Liberal Leader David Karwacki’s entrance would prove to be representative of tactics he'd later use in the provincial leader’s debate.
The fist punches of support he gave and received wouldn’t be the last of the evening, but those in the later hours were not so jovial.
“I don’t think you’re going to form the next government,” he told NDP Leader Lorne Calvert while turning his back to face Brad Wall, leader of the Saskatchewan Party.
But the statement didn’t go unattended.
“I guess when you’re short on votes you go long on words,” Calvert said, commenting on the Liberal leader’s relentless presence during the “Open Debate” portion of the live broadcast.
Karwacki’s voice was consistent throughout these segments, which more often than not turned into a shouting match. He questioned whether the NDP’s drug plan included “truth serum,” and frankly told Calvert he was a “bad negotiator” in his fight for equalization.
Both he and Calvert repeatedly expressed fears over the Saskatchewan Party’s “Enterprise Saskatchewan” initiative, which Karwacki said would give too much power to an unelected body.
Wall and Calvert both grilled the Liberal hopeful when he referred to a highway running from Weyburn to Plentywood, Montana as a “beer run” while discussing how to fix provincial motorways.
Wall was “shocked” by what he call’s Karwacki’s “dismissal” of rural Saskatchewan.
“I think it’s clear he’s running in one seat,” he said afterwards. “The platform reflects that. The comments reflect that.”
Karwacki didn’t think that comment was insulting at all, saying it was a rather innocent recollection of his younger years.
“When my friends were in Grade 12 they’d leave the hockey game and go down to Plentywood, Montana for beer,” he told reporters.
Money should be strategically spent on highways with the most need, he said.
Asked later if it was “appropriate” for him to play such a role in the debate given his low level support in the last election, Karwacki said he wasn’t sure if he dominated the debate or not.
“That’s for the people of Saskatchewan to make a judgment,” he said. “In this debate we just needed to show we could be an effective opposition.”