A candidate vying to become premier of Saskatchewan says he would be interested in developing some type of Northern Affairs Department if selected.

Gord Wyant visited La Ronge on Wednesday to speak with local officials and members of the public. Wyant was hosted by former La Ronge Mayor, Thomas Sierycki, and he says around 25 people were on hand for the meeting.

“It was a great conversation, and I was really happy to come up,” said Wyant of the meeting.

Wyant is one of the Sask. Party MLA’s seeking leadership of the party when Premier Brad Wall officially steps down later this month.

He says the biggest concern he heard in Wednesday’s meeting was how to organize government to properly approach northern issues.

The potential premier says the conversation turned to the possibility of some type of Northern Affairs Department or committee to help bring all government departments together.

“That’s a conversation I want to continue to have with people to see what the best approach is in dealing with some of the challenges some of the people in the north have,” said Wyant. “The challenges of the Ministry of Health are also challenges of the Ministry of the Economy, so I think having a conversation with everyone at the same table would be a very beneficial thing for the north.”

Wyant also says there was a lot of conversation about tourism in the north and how the government could support that.

“That was something I found quite intriguing,” he said. “The more people that have the opportunity to spend time in the north and appreciate its great beauty. I think there’s some real opportunities there.”

A total of five people are vying for the soon to be vacant premier spot.

Other than Wyant, they include Ken Cheveldayoff, Alana Koch, Scott Moe and Tina Beaudry-Mellor.

(PHOTO: Gord Wyant. Courtesy saskparty.com)