Meet the Leaders: Wade Sira, Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan
REGINA -- A new presence in Saskatchewan’s political scene, Buffalo Party Leader Wade Sira says he came to lead to the party because of “how unfairly Saskatchewan has been treated in Confederation.”
CTV News Regina Anchor Lee Jones sat down with Sira to find out more about the party formed from the Wexit movement, its platform and outlook for the future.
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Below is a partial transcript of the interview edited for clarity and conciseness with the full sit-down interview available here and at the top of the page.
CTV News: What got you into provincial politics? I know you do have a history in politics, but what got you onto the provincial scene and the head of this party?
Sira: The main that I was considering when I was going to run for provincial politics was I’m just frustrated with how unfairly Saskatchewan has been treated in Confederation and I feel we either have to fix it or there’s almost no hope.
We need to get to a better location, and a better place in Saskatchewan and a fair deal for Saskatchewan within Confederation. We can fix it, but we got to get to that table of negotiation first.
IMMIGRATION AND TAX STRUCTURE
CTV News: What you look at then, you mention immigration and taxes, for those two specific locations. What would you like to see if Saskatchewan had the ability to enforce their own rules along those lines?
Sira: We would be inclusive with immigration, but we would make sure we bring in people from all over the world that are refugees of places across the world that they’re trying to flee because it’s so bad living in those countries. Those who are going to be a net asset to the province and not just come to Saskatchewan and get back onto a social services system.
We want to help them. We want to give them a hand up instead of a hand out.
Then taxes, Quebec collects all their own taxes, and they send the money to Ottawa. We want to see the same thing, where we collect the PST, the GST and income tax, and have all those high-paying jobs that are in Ottawa sitting here in Saskatchewan and we send the money to Ottawa after that.
CTV News: Where does the party sit on some of the things like healthcare and education that the last four, eight years have really come up when it comes to election time?
Sira: With healthcare, we’ve seen rural Saskatchewan suffer the most with healthcare. It’s always lagged backwards since the beginning of COVID when they shut down all rural Saskatchewan because of COVID. Yet people still get sick, there’s still accidents and they can’t receive the care.
We need to increase the availability for rural Saskatchewan. There’s no reason they should be treated in a second tier level from the urban centres.
MORE PATHWAYS IN EDUCATION
Sira: With education we want to see more choices. There needs to be more pathways for graduation than just heading straight to university. There is trade schools, there’s other careers out there. We want to give more options and we want the kids who are graduating to have more of a fiscal responsible knowledge in the future. We want to train more on fiscal management, balancing budgets.
CTV News: How would you rate how the province, currently led by a Sask. Party government has handled the COVID-19 pandemic?
Sira: To begin with no one knew what they were getting into, it was all new for everyone. But we’ve moved away from the immeasurable of flattening the curve to it almost seems like zero new cases. We are going to have to learn how to live with COVID. We can’t ever get to zero new cases, that’s going to be everywhere in the world and right now we have no idea if there’s going to be a vaccines.
We have continued to shut down and what measurables we need to be in place would be the hospitalization rate. That’s the measure that should actually be counting for everyone right now. It’s how many people are in the hospital, how many people are in ICU. Those numbers are very low comparable to even influenza season.
CTV News: Seventeen candidates are running for the Buffalo Party, is this a case you feel the party needs to get out there first as opposed to running 61 and trying to get everyone voting?
Sira: We have to introduce to people who we are as a party first and we want to come with actual candidates who are relatable and they have a vision of statehood for Saskatchewan and we introduce this election, become official opposition and our goal is 2024.