SASKATOON – Saskatchewan’s once powerful NDP is on the ropes this morning after losing both the provincial election and the seat of its leader, Cam Broten, to the Saskatchewan Party.
It was a tight race in Saskatoon Westview, but Broten couldn’t pull ahead in the final polls. The Saskatchewan Party’s David Buckingham won the riding by 232 votes.
It was his first election as head of the New Democrats. He gave his concession speech before the final outcome was known.
“These are not the results that so many of us worked so hard for but in a democracy elections belong to the voters and the voters have spoken and it is our duty to respect their decision,” Broten said.
WATCH BELOW: Cam Broten: This isn’t quite the night we were hoping for
Broten did not come back out to face reporters after the final results came in.
In a statement on Tuesday morning, Broten said he’s going to spend a couple of days with his family, speak with colleagues and consider how the party moves forward after the crushing election results.
He said that while the overall results of this election are disappointing, New Democrats won’t be disheartened for long.
Broten said it has been a great honour to serve as a member of the legislature for eight years.
WATCH BELOW: Recapping Saskatchewan election night
Supporters, like Saskatoon MLA Cathy Sproule, rallied to his defence and refused to acknowledge he had lost.
“We’re not saying that yet. It’s very, very close. I see that all the polls are in but I’m assuming we will want to take a very close look at it. Right now we’re still hoping he’s going to make it,” Sproule said.
Sproule wouldn’t speculate on whether Broten could still function as leader if the results stand after an expected judicial recount.
“It’s some of the decisions we’re going to have to look at tomorrow when we get up in the morning and see where the dust settles. But Cam’s our leader. He’s done a fantastic job and I’m very proud of him.”
READ MORE: Saskatchewan election results
Broten is the second straight leader to lose his seat – joining Dwain Lingenfelter who was defeated in Regina in the 2011 election.
The Saskatchewan Party won 51 seats. The NDP did little to better their showing from last time, adding only one seat to their pre-election total of nine.
Danielle Chartier, who was also reelected in Saskatoon, would only say that Broten ran a terrific campaign and she hopes he gets to stay on in the legislature.
“Cam’s been a hard working MLA. He’s served that community well and I’m optimistic he will continue to serve that community well,” she said.
“I want to see what happens with the results.”
The Saskatchewan NDP under Roy Romanow and his successor Lorne Calvert governed the province from 1991 to 2007 when they were usurped by Premier Brad Wall.
Long-time MLA David Forbes, who served in the Calvert cabinet, said it’s difficult to say what happened to the NDP of old.
“With democracy people have the ability to choose and they felt they wanted a change for whatever reasons,” said Forbes.
“We just have to work harder and harder and make sure that when we’re out there we find what will make people come back.”
Sheri Benson, who was elected federally for the NDP in Saskatoon last October, said sometimes renewal needs to happen.
“I think the younger generation – those folks coming up behind me, are going to push this party I think into being a leader in the province once again,” Benson said.
“I think in some ways parties have changing of the guards. I think the big key is you need to have the tent look bigger because there’s the diversity of candidates.”
Wall says the NDP was “pretty effective” with nine members in
the legislature. They did a very good job on the issue of long-term
care, he added.
Premier Brad Wall says the NDP was “pretty effective” with nine members in the legislature. They did a very good job on the issue of long-term care, he added.
Wall also says he spoke with Broten about possible next steps.
“I would just indicate, as we already have to the Opposition, that should Mr. Broten decide that he would like to perhaps run in a byelection, if one of his members wants to step aside for him, that we would co-operate and work to call that byelection right away so that he could take his seat, or that he could contest a seat, in the legislature,” said Wall.
With a file from Global News