“Punching above your weight” is a common phrase for when a person performs above what might naturally be expected of their position.
In Saskatchewan, you might expect our political leaders to be limited because of a variety of factors – our huge geography, our small population and our naturally humble nature.
But instead, our leaders have a long history of punching above their weight – whether it was Tommy Douglas bringing in Medicare provincially which, in turn, forced the issue nationally or Roy Romanow’s role in repatriating the Canadian constitution or even (as much as it pains me to admit it), Brad Wall’s increasingly high profile on the national stage, especially with regards to defending Canadian interests with regards to resource policy.
I was thinking a lot about the concept of “punching above your weight” recently in the context of the current Saskatchewan NDP leadership race. And perhaps surprisingly, it’s the two non-MLA candidates who are the ones punching above their weight on the national scene.
Erin Weir has already appeared in the federal spotlights numerous times in the past via his role as an economist for the United Auto Workers and most recently, via an appearance with Federal Finance Minster, Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor, Mark Carney at the “Canada in the Pacific Century” Conference in Ottawa earlier this week.
Meanwhile, Ryan Meili’s recent time in Alberta saw him in the spotlight as a panelist on the future of the NDP along with recent federal NDP Leadership candidates, Brian Topp and Niki Ashton, being called “my friend” by one of Canada’s newest and brightest political stars AND exchanging beard grooming tips with the big boss himself!
Not only that but Ryan is aligned with the federal party in another way – they have just added a section to their web site devoted to the advantage of looking at politics by using the social determinants of health. Pretty big coincidence if you ask me!
Yes, the race will ultimately be decided within Saskatchewan’s borders. But I hope that the membership’s decision is at least partly based on which candidate(s) have the demonstrated ability and connections to best help our province continue to “punch above its weight” on the national scene.