With the close of the spring session of the provincial legislature, the campaign season for the upcoming general election has unofficially begun. The next vote in Saskatchewan is scheduled to be held before October 28th, which means the chances of the legislature officially reconvening in the next five months are relatively slim.

The past session was a lively one, with plenty of debate, and controversy. For the leader of the official opposition, Carla Beck, it was a session that which she was proud of what her caucus did.

“I was really proud of our team, and the focus that we brought to the legislature,” Beck said. “Focusing on the cost of living, focusing on healthcare, on education, but also pointing out the ways that this government, this tired and out of touch government, after 17 years has stopped listening to the people of the province.”

The final days of the legislature saw the NDP introduce a number of bills, knowing they would die on the floor. These bills were meant to show where the opposition stands on certain issues heading into the election. The bills included changes to who could donate to political parties in the province by eliminating corporate and union donations, as well as out-of-province donations. Others would see changes made to the freedom of information rules, as well as the conflict of interest rules.

“Those are bills that we did table in the legislature, but more importantly, we are going to take to the people of the province.”

Heading into the election, the Saskatchewan Party government will see 13 sitting MLAs who are part of the caucus not seeking re-election. This is the highest number of incumbents in a sitting government to not seek re-election in Saskatchewan’s history, just barely surpassing the mark set in 1991 by the Grant Devine Conservatives. Beck noted this much turnover speaks volumes about the government itself.

“Many, many members on their side will not be seeking re-election – some who have had to leave caucus because of their own brushes with the law and scandal,” Beck stated. “Again, I think this speaks to leadership, but what we’re focused on – the team of MLAs that we have.”

Beck did, though, extend well-wishes.

“I do wish those who have chosen to leave after a long career, including the member from Weyburn (MLA Dustin Duncan) all the best.”

The summer is expected to be full of campaign measures for the NDP, Beck noted, adding they have already been out on the doorstep throughout the session.

“You’ll see that ramp up, and you’ll see us into full campaign in the next few days and weeks here,” Beck said. “Again, I don’t take anything for granted. I know that we have a lot of work to do. We’ve got a big hill to climb here, but I believe in the people of this province, I believe in this team, and I believe that we deserve a better government than we have right now. People are looking for change.”