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NDP’s Goff understands small business, rural issues

Cam Goff, the NDP candidate running in the Arm River constituency that includes the Town of Outlook and the surrounding communities on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River, says that with his background as a small business owner and roots in

Cam Goff, the NDP candidate running in the Arm River constituency that includes the Town of Outlook and the surrounding communities on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River, says that with his background as a small business owner and roots in the farming lifestyle of the province, he has a strong grip on the issues facing the rural parts of Saskatchewan, as well as those facing the downtown business sectors of towns and villages.

“Well, ‘ideal’ may be a bit of a stretch, possibly,” chuckled Cam, speaking with The Outlook and asked what makes him the ideal candidate for voters in the local riding.  “But I have run a small business in town with my wife Bev; we ran the Shell gas station in Hanley for about 13 years and we also sold farm chemicals out of there, and I’ve been a farmer basically all my life.  Being a farmer and a small business owner in rural Saskatchewan, I think that gives me a pretty proud understanding of a lot of the problems we’re facing in the rural areas of the province, and also of the problems that a lot of townspeople face.”

A diminished faith in the path that the Saskatchewan Party has taken the province is partly what inspired Goff to put his name forward to run for this year’s provincial election, as well as being inspired by NDP Leader Ryan Meili’s direction and how the party intends to address key issues.

“I haven’t been very happy with some of the direction that the Sask Party has been taking lately, and I’ve been very impressed with Ryan Meili over the past ten years or so that he’s been involved in Saskatchewan politics,” said Cam.  “I think he’s got the right approach to focus on the problems and solve the roots of the problems rather than just working at the edges and treating the symptoms.”

Goff’s experience in the political game as far as a provincial perspective may be new, but as a long-time farmer, his previous credentials may put him in a unique position to understand the daily troubles being faced by producers around Saskatchewan.

“Certainly, this type of politics is a new venture for me, but I have been involved in farm politics for the past twelve years now,” he said.  “Farmers have elected me as a director to the Canadian Wheat Board and also to the Saskatchewan Barley Development Commission, and I was also a vice-president of the National Farmers Union for three years.  All of those positions, if you want to call them that, involve dealing with federal and provincial governments.  I’ve lobbied in Regina and I’ve lobbied in Ottawa as part of a group.”

NDP Leader Meili released his official platform last week, which the Party says offers the people of Saskatchewan “a clear choice – a plan that makes the crucial investments in health care, education and job creation that we need now, or four more years of Scott Moe’s dangerous cuts that hurt families and leave us further behind.”

The platform includes such promises as:

An investment of $100 million in primary, long-term and acute care within the first year of an NDP government.

An investment of $50 million in the Party’s first year to ensure seniors can live in their homes for longer.

Investing $7.8 million to open Mental Health Emergency Rooms in Saskatoon, Regina, Prince Albert and Moose Jaw to address the mental health crisis.

Providing funding for school divisions to hire 50 mental health and addiction nurses and hire other mental health supports.

Introducing a $15/hour minimum wage.

Introducing $25/day child care and increasing licensed spaces by 8,000 each year to help families get back to the workforce

Asking the wealthiest amongst us to contribute a bit more with a one percent wealth tax on those with net worth of over $15 million.

Bringing back the Saskatchewan Transportation Company.

Goff says Ryan Meili is the person to lead Saskatchewan because he has a direction that will tackle the issues in the province with a better approach than previous governments.

“It’s his ability or willingness to look at the problems we’ve got and see why we have those problems,” he said.  “Ryan’s looking at things like actually building housing for homeless people, and when it comes to hospitals and mental health, he’s looking at adding on new staff and new infrastructure to deal with those problems at the root level.  Even though I’m running for a rural constituency, I don’t feel that I’m limited to strictly rural problems as we’ve got problems in this province that we have to deal with.  We have to make sure that everybody has the best life possible for them, and I think that’s something that Ryan is really involved with, much more so than the Saskatchewan Party.”

If Cam himself is elected to serve the constituents of Arm River, health care for seniors and those in rural areas are going to be key areas where he intends to put a focus, but he says there is a lot of room for improvement in the province.

“Senior care/health care; I think it’s really important that we have a very good long-term care solution, but also one for in-home care,” he said.  “Trying to keep people comfortable, especially in rural Saskatchewan where they have family and where they know the community.  It’s so important to make sure that senior citizens have a good support system right through to the end of life.  Rural health care is also very important, as is education.  There are really so many things that are really important, and certainly I know that the first term is not going to solve everything.  We have a lot of work to do.”

Saskatchewan goes to the polls on Monday, October 26.