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On stopping the cuts

I'm less surprised than some by Scott Moe's ascent to the Saskatchewan Party's Leadership in an extremely close, four-way leadership race. But it will particularly be worth keeping an eye on one aspect of the campaign which looks to have been crucial in propelling him into the Premier's office.

Unlike the other last two candidates standing, Moe responded to the Saskatchewan Teachers' Federations' #pickapremier campaign with a specific policy offering. And his promise of additional resources for education may well have been a decisive choice: the other candidates who catered to new STF members were the first to drop off the ballot, and their supporters put Moe over the top after he trailed on the first ballot.

But Moe's specific promise to the education sector alone should call into question his concurrent threat of broader public-sector cuts. And it's not hard to draw an analogy to Alberta's experience in leadership politics in seeing how he may have set a trap for himself.

After all, Alison Redford won both the Alberta PCs' leadership and a provincial election campaign by appealing to public servants and moderates against harder-right options. But having built her personal brand and support base around recognizing the value of public services, she left her party vulnerable to an opponent who could more credibly promise to defend them.

We'll thus see whether Moe tries to fund education while slashing elsewhere, or recognizes that the same principles which justify more money for education apply equally to other public services. But if he pursues the former path - or worse yet, breaks his education promise in an effort to keep his own party's anti-government voices on his side - then his campaign strategy may have given voters license to base their decisions in the next provincial election on an end to the cuts.

This post first appeared on Accidental Deliberations, please read the originial post: here

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On stopping the cuts


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