Beatty’s Defection To Federal Liberals Official
Friday, January 04, 2008 at 15:06
Joan Beatty calls it “the best possible way” to serve the people of northern Saskatchewan.
The federal Liberals made her long-rumoured defection from the provincial NDP official yesterday — announcing Beatty will be the Liberal candidate in the March 17th byelection in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River.
Liberal Leader Stephane Dion says she brings a strong mix of local knowledge, Aboriginal expertise and political experience to his party.
Beatty says she accepted the Liberals’ invitation to run for them because she believes she can best represent the constituency at the federal level.
Beatty also feels the Liberals stand a much better chance of forming government than the NDP — and that was a major factor in her decision.
She says, at the end of the day, this decision was about “being practical”.
She was approached by the Liberals before the last provincial election, but decided to wait to see if the NDP could hang onto power.
Beatty knows not everyone will like her decision, but says those close to her support this move.
The leader of the provincial NDP thinks Beatty is making a mistake.
Lorne Calvert says he thinks it’s questionable whether Beatty will be elected federally.
Calvert adds, even if she is elected, she won’t have a significant voice in a large Liberal caucus.
He says Beatty would have been better off to run for the NDP because of its smaller caucus.
Calvert plans to ask the premier to call a by-election to fill Beatty’s vacated position as soon as possible, in the hope it will be filled in time for the spring sitting of the session.
The Saskatchewan Party says the NDP should step up to the plate and fund the cost of a by-election.
Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan also wants to know if Beatty told Calvert before the election that she was thinking of running federally.
If that’s the case, he feels it’s up to the NDP to shoulder the responsibility for backing a candidate who didn’t plan to stay in her post.
Duncan also thinks Beatty may not have wanted to go through the rebuilding process the party is currently experiencing.
In 2003, Beatty became the first First Nations person to win a seat in the Saskatchewan legislature.