Random Thoughts from the Indian Head-Milestone NDP Fundraiser

Shea and I were out to Indian Head yesterday to take in a fundraiser for the local NDP candidate in this year’s Provincial Election with guest speaker, Dr. Ryan Meili (plus a pretty amazing special guest speaker too.)

Here’s some random thoughts…

– we heard about the fundraiser at a wedding in IH about a month ago when the mother-of-the-bride, who knew we’d worked on Ryan’s campaign, mentioned it to us.  (Last night, she apologized for being so brash as to promote the event at her daughter’s wedding but we just laughed – “It was the perfect time to tell us!”)

– Ryan Meili did his talk on “The Politics of Health” and though I’ve heard it before, it’s such a good presentation, I think I could listen to it repeatedly.  Ryan’s a great speaker too – very engaging!  And happy to hear him mention he’s looking to publish a book on the topic sometime in the new year.

– Also happy to hear him give a solid non-answer when a person in the crowd asked if he’d be getting back in politics – especially since I thought he was firmly in the “no more politics” camp.  I think Ryan truly believes what he says in his speech which he tells as a parable – if you notice a drowning kid go by in a river, you’ll go in to save the kid.  And if you notice another, you’ll save that one too.  And the next one.  That’s healthcare.  But eventually, you have to go up river to see what’s causing so many kids to end up drowning in the river in the first place.  That’s politics.  So he knows that politics are the only way to broadly change society in a way that medicine doesn’t allow.

– As someone who’s a big believer in work-life balance (and not just paying lip service to the idea like so many do), I realised that Ryan losing his leadership bid was probably the best thing to happen to him – he got married soon after the leadership convention and now has a baby who was exactly five weeks old yesterday.  Had he won the leadership, those timelines might have been drastically different or his life may have been drastically different or both.

– The event ended up with a very high profile special guest – Churchill NDP MP Niki Ashton had been to Saskatoon for an event earlier in the day, made her way to Regina for another event (which we were invited to but had to miss unfortunately) then, since she was en route to Winnipeg, accepted an invite to pop in on the Indian Head event.  Great to meet her and though I haven’t made any formal decisions about who I might support in the Federal NDP leadership race (especially since I think only one person has officially declared as running so far!), I will note that, even though Facebook pages for pretty much every potential candidate have sprung up, the “Draft Niki Ashton for NDP Leader” page on is the only one I’ve “liked”…so far.

– Why is that the case?  Niki seems to hit many of the criteria I listed in my original post on potential next leaders : bilingual (actually multi-lingual), western, young, progressive, highly educated.  If she decides to run, she’s got an uphill battle against the more established candidates but who knows? It was fun seeing her and Ryan on stage together as it reminded me of that same sort of underdog potential that got Ryan within 5% of the Provincial NDP leadership.

–  I’ve got a few thoughts about how growing up in rural Saskatchewan influenced by view on (and now approach to) politics which I’ll probably try to cover in a longer entry sometime between now and our provincial election in a month and a half.

– I won two McFarlane hockey figurines collectibles in the silent auction – a Wayne Gretzky one as well as one of the greatest player of all-time. 😉

– Shea won a crock pot in the door prize draw too.  We already have one but this one’s red so will fit our kitchen decor better.  Cool!

– You’re probably not supposed to notice this type of stuff but in a small town where everybody knows everybody, it was interesting to see who showed up.  “Oh, of course that cool teacher from high school is an NDP’er!  Sure, the parents of my one classmate who went on to be so successful are NDP’ers.  Hey, I never expected that grizzled old farmer who likes hunting and restoring old cars to be at an NDP event.” And so on.

Speaking of uphill battles, like many NDP candidates in rural Saskatchewan, I suspect Richard Klyne will have a tough go of it on November 7, especially against a high profile Cabinet minister.  But as Ryan said so eloquently in his opening remarks, anyone who chooses to put their name forward as a potential public servant deserves better than the reputation that politicians tend to have in our society.

Best of luck, Richard!

Comments 2

  1. Malcolm+ wrote:

    To date, two candidates have declared: Brian Topp and Romeo Saganash.

    Posted 18 Sep 2011 at 10:36 pm
  2. HeadTale wrote:

    Thanks for the update Malcolm!

    Posted 22 Sep 2011 at 11:38 pm

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