March 8, 2016 6:52 pm
Updated: March 9, 2016 8:29 am

Saskatchewan election strategies aimed at securing votes

WATCH ABOVE: Issues in election campaigns can be wide ranging from the economy to health. Meaghan Craig talks to an expert about what tactics should be employed by the two main parties in an effort to secure votes.

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SASKATOON – From door-knocking to competing for space on your front lawn, candidates will be wasting no time in securing your vote for the upcoming Saskatchewan election.

Experts predict this could be one of the most intense elections given that there’s so little time to win residents over. On Tuesday, tactics were already being used and gloves came off after Brad Wall announced at a campaign office in Saskatoon that the writ had been dropped.

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“There are a number of important issues that will be discussed in this campaign that will factor into people’s decision but there is no issue more important in Saskatchewan or more central to this election than the economy,” said Sask Party leader Brad Wall.

FULL COVERAGE: Saskatchewan Election 2016

Late last month, 54 per cent of Saskatchewan residents polled as part of an Insightrix survey agreed with the premier. Citing the economy as the top priority to tackle during this campaign with specific concerns about job creation, oil and gas downturns as well as budget deficits.

“The number of people that think the economy is important is really striking so I think suppose it’s a good strategy to focus economy because there’s a lot of anxieties,” said Daniel Béland, Canada Research Chair in Public Policy at the Johnson-Shoyama School of Public Policy at the University of Saskatchewan.

According to Béland, while the situation here isn’t as dire as other parts of the country, the premier needed to address the economy and enforce to voters that he’s the best person to navigate the province through tough times.

“When the economy doesn’t go so well you would expect politicians who are in power to be either booted out of the power or at least to lose which a bit of ground but right now if you look at the polls Brad Wall is still the most popular premier in the country.”

Béland says this is why parties like the NDP may be facing an uphill battle and are taking aim at everything.

Within a half hour of Wall’s address, NDP leader Cam Broten called a press conference of his own in front of the legislature with a focus on privatization and P3s.

“Instead of hiring a construction firm, the Sask Party paid a construction corporation in France to hire a construction firm to come into Saskatchewan, how on earth does that make any sense?”

Ahead of April 4, Béland adds parties will need to stress the flaws and failures of the other so they decide the province’s path.

“The Sask Party is associated with more economic issues more than with social issues so it makes sense on the other hand for the NDP to say we’ll focus on health care, we’ll focus families because that’s the trademark of the party,” he said.

“I think both parties are playing on their strengths.”

As far as the length of time to campaign, Béland says  dropping the writ at the last minute was likely strategically driven as well.

“He doesn’t want to leave enough time to the NDP and Cam Broten to really create a narrative where they can become these agents of change and people who can be trusted to lead the province  so a short campaign is seen as something to be favourable to Brad Wall.”

When asked about the timing, Wall maintained there was no rhyme or reason for dropping the writ at the eleventh hour.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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