OTTAWA – A Saskatchewan sportscaster has snatched the Conservative party nomination away from a longtime Conservative MP – and cabinet minister – who had been seeking to run in a newly-created riding. Kevin Waugh had only announced last month that he would challenge Minister of State for Consular Affairs Lynne Yelich for the nomination in the riding of Saskatoon-Grasswood.
Yelich had been the MP for Blackstrap since 2000, but that riding was sliced up during the redistribution of boundaries for the upcoming federal campaign and she had decided to run in the more urban portion of the new riding.
Waugh was not immediately available for interviews following his win late Monday night.
“What can I say….Thank you everyone for your well wishes and support,” he wrote on Twitter.
Though several Conservative MPs were challenged for the nomination in new ridings across the country, Yelich is only one of two to be defeated.
The other was longtime Alberta MP Rob Anders who failed to win the party’s nomination in two different Calgary-area districts.
The only other cabinet minister to face a challenge was former aboriginal affairs minister and current government whip John Duncan, who eventually succeeded in winning the nomination for the new B.C. riding of Courtenay-Alberni.
Mike Lake, parliamentary secretary for industry, was challenged for the nomination in a new Edmonton-area riding, but won the vote.
Yelich had been rumoured to be thinking about retiring ahead of the fall vote, but announced in mid-June she would run for the nomination in the new riding.
Though the electoral battle lines were redrawn ahead of the October vote, Saskatchewan has not been allocated any more seats for the next Parliament.
But ridings that had traditionally been a mix of urban and rural communities were split more definitely between the two.
The new riding of Saskatoon-Greenwood is among three new urban ridings for the city of Saskatoon.
For now, 13 of the provinces’ 14 ridings in total are held by the Conservatives, and one by longtime Liberal Ralph Goodale.
But most of the contests have historically been between the Conservatives and the NDP.
Still, that party didn’t win a single seat in the province in the last election, a blow considering it was born in Saskatchewan in the 1960s.