Saskatchewan a province to watch in federal election, says political scientist
Boundary changes may change voting in some ridings
The federal election is now underway, and Saskatchewan could play a vital role in national political fortunes.
In Saskatchewan, the Conservative Party appears to be primed for the election, having candidates in all 14 provincial ridings. The NDP has one more spot to fill, while the Liberal Party needs to formally announce candidates in six ridings.
While every federal election grabs headlines, Joe Garcea, a political scientist at the University of Saskatchewan, said this will be one to watch closely.
"I think that there are many more constituencies up for grabs than ever before," said Garcea.
Garcea said some ridings in major cities to watch include: Regina—Lewvan, Saskatoon—West, Saskatoon—University and Saskatoon—Grasswood.
In the Desnethe—Missinippi—Churchill River riding in northern Saskatchewan, Garcea said there may be an opportunity for other parties to make an impact.
"Given the aboriginal grievances against the Conservative government in the past year or two, I think the fact that Conservatives may lose some support."
While the number of seats for Saskatchewan remains the same from 2011's federal election, boundary changes to some ridings may become a factor in the results of this fall's election.
Ridings in the major cities are now considered entirely urban and Garcea said, "therefore you don't get that urban-rural split. Some believe that that may help the NDP because the Conservatives were getting a lot of their support in such ridings in the rural areas."
Garcea's guess is that whichever party gets the votes will have to earn it through a long campaign.
"It's really a question of who's got the largest army on the ground and who has got the greatest stamina because it is going to be a long and hard-fought election."