While many of us have already done so, whether it be voting by mail or by going to an advance poll, it is voting day in Saskatchewan on Monday, as Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party look to stay in power by winning a 4th mandate.
While a recent Angus Reid poll suggests that will happen as the Saskatchewan Party had a 27-point advantage, there are some who believe Ryan Meili and the NDP will pick up a couple of seats from when the legislature was dissolved. At that time, the Saskatchewan Party had 46 of 61 seats available with the NDP having 13 and two constituencies without an MLA (Regina Walsh Acres and Saskatoon Eastview).
At least 14 of 61 ridings will see a brand new MLA. Besides Regina Walsh Acres and Saskatoon Eastview, which have been controversially without a MLA since Warren Steinley and Corey Tochor left the world of provincial politics for federal politics, there are others who will be taking over for MLA’s on both sides who did not seek re-election.
On the Saskatchewan Party side, there are new candidates after the departure of Nancy Heppner (Martensville-Warman), Warren Michelson (Moose Jaw North), Dan D’Autremont (Cannington), Greg Brkich (Arm River), Glen Hart (Last Mountain-Touchwood), Herb Cox (Battlefords) and Larry Doke (Cut Knife-Turtleford) with four NDP MLA’s also saying it was time to leave. Those four are Cathy Sproule (Saskatoon Nutana), David Forbes (Saskatoon Centre), Warren McCall (Regina Elphinstone Centre) and Danielle Chartier (Saskatoon Riversdale).
Over the month of October, both Moe and Meili have been criss-crossing the province making election promise after election promise. The Saskatchewan Party has told us they have a plan to make life more affordable – for students, seniors, families, homeowners and everyone which means a strong economy and a strong Saskatchewan while the NDP has said it will put people first by doing things like instituting a $15 minimum wage, a revival of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company, hiring additional workers in the healthcare sector and lowering SGI insurance premiums.
While there are ridings that are slam-dunks for both parties, there are several interesting races with some of those in Regina. With Steinley leaving to become an MP, the Saskatchewan Party is hoping former Global Regina TV sportscaster Derek Meyers can retain the seat, but former NDP cabinet minister Sandra Morin is running as an independent. Morin had hoped to be running for the NDP, but Meili would not endorse that candidacy and she was dropped.
That is not the only Regina riding which will draw interest from political pundits Monday night. Regina University will see the NDP’s Aleana Young try to take down cabinet minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor. In the 2016 election, Beaudry-Mellor won by just 417 votes.
Another Regina riding where the NDP will try to take a seat from the Saskatchewan Party is Regina Pasqua where Bhajan Brar tries to defeat the incumbent Muhammed Fiaz.
In Saskatoon, three NDP MLA’s are not seeking re-election as mentioned, but eyes will be on the riding of Saskatoon Meewasin as Meili will try and do something that Cam Broten couldn’t do in the 2016 provincial election and Dwain Lingenfelter couldn’t do in the 2011 election which is winning his own constituency as leader. Not doing that resulted in both Lingenfelter and Broten resigning which is something Meili is not hoping to follow.
Some other ridings across the province that many will watch include Moose Jaw Wakamow where the Saskatchewan Party’s Greg Lawrence is the incumbent and both Prince Albert ridings that are currently held by the NDP’s Nicole Rancourt and the Saskatchewan Party’s Joe Hargrave.
Many in Saskatchewan do not need to visit a polling station on Monday as they have already voted in advance polls over the last week or they are one of the over 60,000 who have decided to mail in their ballot. For those who have not voted, they have until 8 p.m Monday night to do so.
As a result of the many mail-in ballots, it may mean some results aren’t official for a while. In 2016, there were eight ridings that were won by less than 500 votes. Chief Electoral Officer Dr. Michael Boda has said that because of the mail-in ballots there are some races that won’t be able to be declared official until those ballots have been tabulated.
Once the polls close at 8 o’clock, 620 CKRM will be keeping you up to date with special reports throughout the evening. Drew Postey and Ryan McNally will provide you with the latest as the night goes on with updates also being found on our Twitter account ( @620ckrm) and our Facebook page.