Ousted Saskatchewan NDP candidate, former cabinet minister running as Independent

REGINA — A former Saskatchewan NDP cabinet minister who was blocked from running under the party's banner in the coming provincial election, says she will campaign as an Independent.

Sandra Morin was initially nominated to be the New Democratic candidate in Regina Walsh Acres for the Oct. 26 vote.

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She held the constituency seat from 2003 to 2011, and served as a cabinet minister under former NDP premier Lorne Calvert.

Morin, who now works as a civilian member of the RCMP, was told weeks ago she wouldn't be endorsed by NDP Leader Ryan Meili.

Neither have disclosed why. But Meili has said he stands by the decision and that there is a good reason.

Morin said the decision was based on "vexatious accusations."

Both sides also have said there is a confidentiality agreement in place.

"I'm going to move forward as the residents of Regina Walsh Acres and as the NDP members in Regina Walsh Acres have asked me to do," she said Friday at a campaign kickoff event in Regina.

In a recent interview, Meili told The Canadian Press that "on some level it would be easier if those details were out in the public."

"I don’t actually think that’s the place for it. I want to respect Ms. Morin’s privacy and the confidentiality for her good and for the good of any other candidate," he said.

He said she's still welcome as a party member.

Morin said people in the NDP's constituency association and on the election planning committee would be joining her campaign.

She criticized Meili for running a "campaign of infighting and disrespect."

She describes herself as a lifelong Saskatchewan New Democrat and said the decision to run against the party she served in was tough.

"It happened, on my part, within the last 24 hours. The team was there long before I was."

The seat is currently vacant. The former Saskatchewan Party MLA who held it, Warren Steinley, left to successfully run for the Conservatives in last fall's federal election.

The Saskatchewan NDP on Thursday named Kelly Hardy as its new candidate for Walsh Acres.

"Close to an election, the party has the discretionary ability to waive the nomination period and name a candidate," NDP spokeswoman Sally Housser said.

"This will be the same process for the few remaining ridings where candidates will be named very soon,."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 25, 2020

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