Insights and Analysis

Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili Announces Intention to Step Down

Saskatchewan New Democrat Party Leader, Ryan Meili, announced today the he will be stepping down as Leader of the party which he has led since his election in 2018.  Meili’s announcement comes just three days after SaskParty Candidate, Jim Lemaigre won the Athabasca by-election, a seat the NDP had held for almost 25 years. 

Meili, a doctor by profession, was first elected as the MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin in 2017 and was re-elected by a slim margin of 367 votes in 2020.  Prior to his candidacy for MLA, Meili was a candidate for the Leadership of the NDP in 2009 and 2012 but was unsuccessful.  Meili led the NDP in the 2020 election where the party managed to win only 13 of the province’s 61 seats and also failed to make any significant gains in the popular vote.

Meili is the third NDP leader (other than interim leaders) to lead the party into a provincial election since former leader (and Premier) Lorne Calvert stepped down in 2008. None of these leaders – including Dwain Lingenfelter, Cam Broten and Meili –  managed to exceed 32% support of the Saskatchewan electorate during these elections or make any major gains in the number of seats in the legislature. 

The party will now begin planning their process for selecting a new leader.  Many eyes will be on long-time Regina Rosemont, MLA and previously unsuccessful leadership candidate, Trent Wotherspoon as to whether he will take a third shot at the leadership.  Along with Wotherspoon, there are a number of current MLA’s, including current Deputy Leader and Regina Douglas Park MLA, Nicole Sarauer; Regina University and Deputy House Leader, Aleanna Young; Saskatoon Nutana MLA, Erika Ritchie and Saskatoon Fairview MLA and House Leader, Vicki Mowat who may throw their hats in the ring. 

Prairie Sky will be monitoring the leadership review process and the platforms of each candidate and will provide insights as they are rolled out. 

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