The StarPhoenix and Regina Leader-Post, Thursday, February 21, 2008
Dion to rally support in controversial riding
By James Wood,
REGINA - Liberal Leader Stephane Dion will be in
Saskatchewan on Thursday to drum up votes and cash for
Dion will be in Wollaston Lake Thursday morning with
Joan Beatty, the former provincial NDP cabinet minister
appointed as the Liberal candidate in the March 17
Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River byelection.
In the afternoon he and Beatty will join Liberal MP
Ralph Goodale in Prince Albert to meet with Prince
Albert Grand Council and community leaders.
"The reason that we go out is to show support and to
rally some support for the candidate," said Dion
spokesperson Sarah Bain in a telephone interview.
The day's events will be followed by a party
fundraising dinner in Regina.
Bain said Dion also expects to hear from Liberal
members on whether the party should bring down the
minority Conservative government and force a spring
One item that won't be on the agenda, however, is a
reconciliation with one of Dion's most prominent former
supporters in Saskatchewan.
David Orchard had been seeking the Liberal nomination
in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River, only to see Dion
appoint Beatty. The move set off a furor among some
Liberal supporters in the sprawling northern riding.
No meeting is planned between Dion and Orchard, the
anti-free trade activist who backed Dion in the 2006
Liberal leadership race.
"Nothing has changed. The situation is pretty fixed
with the appointment," said Orchard spokesperson
"There's no alternative. Nothing has been offered,
you know, even to be considered. So it is the status
quo. The status quo prevails."
Repo said Orchard won't run as independent or seek
the Green Party nomination in the northern riding. He is
also not planning at this point on running in another
riding as a Liberal in a general election, she said.
The northern riding was vacated last September by the
resignation of Liberal MP Gary Merasty.
The Conservative candidate is RCMP officer Rob
Clarke, while the NDP recently nominated fire protection
officer Brian Morin.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper was in Prince Albert in