This afternoon, Warren Kaeding, the Saskatchewan Party Candidate for Melville-Saltcoats, held open house at his campaign office at 104-290 Prince William Drive in the Melville Mall.
There were snacks a-plenty, donuts and coffee to be enjoyed, and a steady stream of visitors who wanted to engage the candidate in conversation.
Both the Melville Advance and Parkland Regional News were present, and interested readers are encouraged to read both interviews as no doubt different questions were asked.
Here are a few insights from our informal chat with Warren.
Q. What made you decide to get into politics at this level?
A. “Youth parliament. In 1978, I went as a kid to youth parliament in Regina, and I was absolutely thoroughly caught up in the entire process. We got to sit in the chambers, we got to enact the provisional government, and from that day I was hooked.”
Q. Have you been involved in the political process for a long time?
A. “While running my business I was not so active personally, but I lived very vicariously through my father. My father was very active in both provincial and federal campaigns, that was his thing. So I got caught up in all the emotion and fun and excitement from when I was a wee gaffer, we even had a couple of premiers in the house having lunch with us.
Then, when we sold our farm in 2012, I took a far more active role federally, the chair of the constituency. And at that time Bob had indicated that he was ready to retire, and I thought now was the time.”
Q. Bob is leaving a big footprint to fill. If you are elected MLA, what do you see that you bring to the table?
A. “Bob very much was involved in agriculture. He covered the gamut of working outside the farm, on the farm.. He was Reeve of the RM, so he covered an awful lot of aspects of what it takes to be a good leader. I believe I have those same leadership qualities of heading various committees both locally as well as provincially. I bring passion and enthusiasm. Agriculture is certainly a major interest with me, I grew up with it.
At the same time, we hired a lot of young people for our farm. The seed business is very labour-intensive in different aspects. Every year we hired summer students working with us, and I so much enjoyed seeing their interest and enthusiasm, and hoped I was providing some guidance and direction to them too.
That’s what I hope I can bring to this job too. I really see this constituency has got a lot younger. There are a lot of young people here, and they are so passionate and enthusiastic, and I certainly want encourage that even more.”
Q. With so many of the original founders of the Sask Party retiring now, do you think there’s going to be a change in the Sask Party if they are re-elected?
A. “I know there’s a concern out there that we are losing the original members, the ones who formed the party and gave it its unique identity. But I also believe that with that unique identity we’ve attracted the same kind of people. When I look at the diversity of the new candidates that are out there right now, you can’t help but feel enthusiasm and energy. With the changeover of that number of candidates there is a concern to be losing all that brain trust at one time, but there is still a good nucleus of MLA’s who have been there for a few years, been through a few campaigns, and who know the history and the background, and who can provide the grounding. With the business background, diversity and acumen of the new candidates, I don’t think we’re going to lose anything. We are going to have renewed energy.”
Q. How do you see Saskatchewan moving ahead while there are challenges in the resource industries?
A. “The Sask Party will be trying to encourage small business. We are in cycles, whenever you are in a resource-based economy you’re going to see cycles, and we’ve lived and gone through a lot of them. With the young people we’ve got in the province I am seeing a different thought process than what we had even fifteen or twenty years ago. They have a minimal tolerance for failure. To me, I think the Sask Party is certainly going to try to nurture that philosophy and mentality that we’ve got right now.
Q. As massive farms take over from smaller ones, many see it as the death of the family farm, are opportunities to stay within farming also being lost?
A. The farms are getting bigger and yes, we are losing farm families, but the opportunities for young people to be involved in agriculture now are great. I read a report the other day that said in another ten or fifteen years we could be 72,000 jobs short in agriculture. So, the opportunities now in agriculture are growing.”
We appreciate Warren taking time to answer our questions, and remember, whoever you decide to vote for, election day is April 4.