Sask. now Canada's Tory stronghold as election delivers status quo, few surprises
Saskatchewan is the only province not to elect a single Liberal
Election night in Saskatchewan was bereft of surprises, say political analysts in the province, as the Conservative Party's blue fortress held up against challenges from the left and the right.
"I don't think there are any surprises. I think Saskatchewan is what we thought it was with respect to its voting behaviour and voting pattern," said Daniel Westlake, assistant professor of political studies at the University of Saskatchewan.
Saskatchewan voters delivered the Conservative Party its strongest support in Canada with nearly 60 per cent of all votes in the province, eclipsing Alberta's 55 per cent.
Saskatchewan is the only province not to elect a single Liberal.
"We are probably the most conservative province in the country on a lot of metrics," said Jim Farney, associate professor at the Johnson Shoyama graduate school of public policy.
Farney said he thought a return to 2015's electoral map, which had the NDP winning three seats, was possible.
He said he did not expect such a large margin of victory for the Conservatives in the province's northern riding of Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River, which featured long-time NDP MLA turned federal Liberal Buckley Belanger finishing a distant second to CPC incumbent Gary Vidal.
Westlake said he was also expecting a closer race in the north, and that the poor result for the Liberals and NDP in the north is "not great if those parties are thinking of having success in Saskatchewan in the future."
Urban ridings Saskatoon West and Regina-Lewvan went to the NDP in 2015, but both ended up in comfortable victories for the Conservative incumbents this time around.
"There are left-wing urban pockets. And if the NDP can mobilize enough of those voters they can be competitive in ridings like Saskatoon West," Westlake said.
Moe calls election 'pointless'
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have not managed to agree on much over the past three and a half years, and that trend looks like it could continue.
"It's almost the same story is after 2019, where you've got a Liberal government that can pass policy if it gets the support of either the NDP or the Bloc Québécois without a lot of representation from Saskatchewan," Westlake said.
Farney called the relationship between Saskatchewan and the Liberal government "status quo."
"The big program that was announced right before the election was child care. That's safe. It's going to roll out. The energy, carbon tax story will remain as it was, and we're going to have to adjust to the implementation of it."
Farney said the Liberal win may push the Trudeau government further left.
"Does this give permission to Justin Trudeau to kind of move to the left to run a more progressive government? If that's what he does, then the gap between him and Saskatchewan voters will be larger than it's been before."
Premier Scott Moe released a statement Tuesday morning calling the election "pointless."
"The Prime Minister spent $600 million of taxpayers' dollars and five weeks further dividing the country to arrive at almost the same result as where we started," Moe said.
Moe said the money should have been spent on the country's health-care system, boosting vaccination rates and helping lead the country's economic recovery.
At a news conference Tuesday morning, Moe said the Saskatchewan government would work with the federal government, which he said would continue to be "propped up" by the NDP.
The Liberal Party managed to garner 10 per cent of the vote in the province, while the NDP received 20 per cent.
"Ninety per cent of the people in Saskatchewan do not want Justin Trudeau to be prime minister," Moe said.
Moe did not congratulate Trudeau on his victory.
"The only stop the prime minister made in Saskatchewan was to refuel his jet," Moe said Tuesday.
The only federal leaders to visit Saskatchewan more than once during the 36-day campaign were NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier.
Sask. vote increases for PPC, while CPC, Greens drop
As of Tuesday, the Conservatives dropped about four per cent of its vote share in Saskatchewan compared to 2019.
Here's how the other parties fared compared to 2019, with results still to come from mail-in ballots:
- PPC: +5 per cent
- NDP: +1 per cent
- Green Party: -1.5 per cent
- Liberal: -1.6 per cent
- CPC: -4.3 per cent
The Maverick Party, running for the first time in the province, received 1.4 per cent of the vote, ahead of the Green Party's 1.1 per cent.
The People's Party chose Saskatoon as its election night headquarters. Bernier was questioned about a lack of masking at the indoor gathering.
Overall, the PPC increased its vote share to 6.8 per cent in Saskatchewan, up from 1.8 in 2019.
Moe said the PPC and its leader ran on "one issue" and called it "an anti-vax party."
The People's Party manage to finish second in Souris-Moose Mountain and received 12 per cent of the vote in Moose Jaw-Lake Centre-Lanigan.
Farney called the PPC vote share "substantial," as its sits at 5 per cent nationally, close to the Bloc Québécois' 7.8 per cent.
"This kind of populist, anti-establishment piece looks like it's now part of the Canadian political system."
The PPC failed to win a seat on Monday night, with its leader Bernier losing in his race in Quebec.
Westlake said not winning a seat for the second straight election makes it hard for the PPC.
"If you don't win seats at some point, people decide you're not going to be competitive and they stop voting for you and the party. Also, the organization starts to have problems because they don't benefit from being in the House of Commons," Westlake said.
With files from Yasmine Ghania
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