I'm excited about Ryan Meili
What can I say? I am impressed.
Here, we have a young man with a track record of accomplishment in the NGO sector. He has been a central figure in organizing progressive projects as diverse as Limbs and Light for Latin America; Health Professionals for Medicare; and the Student Wellness Initiative Toward Community Health (SWITCH). He was a key mover behind the innovative and holistic Station 20 West initiative that the current government found so threatening. A practicing physician, he is a recipient of a Saskatchewan Health Care Excellence Award and was named Saskatoon's Global Citizen of the Year for 2007.
He has accomplished more outside the political system, providing real help to real people, than many traditional politicians accomplish in their entire careers.
Saskatchewan New Democrats are blessed that this bright and energetic young man is prepared to offer himself for the leadership of our party. Whatever the outcome, Ryan will ensure that the debate is rigorous, the contest vigorous and the race exciting.
Today, I saw him interacting with people who had never been members of our party, with former members who have been alienated from the party for years, with current members who were anxious about our party's future. Ryan spoke effectively and eloquently, addressing their concerns and answering their questions. New memberships were sold. Lapsed memberships were renewed.
Ryan reminded us why we had become New Democrats in the first place. He reminded us that winning elections is a means to an end, not an end to itself.
At the last election, it was the Saskatchewan Party that spoke the language of hope and aspiration - however illusory their rhetoric may have been. Our party, on the other hand, spoke the language of powerlessness and fear.
Premier Wall may not be right about much. But he was right about one thing on that November evening in 2007, when our party faced its worst defeat in nearly 70 years.
"Hope beats fear."
Now is not the time for New Democrats to retreat into our past or to reminisce about better times. The best way to honour our heritage and to defend our previous accomplishments is to move boldly into the future.
This leadership race is not about yesterday's issues or yesterday's answers. This leadership race is about what it means to be a Saskatchewan social democrat today, tomorrow and moving forward into the future.
Ryan Meili is rooted in the same progressive soil that gave us M.J. Coldwell, Tommy Douglas, Woodrow Lloyd and Allan Blakeney. But he realizes that honouring their accomplishments is not about defending the status quo, but about building on their accomplishments to create a brighter future for every citizen of our province.
Please take a look at ryanmeili.ca and consider joining us as we build the future of the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party.