Paul Carroll reflects on Tory leadership race

Paul Carroll’s bid to become the next leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan came up short.

Carroll, who was the party’s candidate in the Estevan constituency in the 2016 provincial election, and is the current mayor of Bienfait, was defeated by Regina’s Ken Grey during the party’s leadership convention Saturday in Moose Jaw.

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The results of the leadership race were not immediately available.

Carroll said he didn’t perform well during his speech before voting took place, and he expects that cost him some votes.

“Ken did perform well at the podium, and delivered a very dynamic speech, and I think that he was rewarded for it,” said Carroll.

In his speech, Carroll criticized what he views as an excessive amount provincial sales tax (PST) now being paid in Saskatchewan. He not only targeted the decision to increase the PST from five per cent to six per cent last year, but to apply it to such expenses as children’s clothing.

“That’s very detrimental to people with young families, and they should be rewarded for helping grow the population,” said Carroll.

He also criticized the amount of money spent on the Regina bypass and the issues that have been encountered with the Global Transportation Hub.

“I talked about committees to help bolster our party both in the north and south, and to arrange for candidates in all of the ridings in the next election,” said Carroll.

Most of his support came from the Estevan area. Carroll doesn’t think he had enough support from people in Regina, and he believes Grey had most of his support from the Queen City. It was tough going up against someone from a market of that size.

“He had many members here who were in attendance, and so I could see that I was up against the wall early in the day, but I tried to put my best face on and hope for the best, and that didn’t happen,” said Carroll.

Carroll was the first candidate to submit his nomination papers for the party’s leadership. At the time, the PC Party was calling for candidates to become the next leader. He was looking to start the process, and he hoped that after he filed his papers, others would follow suit.

“As I gathered a little bit of momentum in my campaign, I certainly got more serious about it, and the last half of my campaign, I certainly was considering the possibility (of becoming the PC leader),” said Carroll.

Grey filed his nomination papers in September, after running for the PCs in the Regina Northeast by-election. Carroll had campaigned for Grey during the by-election, and Carroll was impressed with how Grey presented himself.

Carroll characterized the leadership race as an excellent experience, and he was happy with how he was received and the knowledge he gained.

“Will I ever try it again? I don’t know. I’ll take some time to reflect, because there were some mistakes made on my part,” said Carroll.

He will remain involved with the PC Party at the executive level. He’s uncertain if he would run for the party again in the 2020 provincial election, but he supports Grey.

“There will be some good movement in our party because of him. I think he has some good ideas, and some good people that he has brought in, too.”

Grey will replace Ken Swenson, who has been the party leader since 2006. Swenson was presented with a gift during the convention for his service.


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