Ten Reasons I'm Supporting Ryan Meili – #1 – He Has The Potential To Be A Transformative Leader for Saskatchewan

(Click here to read All Ten “Reasons I'm Supporting Ryan Meili” Posts)

Since my
earliest posts about Ryan I've compared him to politicians like Barack Obama and Tommy Douglas.  But as I said when I began this latest series of posts with “#10 – He's Soft Spoken“,
I knew this wasn't literally the case – only that these kinds of
comparisons worked as a useful shorthand for the type of leader someone
might resemble in
policy or strategy

The comparisons can also be useful to provide some insight into the
type of leader a candidate had the potential to be.  In fact, in some
ways, I think Ryan's best analogy might be a sort of hybrid of Tommy Douglas and Barack Obama –
a “21st Century Tommy Douglas” if you will.   

The comparisons are useful to a point but in the end, should he become
the leader of the Saskatchewan NDP on Saturday, Ryan Meili won't be the next TC Douglas, the next Barack Obama or the next anyone else.  Ultimately, he will be the first Ryan Meili. 

Still, that's not such a bad thing when (with all due respect to the
other candidates who would each make a fine leader for the NDP in their
own way) Ryan is the only one I see with the potential to be a
transformative leader for the party – the party of Douglas that my
grandfather voted for and the party of Blakeney, Romanow and Calvert who are the
leaders I've known in my lifetime. 

Ryan has his weaknesses, some real and
some outright fabrications
that are being passed around as fact. But if you were creating the
perfect candidate for the Saskatchewan NDP at this point in its history, you'd probably have a hard
time doing better than Ryan.   

Here are some of the main characteristics, attributes and experiences he would bring to the leadership:


connected to both rural and urban Saskatchewan

strong connections to the First Nations community

tech savvy







idealistic yet pragmatic

experienced with international development

– his biggest scandal is that
he was arrested during a peaceful protest
at the 2001 Summit of the Americas in Quebec City (something many NDP
members probably see as a badge of honour as much as anything!)


lives and works in Saskatoon's inner-city (when not working in
various small towns around the province as a
rural relief locum)

– and I've been told some people find him
quite handsome too! 

There are some candidates who seem to treat the NDP, not as its historic precursor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation but as the
Commonwealth Federation.  I don't think Ryan operates that way.  Time
and again, he's shown that he will
cooperate with his leadership
and can bring others together rather than dividing people (PDF – scroll to page 19).

In the end, it comes down to this.  Against a group of leadership
candidates who were arguably all better known within the NDP than Ryan at the start of
the leadership race, Dr. Meili has vaulted from relative unknown to being a
strong second-place contender in a few short months.  This is due to all of the factors I listed above plus the fact that he's drawn a strong team of party newbies and stalwarts to him because they also recognize Ryan's potential as a transformative leader for the Saskatchewan NDP at a critical juncture in its history. 

If I'm being completely honest, when I first got involved with his
campaign, I probably thought it would take a miracle for Ryan
to win (but after seeing Obama overcome similar odds in the US, that's a miracle I was willing to believe in!) 

After Lingenfelter's membership scandal reminded everyone that
this is as much a choice about doing politics in an old way versus
doing them in a new way, I thought there was
maybe a chance that Ryan
could win. 

Within the last
two weeks, with
the money bomb and a last minute push of policy releases and events around the province, I've allowed myself to believe that Ryan really
has a legitimate shot at winning. 

Still, to win, Ryan needs votes.  The election results are tabulated on Saturday but you can vote now (don't wait until the convention if you can help it!) 
If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you to consider voting for
Ryan as your first choice (or your second choice if you prefer another

Take a look at this hypothetical timeline:

Coldwell -> Williams -> Douglas -> Lloyd -> Blakeney -> Romanow -> Calvert -> Meili

I don't know about yout but I like the way that looks!

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 5

  1. From Head Tale - 10 Questions With Dr. Ryan Meili on 10 Jun 2012 at 12:26 am

    […] being hyperbolic or tongue-in-cheek when I said that I thought Ryan has the potential to be “A 21st Century Tommy Douglas“), I wanted this interview to not be filled with complete softball questions (well, one step […]

  2. From Head Tale - Handicapping the Sask NDP Leadership Race (Before It Even Begins) on 28 Aug 2012 at 10:55 pm

    […] a Ryan supporter but I still believe he’s the only potential candidate I’ve seen with the potential to be a transformative leader for our province. Weakness:  A lot of people (including Mandryk) think that Ryan dropping out of the race for the […]

  3. From Head Tale - Meili Monday – A Political Disclaimer #skndpldr on 17 Sep 2012 at 8:16 pm

    […] and “Saskatchewan’s Obama” for much of the race before settling on “a 21st Century Tommy Douglas” right before the Leadership Convention which was probably a bit of […]

  4. From Head Tale - Ten Reasons I’m Supporting @ryanmeili for #skndpldr (2009 Version Recap) on 16 Jan 2013 at 10:20 pm

    […] 10. He’s soft-spoken 9. He’s got very little baggage 8. He’s run a positive campaign 7. He’s my age 6. His innovative use of technology 5. He gets things done 4. His openness 3. His commitment to Saskatchewan 2. He dreams big 1. His potential as a transformative leader for the province […]

  5. From Head Tale - 10 Reasons I’m Supporting @ryanMeili for #skndpldr – #1 – He’s The Best Choice. Period. on 15 Feb 2013 at 5:19 pm

    […] In 2009, when I did a list of the 10 Reasons I was supporting Ryan Meili, my #1 was “His Potential as a Transformative Leader for the Province“. […]

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