09/11/2013 05:21 EDT | Updated 11/11/2013 05:12 EST

Tom Mulcair's speech to laud NDP economic record

The federal NDP is wrapping up its summer caucus retreat in Saskatoon today, starting with a speech by leader Tom Mulcair.

Mulcair will laud the economic management of provincial NDP governments, including the mid-1990s government of former Saskatchewan premier Roy Romanow, who with finance minister Janice MacKinnon brought in successive balanced budgets.

The New Democrats have strong ties to Saskatchewan, the party where its forerunner, the CCF, was born, and Mulcair will laud Saskatchewan as not only the birthplace of the NDP, but of public health care too.

He'll also set himself up as the strongest leader to take on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, drawing a contrast with Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. Although Trudeau is at ease talking to Canadians, his performance in question period last spring was weaker than Mulcair's.

The expenses scandal in the Senate is bound to come up in Mulcair's speech to his 99 MPs, especially after he spent the summer travelling the country on the "roll up the red carpet" tour, referring to the Upper Chamber's red decor.

The speech kicks off the third and last day of the party's summer retreat.

MPs held a fundraiser last night at a local bar, with the proceeds going to support Saskatoon candidates.

The party runs second to the Conservatives in Saskatchewan and doesn't hold any seats in the province, despite its deep roots, but new riding boundaries should help the NDP.

The new ridings will include several urban ridings, rather than rural-urban splits, and come into effect in time for the 2015 federal election.