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Former Saskatchewan Party legislator questions government amid key byelection

Regina, Sask. -

Former Saskatchewan Party legislator Mark Docherty didn't mince words when asked about the governing party.

Docherty, speaking this week on Regina podcast The SKoop, appeared to be at odds with the direction of the government, suggesting its current approach isn't resonating with voters.

He knocked the Saskatchewan Party's tag line, "growth that works for everyone," because it hasn't worked for everybody.

"People are struggling," Docherty said.

"If I say that message to somebody, they kind of look at me dumbfounded. They don't understand. They're going, 'What have you done? What has this government done for us?"'

Docherty served under the Saskatchewan Party government for the constituency of Regina Coronation Park for nearly 12 years. He resigned in February to pursue other opportunities.

His comments come as a byelection campaign is underway in Coronation Park, as well as in the city's Walsh Acres constituency and in Lumsden-Morse, outside the provincial capital.

Docherty declined further comment Friday when reached by The Canadian Press.

However, on the podcast, he said constituents had asked him why they should vote for the Saskatchewan Party.

He didn't have an answer.

"(They say) why should we vote for you or the Sask. Party? Before, I had an answer, right? This time, it's difficult," he said. "It's a difficult question. And if you're actually there to serve people, and that's your job, then serve them."

Docherty also said he struggled to tell a constituent what infrastructure projects have been built in Coronation Park.

"They said, 'What have you done for us? What's your legacy? What infrastructure has been put in place in regards to Coronation Park?"' he recalled. "And I looked and I went, Oh my God the answer is going to be nothing. I didn't know what to say and I had been advocating, lobbying."

Saskatchewan Party executive director Patrick Bundrock said the party disagrees with Docherty's comments.

Bundrock said the former legislator is now a private citizen.

He said the Saskatchewan Party government has been involved in several projects in Regina, including operational funding for schools and a new urgent care centre.

"Mark was very well respected and he was a great MLA," Bundrock said. "We're in a campaign now. We fully support Riaz Ahmad, our candidate there. He's doing a tremendous job to campaign and we're in it to win."

Opposition NDP Leader Carla Beck said in a statement she has a lot of respect for Docherty, noting she worked with him at a group home for youth before they entered politics.

"We know Mark's not the only one in the Sask. Party having a hard time selling Scott Moe's tag line to people who know this government isn't working for them," she said.

The byelections are scheduled to take place on Aug. 10.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 14, 2023. Top Stories

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