Less than two months away from the provincial election, the Saskatchewan Liberal Party is without a leader.
Naveed Anwar, who has led the party since 2018, officially stepped down this morning in a media release. The party has said that they “remain committed to supporting [their] existing candidates” and appointing new ones.
The coming election on Oct. 26 played a role in Anwar’s decision to leave Liberal party leadership, as he wished to opt-out of the “blame game” of campaigning. Anwar has been in the Liberal party since 2016, a switch after his time as a candidate in the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party.
“You have to roll up your sleeves and give statements against other parties to get into the role,” Anwar said in an interview with the Sheaf. “That doesn’t go with my heart and my beliefs so I would rather stay away.”
Anwar is no longer in the running for the Saskatoon-University riding and currently is not planning to continue his career in politics, which he thinks are “going sideways”.
“Instead of helping people, we are just blaming each other and furthering the interest of certain lobbies and certain people,” Anwar said.
Despite his disillusionment, Anwar has decided to stay on the Liberal party executive team as a former party leader.
“I wanted to stay on as [an] executive to push for this agenda — we have to focus on policies instead of the blame game,” Anwar said. “I’m still in support of the party. They have programs and policies that reflect my views.”
“I’m just stepping away from the leadership. As a leader, I had to present a certain idea against other parties; you can never say that your opponents have done something positive.”
The SLP is currently “beginning the process of finding an interim leader,” who will take Anwar’s place for the time being.
Anwar hopes that once a new party leader is elected, they will “bring new energy” and follow the policies and beliefs of the SLP. Saskatchewan has not elected a Liberal candidate for a seat in the legislature since 1999.
“Politicians should start thinking about the social aspects, about humanity, rather than about their interests and the party’s interests,” Anwar said.
Ana Cristina Camacho | Copy Editor
Photo: Supplied/ Naveed Anwar