With the upcoming provincial elections, the Sheaf presents your university riding candidates discussing their party’s platforms.
Saskatchewan Party candidate Eric Olauson and Saskatchewan New Democrats Party candidate Jennifer Bowes are competing for the riding.
Olauson is running for re-election after winning the seat in 2016. He previously served multiple positions at the civic level.
Bowes is running in an election for the second time. She has worked for the Ministry of Corrections, the Elizabeth Fry Society and the Ministry of Social Services, and is now working for the Service Employees International Union West.
Eric Olauson, “Strong Saskatchewan”
Olauson says that the Sask. Party aims to build a strong economy through key investments, with the goal of balancing the budget by 2024. Their plan includes reducing small business taxes, increasing the Saskatchewan Advantage Scholarship and reintroducing the Active Families Benefit.
“I believe that a strong economic recovery, creating more jobs and making life more affordable will benefit everyone in the province,” Olauson said in an email to the Sheaf.
The Sask. Party will be increasing the Advantage Scholarship from $500 per year to $750 per year to support students. Olauson also brings up that the Sask. Party government introduced the Graduate Retention Program in 2008, which gives graduates with up to $20,000 of their tuition back through tax credits over several years.
The program’s purpose is “to assist with the cost of tuition and encourage young people to stay, live and work in Saskatchewan upon graduation,” Olauson said.
Olauson also believes that tax cuts for small businesses will attract new investment and provide job opportunities for students, who will then choose to build a life in Saskatchewan.
Under Sask. Party leadership, according to Olauson, support for the University of Saskatchewan has been unparalleled.
“I believe the University of Saskatchewan plays a key role in our economy and the social fabric of our city and province,” Olauson said. “I will continue to support and advocate for the university if re-elected as I have for the last four and a half years.”
Olauson encourages students to look at each party’s platforms and to investigate which party has a better plan for the economic development of Saskatchewan.
“I would encourage students to vote because your voice matters,” Olauson said.
Jennifer Bowes, “Putting People First”
According to Bowes, the Sask. NDP’s platform is to support everyone including vulnerable people in the province, providing “the most opportunities for the greatest amount of people.”
In support of students, Bowes says the Sask. NDP has promised to eliminate interest on student loans and to provide free tuition for students coming out of the foster care system. Additionally, the party hopes to keep tuition fees affordable in the province.
“What I want to see at the university is [investment] in our students here,” Bowes said. “Our party is also committed to investing in scholarship and grant programs.”
Bowes says the Sask. Party’s promise to increase the Advantage Scholarship is “not going to be sufficient” for students already paying high tuition fees.
Bowes says that despite the problems that COVID-19 has posed to candidates, she has enjoyed the opportunity to connect with people through door knocking.
“People are much more receptive to talking about political issues and about their concerns. I think that’s been a really welcome change is that people have seemed much more engaged,” Bowes said.
Although the student demographic in the riding looks different this year due to online learning, Bowes says that student votes in Saskatoon–University are important.
“I think that students definitely have a voice and they definitely do use their voice here,” Bowes said. “I really encourage students to get out and vote and to make sure that [they are] exercising [their] democratic right.”
Wardah Anwar | News Editor