Our latest questionnaire comes in from Cam Broten; so, without further ado, let's take a look at what Cam has to say. As always, questions are BOLDED while answers remain in regular text.
1.) Let’s start at the beginning; what was it that first drew you to politics and the desire to work in the public sector?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had great respect for those who engage in public service, including politicians. My grandpa was the CCF MLA for the Watrous constituency back in the 1960s. He served in the Legislature during the struggle to introduce Medicare. I heard a lot of his stories growing up and I remember thinking that one day I wanted to follow in his footsteps and help achieve great things that benefit people. That’s what drew me to politics: the opportunity to make tangible progress in building a better world – for today’s generations but also for future generations.
2.) Did you always know that the NDP was where you belonged, or did you do a lot of soul-searching before committing to joining a party?
I have always known that I belong in the NDP.
3.) And the big question, what drew you to the leadership race?
I want my daughters, Ingrid and Clara, to grow up in a healthier society with a healthier environment, and I don’t just want that for my own daughters – I want that for all Saskatchewan children. But in order to achieve that vision, our party needs strong and responsible leadership during this critical time. That’s why I’m running for leader – to help restore strength to our party so we can once again earn the trust of Saskatchewan people and get on with the important work of achieving our vision.
4.) What experience do you bring that you think would be a positive boon as the next NDP Leader?
I have proven myself by winning a hotly contested nomination and two challenging election campaigns and I have also proven myself as an effective performer within the Legislative Assembly. I have learned what it means to be a good team player and a responsible leader around the caucus table, and that includes standing up for what you truly believe is right and appropriate, even if it’s not necessarily the most popular approach at the time. And I have learned from the successes and the shortcomings of the policy review process that I led along with our former party president, Jane Wollenberg, and I am keen to bring that experience to the important work of growing and strengthening our party.
5.) In 25 years, what do you hope your political legacy to be?
A healthier, more equal province; a healthier, cleaner environment; and a more vibrant democracy.
6.) If you weren’t in politics, where do you think you may have ended up?
Part of me would like to think I’d be the Canadian ambassador to Norway under Prime Minister Mulcair; another part of me would like to think I’d still be a tree planter. In reality though, before being elected as an MLA, I was the health policy manager for the Saskatchewan Medical Association. If I were not an elected MLA now, I’m sure that I’d still be doing something that involved being challenged, meeting lots of people, helping/serving them, and making a tangible difference in some way.
7.) What was the biggest learning experience you’ve had in your political career?
The entire process of winning a contested nomination, winning an election, and learning what it means to be an effective MLA was an incredible learning curve.
1.) If elected leader, you’ll hit the ground running as the new Leader of the Opposition; what three issues are the most important for you to address during your tenure in opposition?
As Leader of the Opposition, I would work with our team to grow our party and to earn the trust of Saskatchewan people. The main areas we need to focus on are the following:
(1) Restoring strength to our party – that means making membership matter, modernizing our party’s policy development process, restoring our rural roots, and electing more women and people from diverse backgrounds;
(2) Providing strong and responsible opposition to the Sask. Party government in the Legislative Assembly – that means exposing failures and shortcomings but, more importantly, it means proposing compelling alternatives; and
(3) Reaching out to Saskatchewan people in every corner of the province – that means listening to their concerns and their ideas and sharing with them our vision of a better province for everyone; by doing that, we can earn their trust and get on with the important work of achieving our vision.
2.) Would those three issues remain constant if you were elected Premier, or would there be other areas that would demand more attention?
As Premier, I would work with our team of MLAs to achieve our vision:
(1) Creating a healthier and more equal province – that includes reducing poverty; treating working people fairly; building more affordable housing; improving our education system – from early learning and childcare right through to post-secondary education and training – and it also includes expanding and improving our public health care system, undertaking that all-important second-phase of Medicare that its founders envisioned;
(2) Ensuring a much cleaner and healthier environment – that includes taking environmental factors into consideration when evaluating the state of our province; establishing clear, legislated targets for emissions reductions; increasing our use of renewable energy sources; improving our sustainability through smart and rigorous environmental protection; and protecting our precious ecosystems; and
(3) Creating a more vibrant democracy – that includes more citizen engagement; more deliberative democracy; richer debate and better scrutiny in the Legislative Assembly; and thinking and planning in terms of generations, not just election cycles.
3.) What do you think is the central message of your candidacy?
We have shared futures. We would all benefit from a healthier, more equal province and a healthier, cleaner environment. But to achieve that vision, we must grow and strengthen our party. That’s why I’m running for leader – to revitalize our party so we can earn the trust of Saskatchewan people and get on with the important work of achieving our vision of a better province for everyone.
4.) What do you plan to change about Saskatchewan’s NDP? And what do you plan to keep the same?
Our party has an incredible legacy and we have core social democratic principles that should remain firm, but there’s no question that we are not as strong as we need to be these days. We need to restore strength to our party, and my plan to do that includes: making membership more meaningful; making our policy development process more engaging, deliberative and democratic; electing more women and people from diverse backgrounds and ensuring that our party is more representative of Saskatchewan communities; and working to restore our rural roots. The details are on my website at www.cambroten2013.ca/party_plan.
5.) What one issue do you think is currently being underrepresented or underdeveloped by the current government? How would you change that?
I think the biggest failure of the Sask. Party government is not to recognize that we all have shared futures. We would all benefit from a stronger province in which all our fellow citizens can achieve their full potential and contribute more fully to our province’s social and economic fabric. And since we not only share our futures with one another, but we also share them with our planet, we would all benefit from a healthier environment. Together, we can advance that shared futures vision by communicating a compelling vision to Saskatchewan people – Saskatchewan isn’t broken, it’s a great province, but it can be so much better for everyone if we recognize that our destinies are interconnected and if we develop our policies based on that understanding of our shared futures.
6.) Finally, this isn’t a question, but more of a chance to add a personal appeal to those reading this questionnaire; so feel free to make an appeal to members, or just tell us anything else you’d like us to know about you and your campaign.
This is a significant time for the Saskatchewan New Democrats as we discuss the direction of our party and our province. Choosing a new leader is only one part of strengthening our party and beginning to earn the trust of Saskatchewan people – but we know that it’s a crucially important decision and we need to get it right. I’m applying for the job because I want to work with our team to revitalize our party so we can once again earn the trust of Saskatchewan people and get on with the important work of achieving our vision of a healthier province and a healthier environment. If you'd like to support our campaign, or if you simply have questions or thoughts to share with me, I would love to hear from you – you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.