Even though the Saskatchewan NDP race is barely a week old, we've already seen some interesting developments come out it. While it does seem like this group of four will be the only contenders for the position, I'm still not ruling out a last minute entrance by either a sitting MLA or an 'outsider'...Though, I think we can agree that based on Buckley Bellanger's approval of the four candidates running, he will likely be sitting this race out; so, that question I think has an answer.
What's more interesting is the fact that we already have a significant policy development at this point in the race; I refer to the idea to ban corporate and union donations to political parties within the province. The idea popped up thanks to Erin Weir's campaign, as it was his first major announcement, and now all four candidates have identified themselves as agreeing with the concept.
Federally, this isn't that new of an idea. Contributions from corporations and unions have been barred for a few years now, though like any donation law there are ways around it for those who truly want to find a way, on ALL sides of the political spectrum.
So, the first measure of which campaign will be the most successful with this concept is the team that manages to draft a proposal for the ban that will have some teeth behind it. Weir's campaign likely has the inside track on this proposal, so we'll have to wait and see what exact details they have to accompany the announcement and how it will be enforced and what sort of punishments there will be for those who flaunt the law.
Of course, there is now increased heat on the Saskatchewan Party over the proposal. As more and more facts start to come out with regards to the ban, including the fact that the SK Party raked in over $3.1 million in corporate donations, people are going to start paying more attention to this as an issue and may demand that something be done about it sooner rather than later.
As such, Weir's campaign has scored a pretty good opening hit not only against the other leadership candidates but also against the sitting government as well. If Wall's government is forced to respond to this, and bring in debate and discussion prior to the NDP Leadership Convention, Weir will have a pretty large feather in his cap.
On the reverse, if Wall does nothing and says nothing, there's a chance to take some the wind out of Weir's sails and leave him scrambling to try and bring another issue to the forefront.
As far as opening salvos go, this was was a humdinger, and I think establishes that Weir might be a candidate that more people are going to want to pay attention to as the race develops.
But of course, the race is still quite young, and who knows what new policy developments will come forward. And as said before on this blog, it seems like we're going to be in for quite the interesting race in the months ahead.