POLITICS
12/30/2013 04:00 EST | Updated 02/28/2014 05:59 EST

Saskatchewan NDP says 2013 was important year; looks to make strides in 2014

REGINA - Saskatchewan New Democrats took steps to rebuild the party in 2013 with the election of a new leader.

Saskatoon MLA Cam Broten, whose grandfather served alongside former premiers Tommy Douglas and Woodrow Lloyd, took over a party in March that holds just nine of 58 seats in the legislature.

Broten says 2013 was an important and productive year for the party.

In the spring, Saskatchewan passed legislation the NDP leader introduced that makes reporting of asbestos in public buildings mandatory.

The New Democrats also raised seniors issues during question period that prompted the government to review long-term care in Saskatchewan and set up a $10-million fund to deal with urgent problems.

Broten says the NDP has been trying to strike a balance between opposing the government and proposing new ideas — and that will continue in 2014.

"Yes, we need to oppose. Yes, we need to highlight where the government is falling short and hold them to account. That's the role of an Opposition," Broten said in year-end interview with The Canadian Press.

"But it's also about coming forward with solutions, coming forward with good ideas and I think we've been really constructive in that approach and have done our part.

"That's part of who we are. That's part of who I am. It's not simply about criticizing for the sake of an argument, but it's about improving things."