The results of the election last Monday were not what I had hoped for. They were not the results for which I had worked so hard, and for which so many others had worked so hard as well.
We came quite close to seeing some good gains: with about 1,170 more votes, we could have elected another five NDP MLAs. 4,200 more votes could have given us 10 more NDP MLAs. But, as I said last Monday night, in a democracy, elections belong to voters, and the voters have spoken, and it is our duty to respect their decision.
Over the last week, I’ve been overwhelmed by messages of support from people all over our province. I met with the Opposition caucus, spoke with candidates who were not elected, spoke with our party executive and spoke with many party activists and members. I’m tremendously grateful for their support and their solidarity.
I have never been afraid of hard work, and I have never backed down from a challenge, but for the good of both our party and my family, I believe it is the right decision at this time to resign as Leader of Saskatchewan’s New Democrats.
This was not an easy decision – I love this province and its people, I love public service, and I love this political party. It has been a tremendous honour to serve as the MLA for Saskatoon Massey Place, as Leader of Saskatchewan’s New Democrats, and as Leader of the Official Opposition. And I will miss so much about this life in the months ahead.
But I have to say that I will enjoy spending a lot more time with Ruth and our young daughters, because they have sacrificed so much – and I have missed so much – over these last several years.
I’m proud of the work that our small Opposition caucus did in the Legislative Assembly. Asking tough questions, exposing things the Sask. Party wanted to keep hidden, and most importantly fighting for everyday families: for better seniors care; for better health care; for better education; for sustainable economic prosperity; and for a cleaner environment.
I’m also proud of the diverse and talented team we built in this election, especially that half of the NDP team in the campaign – and now in the legislature – is women.
I know we didn’t get everything right. I take responsibility for that. And there are lessons to be learned.
I also know New Democrats are disheartened by the election result, and I am too. But we won’t be disheartened for long. We are and always have been a group driven to build a stronger, fairer and kinder province. Stronger for everyday families. Fairer for people working hard to get ahead. Kinder to children just starting out and to grandparents needing care. That important work will continue.
So, fellow New Democrats: let’s keep our heads up and our hearts strong; let’s learn the right lessons from this election; and let’s focus on what matters most to everyday families throughout Saskatchewan.
And to all Saskatchewan people: it has been a distinct honour to serve you, to be welcomed into your communities and homes, and to hear your concerns and ideas and dreams. Serving you, and standing up for your priorities and your family is precisely what I will miss the most. I look forward to further opportunities for public service to this great province in the years ahead.