What’s a little-known fact about you?
I rode in equestrian competitions all over western Canada in my teens, competing in jumping, eventing and dressage. My horses and I were inseparable!
Why should voters hire you?
Over the course of my career, I have had the privilege and opportunity to serve the citizens of Saskatchewan in many different capacities. In my roles on both the political and public service sides of government, I have advised premiers and cabinet ministers.
This public-sector experience, along with extensive private sector experience being a director of a publicly traded company, the Executive Director of a non-profit agriculture organization and leading a national agri-business organizations involved in international trade advocacy, taught me a great deal. Along with my service as a school board trustee and being involved in voluntary roles in my community, I truly understand what it means to serve Saskatchewan people. Over the years I developed my own leadership style and a distinct perspective on what I believe is necessary for effective government.
Now I am committed to taking this experience and using it to the best of my ability to serve the people of Saskatchewan as their next Premier.
Who should we call for a reference?
My last boss, Premier Brad Wall.
What are your priorities for Saskatchewan?
My overall priority is to ensure economic growth leading to a higher quality of life for all Saskatchewan citizens. I am focused on building a strong, resilient and sustainable economy. A strong economy will lead to a good quality of life for all.
I am committed to engaging with citizens, to getting the best possible advice and making sure our province remains strong.
What is your greatest strength?
I think my greatest strength is my ability to build a team, creating a shared vision and ensuring we achieve it. Over the course of my career, I have had the opportunity to hone my leadership style, and have a proven track record of building and leading successful teams.
What is your greatest weakness?
I am guilty of pushing myself too hard which can mean working too many hours and not maintaining the best work/life balance.
Would you maintain the increase and expansion to the PST enacted in the budget?
No. While I agree in principle with the broadening of the tax base because of the volatility of natural resource revenue, I believe the last budget went too far.
I have committed to doing a full review of the PST on insurance. Once I have completed this review I will move quickly to make changes – and they will be significant.
What I won’t do is make a rash decision without fully understanding the impacts – exactly what happened when the PST on insurance was first introduced. I will take the time to do due diligence and the changes will be implemented as part of my first budget.
I have also heard concerns about the expanded tax on construction as well as how the province taxes vehicle purchases. I’m going to have a look at those as well.
Where do you stand on provincial debt?
Fiscal responsibility is one of my guiding principles.
I have committed to taking an extra year to balance the budget. Absolutely, we need to balance the budget, but it can’t be at the expense of our most vulnerable.
The short-term priority is getting the budget back to balance and long term, we need to continue to reduce the overall debt of the province.
What was the last book you read?
I ’m nearly done reading “Risk & Reward; The Birth & Meteoric Rise of the Saskatchewan Party”. It’s a great read!
What is your favourite TV show?
TSN Sports Centre tends to be the only thing that I watch on TV – I’m more of a movie fan!!
Did the government handle the GTH controversy appropriately How do you intend to maintain public trust in light of the GTH investigation?
Hindsight is always 20/20. No, I don’t think it was handled appropriately. I think more should have been done sooner. The government should have been more transparent and admitted that mistakes had been made. Once the RCMP investigation is complete, then we need to take whatever appropriate action is necessary to answer unanswered questions and move on to marketing the GTH as the economic tool that it is with vital infrastructure investment focused on making Saskatchewan even more competitive as an exporter. I have committed to ensuring that Cabinet, Caucus and the public service adhere to the highest standards of ethics and integrity and strong conflict of interest guidelines.
When your alarm goes off in the morning, how many times do you hit the snooze button?
I don’t hit the snooze button. I am up and at ‘em bright and early most days.
There have been complaints about the impact the budget had on the classroom. How will you ensure education needs are met across the province?
Education is a priority. I support the education sector strategic plan. We need to focus funding on the classroom – so teachers have the resources and supports they need, including educational assistants.
I have not announced a specific dollar investment because at this point I don’t have full access to the information necessary to make a decision that is accurate, realistic and sustainable. One of my guiding principles is not to make promises that I can’t keep. Once elected, I will sit down with stakeholders including teachers, local elected school boards, and all those that are part of the education system including educational assistants and school community councils to come up with a long-term, sustainable funding model that ensures that our children and teachers have the support they need to be successful. I will listen to teachers and will work to re-establish respectful relationships.
Brad Wall is said to be the brand of the Saskatchewan Party. How do you intend to differentiate yourself from him and make your own stamp as leader?
Brad Wall has done great things for the Party and the province, but as he has said, this is about renewal. I will bring an entirely different skill set to the role of Premier. My breadth and depth of experience in both the public and private sectors sets me apart from Brad Wall, as well as the other candidates. I think my leadership style, my commitment to engage and consult with citizens is what will set me apart the most.
Who inspires you and why?
While I have had the privilege of being mentored by so many great leaders in my life, it is my family who truly inspires me. My parents inspired me to believe in myself, my mom inspired me by being a tremendous role model of community involvement and overcoming barriers, my husband inspires me with his infinite support to go after my goals and my daughters inspire me to keep Saskatchewan strong for their exciting futures.
Is a carbon tax inevitable? What will you do to work with the federal government on this issue?
No, I don’t think a carbon tax is inevitable. I think we have an opportunity to introduce a Saskatchewan made solution. We have a good start in place with Saskatchewan’s Climate Change Plan. Saskatchewan needs to be recognized for our role in global food and energy security, our contributions as a natural carbon sink and our investments and advancements in technology and innovation which drives down emissions. I will continue to stand up for Saskatchewan’s interests but it’s important that we find our way through this to develop a working relationship with the federal government to ensure we get our fair share of federal government investment.
What is your guilty pleasure?
What is currently on your playlist and which song are you most embarrassed to have on the list?
What is embarrassing is that I don/’t have a playlist! My favorite kind of music is country and my favorite band is the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. What is particularly embarrassing is that I still listen to my large collection of CD’s! What isn’t embarrassing, is that I get to hear a lot of my favorite music every summer when I attend Country Thunder out at Craven.
It’s a day off and you can have anything you want for dinner. What would it be?
Barbequed steak and baked potato with all the fixins’.
If you could sit down for dinner with any famous historical figure, who would it be and why?
Walter Scott. He was a visionary and was our premier at a time of progress and prosperity and growth and he had to dream big and yet be practical and inspire Saskatchewan people to see what a significant force they were in Canada as Saskatchewan gained national influence.