It was a road trip with her daughter that sealed the deal for Tina Beaudry-Mellor when it came to deciding whether to toss her hat into the ring to replace Brad Wall.
“She said to me, ‘You know what mom? I’m going to be really disappointed if you don’t run,’” Beaudry-Mellor recalled. “And that stayed with me. You know, I’ve spent my entire life as a mom telling my kids to go for it. I’ve been telling them to reach as high as they can go, grind it out, don’t be afraid because even if you fail, you have to go for it, and anything you don’t have you’ll learn along the way. And I just thought, if I don’t do this, everything that I’ve been telling them will be for naught.”
And that sentiment extended into the work that Beaudry-Mellor has spent much of her professional life doing.
A longtime instructor in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Regina, she was also chair of Equal Voice, an organization designed to help increase female representation among elected officials.
“I want our party to be a place where women like me come, and there are a lot of us in Saskatchewan, there are a lot of young women that own businesses, a great number of women that are in the agricultural community who are using their voice for good. I want them to come to our party, I want them to find a home in our party.”
Like any candidate in a job interview, Beaudry-Mellor was asked about her strengths and weaknesses and what that would reveal about the sort of premier she would make.
“I think I have a strong policy mind and I think I am pretty approachable, I enjoy meeting people,” Beaudry-Mellor explained. “On the weakness side, definitely my impatience. I am a pretty quick mind and I get impatient with something that should take two minutes taking an hour. I hate processes that are way more complicated than they need to be.”
And it seems that impatience goes beyond any work in the office.
“I’m an impatient driver, my kids will attest to that. My son once said there should be a reality TV show called driving with mom and it would have all these things that I say to people on it while I’m in the car. Some of them are unkind I hate to say,” Beaudry-Mellor joked.
In politics, there are people that Beaudry-Mellor hopes to emulate and she cited former Conservative Party interim leader Rona Ambrose as an example.
“She bought a level of depth and warmth and approachability, but still while being an extremely hard worker. I feel like she had it all, she had the whole package,” Beaudry-Mellor said. “Whenever I think about the things that she did on social media and the kinds of critiques that she leveled and yet was still able to sort of insert some her of own issues if you think of the sexual assault training she put in for judges. She left a remarkable stamp on the Conservative Party.”
When relaxing outside of politics, Beaudry-Mellor can be found at the side of the football field or volleyball court watching her kids play or participating in Spartan races across Canada. And the playlist to get her through those grueling events is anything but conservative.
“There’s some Metallica on there, Pearl Jam to Kendrick Lamar and Jay Z. Maybe some Beyoncé if I’m feeling sassy,” Beaudry-Mellor laughed.
Beaudry-Mellor might need Spartan races after enjoying her famous beer and cheddar soup, a favourite among her family whenever they sit down together to watch NFL football together.
Perhaps that soup would be served if she had gotten a chance to sit down with the late British prime minister Margaret Thatcher.
“She is such a complicated figure. I didn’t always agree with her policies but she was fearless. I would want to sit down and find out whether the real person was different from the political. She was a mother, what was she like, what she an iron lady at home as she was in politics,” Beaudry-Mellor explained. “I would love to ask her what she thought of (Ronald) Reagan and (Brian) Mulroney, the anecdotes about that time. There are a lot of politicians out there who are not fearless, who will pander to whomever, wherever they are. I admire her for not doing that.”
That distinction is something Beaudry-Mellor hopes to bring to the role of premier, if successful. She would have to balance the line between following the path Brad Wall has set while putting her own stamp on things.
“What makes me different from the other candidates is the place that I started from. I asked myself of my value, what can I add to this process,” Beaudry-Mellor said. “I have talked about new things. We are reactionary in the north. Where we have some communities doing some things right, we should emulate that. I think we should move to a two-year budget cycle, it would allow us to be really responsive to changes in the economy and would allow our partners, like municipalities to plan.”
Regardless of the outcome of this race, Beaudry-Mellor is grateful she went on this journey, for the things she has learned and the people she has met.
“This is one of the great things about campaigning. Ordinary people have amazing ideas if you just take the time to go out and ask and listen to them.”