will lead up to our policy convention in Saskatoon in early April. This is truly the beginning of a new era for the conservatives of Saskatchewan. We will be working very hard over the coming months and years to ensure the people of Saskatchewan have a viable alternative that isn’t the NDP.”