Trent Wotherspoon running for NDP leadership
One of the new NDP leadership candidates is refusing to look to the past even as he talks about the future.
Regina-Rosemont MLA Trent Wotherspoon announced his candidacy in a major event at Regina's Conexus Arts Centre Friday. Roughly 300 people were there to see a flashy introductory video and a speech by Wotherspoon revealing his intentions.
Wotherspoon has served as finance critic for the beleaguered NDP, which suffered its worst-ever election results last November. The poor showing has largely been blamed on former leader Dwain Lingenfelter, who left the party after it saw its seat count drastically reduced to just nine in that election.
Wotherspoon was among those in the NDP that endorsed Lingenfelter. However, he refused to address that fact and how it might impact his campaign when speaking to reporters after his speech Friday.
"We've come through a period of adversity for our party. I'm clearly focused on the next chapter, I think that's what's important for us as a party.
"I'm not going to get back into previous processes. What I am excited about is the renewal that's going on here before us right now. I'm excited about the role that I can play in it. What we're going to do is focus on the future, we're going to learn from our adversity, and we're going to build with strength."
That renewal was one of the focuses of Wotherspoon's address. He repeated many times during his speech that he's taking his cues from the people of the province, that he's spent time talking to them to figure out what they want to see. He acknowledges he'll have to keep that up in order to ensure people outside of his home riding know what he's about and what he stands for.
As of Friday four candidates had come forward: Wotherspoon and Erin Weird are both based out of Regina while Cam Broten and Ryan Meili are from Saskatoon. Wotherspoon doesn't expect the four-month leadership contest to come down to a regional split, insisting he has contacts in Saskatoon. He says he's spent plenty of time there and he intends to continue that during the race.
What he didn't talk about in his speech was policy. While Wotherspoon made reference to things he's been told people aren't happy about he made no indication what kind of policy or direction he would introduce to the NDP. He stresses that will come in time.
"Today was about introducing who I am and my family and what motivates us. Also, to lay out a broader vision of where we'd like to see the party go and where we'd like to see the province go. That's what today is all about. What I'm excited about is making sure that as we move forward we're going to have some significant policy launches that I'm really excited about and that there's been a lot of work put into. We'll be doing that in the coming weeks and months."