Steven Bonk has been nominated as the Saskatchewan Party candidate in the Moosomin riding.
Raised on a farm, Bonk works with Xports International Inc., a consulting and livestock exporting business that he helped establish, as well as helping to run a custom grazing business with his father.
He is a member of the Wolseley Community School Council, Glenavon Agriculture Society, the Southeast Saskatchewan Social Services Appeal Board, and sits on the international committees of both the Canadian Western Agribition and Farm Progress Show.
Bonk defeated three other candidates—Moosomin’s Jeff Cole, Grenfell’s Lloyd Gwilliam and Wolseley’s Robert Stringer.
Saskatchewan Party members made the decision at a nomination meeting Tuesday evening in Kipling.
Don Toth will serve as Moosomin MLA until the next election, and Bonk will represent the Saskatchewan Party in that election.
Bonk said he was elated with his win. “It feels great,” he said after the results were announced. “Statistically I knew it looked good but you never know in politics.”
What does he think made the difference for him?
“Just getting out there and meeting everyone personally,” he said. “That was the secret, I think.”
Premier Brad Wall said he was happy with the turnout of hundreds of people for the meeting—600 people registered to vote Tuesday night.
“It’s a credit to the candidates,” Wall said. “They obviously worked very hard and didn’t just sell the memberships—we’re up to well over 1,100 now—but then they got them out, and that’s the most important thing, getting people out for your respective campaign.”
How impressive is that 1,100 number? “That would be one of the top three rural constituencies for membership right now,” Wall said. “Melville just went through theirs, I think they’re around 600.”
How important is it to have a contested nomination? “It’s very important,” says Wall. “They’re some of the hardest things in politics, because the people who are running in them agree on the most important things. Their principles are the same, their desires for their communities are the same, and yet they’re competing.”
Wall says party members now have to put the nomination battle behind them and look forward to the next election.
“It’s so important to come together quickly and unite behind the candidate,” he said.
He said he is happy to welcome Bonk to the Saskatchewan Party Team
“He’s going to be a great candidate,” Wall said.
“If you can win a contested nomination with this many people, that’s a pretty good sign.”
Moosomin MLA Don Toth had a front row seat to see his successor chosen.
“I just thought tonight was just an awesome meeting,” he said at the end of the evening. “We had four quality candidates who stepped forward—and stepping forward for a nomination is not the easiest thing, it’s a lot of work. But four individuals stepped forward and, just by the crowd we had here, did an awesome job of getting out and inviting people to come out and help them out in the nomination process.
“I made a decision that it’s time to step aside and I’m looking forward to it and I’ve got about a year to continue to serve the people publicly.”
Toth said he has some advice for Bonk.
“All I would say to Steven is just continue what you’re doing. Get out, work hard, keep meeting people. Like I said to Steven and the other candidates who wanted the information, one of the things in rural Saskatchewan is to get out to the public events. That’s where you’re going to meet people. If you take the time to go there, people will respect you for doing it. Making yourself available is what works. And be yourself. Don’t try to be somebody you’re not.
“I really got to know him when he got on board with the executive, so about six years ago. As I’ve got to know him I’ve come to appreciate that he represents a lot of the values that I represented and tried to bring to the political realm and public life.”
Bonk lays out his qualifications
“Tonight is not about me, it’s about you, it’s about us, it’s about each of us contributing to the future of our province,” Bonk told the crowd before the vote.
“Tonight is about democracy in action. The great thing about democracy is it makes no difference if this is your first meeting or if you’ve been involved for decades. I want to represent you. I know that you have ideas. I know that you know things could be done differently.
“Your invitation tonight was an invitation to be involved, an invitation for your voice to be heard, both tonight and on an ongoing basis.
“My commitment to you is to stay connected, to hear from you, to respond to you, and most importantly to represent you.
“This is a very important riding. This is a Sask Party riding, a riding that has Sask Party values.
“It is a very diverse riding, a riding that has an important role to play in the new Saskatchewan. From oil production to potash, agriculture and innovation, this constituency has it all.
“For these reasons, Moosomin constituency deserves the strongest possible candidate, one with the work ethic, experience and tenacity to lead us through the next election and into the future, a candidate who will work tirelessly to ensure that your needs and priorities are promoted and upheld. I’m here tonight to tell you that I am that candidate.
“I will represent you as my track record demonstrates, with integrity, honesty, and vigor, through the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”