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Voting Day November 5, 2003 
News

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NDP will lead change, Calvert proclaims
WebPosted Nov 5 2003 10:58 PM CST

REGINA- Lorne Calvert did the unexpected. He led a party that was behind in spring polling to form a majority government, and win a fourth consecutive term.

"They said it couldn't be done. We did it," Calvert told a crowd of cheering supporters in Saskatoon.

"The momentum changed. The momentum came to the New Democrats. The momentum is now with Saskatchewan," Calvert said.

Calvert called Saskatchewan the best place to call home and championed what he called a strong and vibrant democracy.

He went on to thank his family and especially the person he says convinced him to have an election, his grandson Levi.

In his gracious victory speech, Calvert expressed gratitude to all candidates who let their names stand in this election, including Liberal leader David Karwacki and Saskatchewan Party leader Elwin Hermanson, for the campaigns that they ran.

"The people of Saskatchewan, tonight, clearly have said they want change and they have entrusted the New Democratic Party to lead that change," Calvert said.

"We will build a better Saskatchewan for Saskatchewan families: that is our pledge," he said to shouting supporters.

Calvert trumpeted the party's gains in popular vote, which increased to 44.5 per cent from the 38.7 per cent that Romanow received when he formed the minority government that Calvert inherited in 2001.

As a leader Calvert always maintained a high popularity rating. Though his party appeared neck and neck with the Saskatchewan Party, it was clear that people preferred Calvert over Hermanson for the job of premier.

Even though his opponents both campaigned that it was time for a change, Calvert told supporters that voters did choose change by electing a majority government that will work to build a better Saskatchewan.

Calvert later told reporters why he thinks the NDP won a majority government.

"I think it was the combination of a positive campaign, a positive vision, with the four key commitments which, I think, touched people where they live."

Calvert was asked to respond to criticisms that his party is tired after 12 years, especially given the obstacles the NDP faced over the last two years.

"I think governments are judged not by how well you do in easy times, but how you manage through more difficult times," he said. "The people of Saskatchewan, in majority now, have said, 'you have managed well in difficult times and you have earned our trust again.' And now we have work to do on behalf of those people."