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Regina candidates weigh in on extended election campaign

REGINA – It will be the longest federal election campaign in Canada’s history, but local candidates don’t believe it will hinder their chances of being elected. Many candidates hit the ground running when the writ was dropped Sunday morning.

Erin Weir wasted no time getting his message across to voters. He is running for the NDP in the Regina-Lewvan riding and spent the morning door-knocking with a volunteer.

“Being out, being accessible, knocking on doors is really the most important thing you can do as a candidate,” said Weir.

Weir added the length of the campaign doesn’t necessarily change his approach. “For me, it doesn’t really have a big effect that the Governor General signed a piece of paper today. I’m out knocking on doors the way I would’ve been anyway.”

Regina-Wascana incumbent Ralph Goodale was also ready to go. He spent Sunday morning talking to voters as he flipped pancakes at the annual Queen City Exhibition breakfast.

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“We’ll take the time available to talk to Canadians,” said the Liberal MP. Goodale said he’ll use August to meet people at community events, before knocking on doors. “You’ve got to make sure you pace yourself through that period of time and don’t become an aggravation to voters.”

The extra time could, however, benefit first time candidates like Tamela Friesen.

“Especially being new to the game and not already famous in Regina like some of my counterparts in the industry, gives me more of an opportunity to talk to people,” said the Green Party candidate for Regina-Lewvan.

“It’s probably a greater advantage to somebody who’s brand new,” said Goodale. “They haven’t had the opportunity to be in the public eye before and now the public eye will be twice as long as it was.”

But the reining party is coming in confident. Andrew Scheer is the Conservative incumbent for Regina-Qu’Appelle.

“I feel like we have a strong record and as long as people in Saskatchewan are able to get our message, they’ll trust us to manage the economy for another four years,” he said on the phone from Ottawa.

On Sunday, however, the Conservatives were fielding questions about the costs associated with an extended campaign.

“I think it’s important to remember the election date stays the same, it’s October 19th,” said Scheer.

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“The difference now, is that instead of being able to charge taxpayers through their Parliamentary budgets, they’ll have to raise that money themselves and get party supporters to pay for it for them.”

The Liberals were quick to disagree: “It is absolutely untrue to say that political parties pay the whole shot,” said Goodale.

The NDP echoed that statement.

“There’s expenses for elections Canada to administer the election, and now they have to do that for 11 weeks, compared to the usual five weeks,” said Weir.

At the end of the day, the decision will lie with voters on election day.

WATCH BELOW: University of Regina political scientist Jim Farney joined us live in studio to talk about the political landscape in Saskatchewan

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