The sixth Saskatchewan byelection since the 2016 general election. The NDP tied it up at three byelection wins each for the major parties, with Yens Pedersen’s 700 vote victory in Regina Northeast.
“If I was Scott Moe I’d be pretty worried right now,” Pedersen said during an appearance on Global News Morning.
“This was not an easy win for us. When we looked at the seats we expected a hard place to win back, but we did it convincingly with the help of the voters in Regina Northeast.”
On Wednesday night, Premier Scott Moe said that while he is disappointed Saskatchewan Party candidate Gary Grewal came up short it was valuable canvassing time ahead of the ramp up to the next general election.
“In no way is this a referendum on the economic policy or the positive environmental policy of the sustainable industries that we have in this province, but there is no doubt there’s further engagement that we need to do in this province, in particular urban areas of this province,” Moe said.
The Saskatchewan party message is still very popular in rural parts of the province, shown in part by strong byelection wins in Melfort, Swift Current and Kindersley.
Across the aisle, NDP leader Ryan Meili said that while they have urban momentum, more work is needed to make gains in rural Saskatchewan.
“I’ve spent a lot of time in rural Saskatchewan over the last few months, gathering, meeting with people, gathering information about what’s on folk’s minds and what would really make a difference in their lives,” Meili said.
Leader Post political columnist Murray Mandryk was not too surprised by the byelection result; pointing to the NDP holding Regina Northeast for a majority of the time since 1967.
“As an NDP seat it’s kind of one that they really needed to win or should have won. I think there’s probably half a dozen to a dozen urban seats throughout Saskatchewan: Moose Jaw, P.A., Regina, Saskatoon, places like Yorkton, North Battleford, Swift Current that are going to be a lot tougher for the NDP to win,” Mandryk said.
“Those are the seats they have to win, Regina Northeast was an absolute given for the NDP. If they hadn’t have won it would have been a huge story.”
Mandryk said the true litmus tests would be how the NDP perform in urban areas held by prominent Saskatchewan Party members like Deputy Premier Gordon Wyant’s Saskatoon Northwest.
“As would be a few rural seats, but let’s face it, the Sask. Party are a lot stronger in their rural base than the NDP are in their urban base right now,” Mandryk added.
On Pedersen saying Moe should be worried, Mandryk said he could prove to be a strong MLA, but he’s just one more opposition member.
“He’s one more MLA. The Sask. Party have a fat, fat majority to work with and I think they’re still in pretty good shape for a while,” Mandryk said.
The NDP now have 13 seats in the Legislative Assembly compared to the Saskatchewan Party’s 48.
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