Sask. NDP's Yens Pedersen wins Regina Northeast byelection

Yens Pedersen with the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party has secured a spot in the legislature following the Regina Northeast byelection.

Seat previously held by Sask. Party's Kevin Doherty

Yens Pedersen won the byelection for Regina Northeast with nearly 54 per cent of the vote. (Raluca Tomulescu/Radio-Canada)

Yens Pedersen with the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party has secured a spot in the legislature following the Regina Northeast byelection with nearly 54 per cent of the vote.

"We have sent a message to the people of Saskatchewan that we can do better," Pedersen said at the NDP headquarters after his win.

"Tonight is just the start of a battle to win our province back."

His main competitor was Gary Grewal of the Saskatchewan Party, who got 39 per cent of the vote.

It's the first win under Ryan Meili as the provincial NDP leader and the third byelection win in a row for NDP in Regina and Saskatoon.

Meili flew in from Humboldt and arrived to congratulate and introduce Pedersen.

Pedersen replaces Kevin Doherty, who was with the Sask. Party and left politics in March for a job in the private sector. 

The lawyer and small business owner has lived in Regina for the past 20 years. He has twice tried to win a seat for Regina South, losing in the 2007 and 2011 elections.

He also lost a bid for leadership of the Saskatchewan NDP in 2009.

Pedersen said he is concerned about the cuts to education and healthcare.

"I will raise the issue of our valuable teachers and give them the resources they need to do their job," he said Wednesday night. "We have sent a message to the province that we can stop the cuts."

Six candidates ran for the seat:

  • Yens Pedersen, Saskatchewan New Democratic Party — 2,676 votes.
  • Gary Grewal, Saskatchewan Party — 1,945 votes.
  • Ken Grey, Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan — 142 votes.
  • Jessica Schroeder, Saskatchewan Green Party — 96 votes.
  • Reid Hill, Saskatchewan Liberal Party — 65 votes.
  • Mark W. Regel, Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan — 37 votes.

Almost 40 per cent of registered voters cast a ballot in this election, compared to about 57 per cent who did so in 2016.

Lower numbers are typical for byelections, where voter turnout is generally about half or less than general elections.

Historically an NDP seat

The Regina Northeast constituency has typically been a safe seat for the NDP. The party held the seat for 40 of the last 50 years.

The NDP held the seat from its establishment in 1967 until 1982, when it was taken by the Progressive Conservatives.

The NDP was again victorious in 1985 and held on to the seat until 2011.

Doherty won the seat for the Saskatchewan Party by 1,400 votes in 2011 and 1,000 votes in 2016.

With files from Adam Hunter and Ashleigh Mattern