Saskatchewan

Seven Sask. election races to watch

There are 61 seats in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly up for grabs on Oct. 26 but not all constituencies will be in play. Here are seven to watch.

'Battlegrounds' expected in Regina and Saskatoon

Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe places a lawn sign for Regina University candidate Tina Beaudry-Mellor. The constituency was one of the closest races in 2016. (Matthew Howard/CBC)

There are 61 seats in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly up for grabs on Oct. 26 but not all constituencies will be in play.

Last time, the Saskatchewan Party swept southern and central Saskatchewan. It won 36 seats by at least 60 per cent or more.

There are a handful of seats that were decided by five or six percentage points in 2016 and could again be close races on election day this time around.

Here's a look at some of the races you should be watching.

Prince Albert Northcote 

Incumbent: Nicole Rancourt (NDP)

2016 results: Rancourt defeated Victoria Jurgens of the Saskatchewan Party by 261 votes.

History lesson: The NDP has won this seat in six of the last seven elections dating back to 1991. The lone Sask. Party win came in 2011 by 191 votes.

Of note: The government announced a $300 million expansion of Victoria Hospital in March. The hospital is in the Northcote constituency.

The race: Nicole Rancourt of the NDP is the incumbent and the has been the party critic for social services. The Saskatchewan Party's Alana Ross won a contested nomination in 2019. She has served as the constituency association president since 2011.

Other race to watch: Moose Jaw Wakamow

Regina Northeast

Incumbent: Yens Pedersen (NDP)

History lesson: This seat has been traditionally NDP orange since 1967. Former Saskatchewan Party Finance Minister Kevin Doherty held the seat from 2011-18.

Of note: Regina Northeast is home to the Co-op Refinery Complex, which saw a six-month lockout end in June. Members of Unifor Local 594 rallied in front of the legislature in June, days before an agreement was reached.

The race: Doherty resigned as an MLA in 2018 triggering a byelection. Pedersen beat Gary Grewal of the Sask. Party by 731 votes. Grewal won a contested nomination and is again the candidate. It is one of only a few constituencies with four candidates on the ballot at this point.

Regina Pasqua 

Incumbent: Muhammad Fiaz (SP)

History lesson: This was a newly created seat in 2016, which combined parts of four other constituencies.

Of note: The constituency has seen a major increase in population from four years ago with the Harbour Landing neighbourhood. According to the city's most recent census, it has the lowest median age at 29.9. Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe kicked off his campaign here on Tuesday.

The race: Fiaz is one of the few Saskatchewan Party incumbents who needed to win a contested nomination. He won in 2016 by 298 votes. The NDP candidate is Bhajan Brar.

Moe and Muhammad Fiaz on campaign sign in Regina Pasqua. Fiaz is seeking re-election. (Adam Hunter/CBC)

Regina University 

Incumbent: Tina Beaudry-Mellor (SP)

History lesson: The electoral map revision in 2013 created this new seat in Regina's south end. Beaudry-Mellor won the first election in the new constituency. The Regina South constituency was held by the Liberals, PCs, NDP and the Saskatchewan Party at various points between 1964 and 2016.

Of note: Moe's first stop after launching his campaign on Tuesday was to visit Beaudry-Mellor and assist with putting up lawn signs.

The race: This is another 2016 rematch. The NDP candidate is Regina Public School Board trustee Aleana Young. Beaudry-Mellor beat Young by 417 votes in 2016. The other two candidates received a combined 566 votes.

Others Regina races to watch: Regina Coronation Park, Regina Walsh Acres

Saskatoon Meewasin 

Incumbent: Ryan Meili (NDP)

History lesson: Meili won a byelection in 2017 following the death of Roger Parent of the Saskatchewan Party. Parent won in 2011 and 2016. The NDP held the seat for 20 years from 1991 to 2011.

Of note: The Saskatchewan Party has managed to beat the last two NDP leaders with rookie candidates in their first elections after winning the leadership. Meili will hope to break the streak.

The race: Rylund Hunter is the Saskatchewan Party candidate. He is a lawyer and former U of S Huskies football player.

Saskatoon Riversdale

Incumbent: Danielle Chartier (NDP) — not seeking re-election

History lesson: The seat of former NDP premiers Roy Romanow and Lorne Calvert. It has been an NDP seat for 49 of 53 years, including 1986 to present.

Of note: Prairie Harm Reduction, formerly AIDS Saskatoon, sits on the border of Riversdale and Saskatoon Centre constituency. In March, the government denied $1.3 million to help fund the city's first supervised consumption site.

The race: The NDP's Ashlee Hicks takes Chartier's place and will try and keep the seat. The Saskatchewan Party's candidate is Marv Friesen. In 2016 Chartier beat Friesen by 259 votes.

NDP Leader Ryan Meili won a byelection in Saskatoon Meewasin in 2017. The seat was won by the Saskatchewan Party in 2011 and 2016. (Trevor Bothorel/Radio-Canada)

Saskatoon University 

Incumbent: Eric Olauson (SP)

History lesson:  2016 was the first time this constituency was back in its form since 1991. It combined Saskatoon Sutherland and Saskatoon Greystone in the electoral changes in 2016.

Of note: Naveed Anwar stepped down as the Liberal Party of Saskatchewan leader and the nominee for Saskatoon University on Sept. 10. 

The race: This is a rematch of 2016, when Olauson beat NDP candidate Jennifer Bowes by 348 votes. Olauson was the runner-up in the vote for Speaker of the Legislative Assembly to Mark Docherty in 2018.

Others Saskatoon races to watch: Saskatoon Churchill-Wildwood, Saskatoon Eastview, Saskatoon Westview

About the Author

Adam Hunter

Journalist

Adam Hunter is the provincial affairs reporter at CBC Saskatchewan, based in Regina. He has been with CBC for 13 years. He hosts the CBC podcast On the Ledge. Follow him on Twitter @AHiddyCBC. Contact him: adam.hunter@cbc.ca

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