It’s something that hasn’t happened in a Saskatchewan election in over 80 years.
For the first time since 1938, the leaders of the province’s political parties are heading into their first general election campaign.
In 1938, the leaders of the five parties vying in Saskatchewan’s ninth general election were all rookies.
The election was won by the Liberal Party headed by William John Patterson. The Conservative Party — led by John Diefenbaker — came in fifth. Diefenbaker would later go on to lead the federal Conservative Party and become prime minister of Canada in 1958.
The 1938 election was also the second election for the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation — the precursor to the New Democratic Party.
In the 2016 election, the Saskatchewan Party was led by Brad Wall, who won his third mandate. Wall retired in 2018 and was replaced by Scott Moe.
The only other party to win seats in 2016 was the NDP led by Cam Broten. He stepped down as leader a week after the election after his party failed to make significant seat gains and he lost his own seat. Broten was eventually replaced by Ryan Meili.
The Liberals, led by Darrin Lamouroux, came in a distant third. The party is now led by interim leader Robert Rudachyk.
The Green Party, led by Victor Lau in 2016, is now headed by Naomi Hunter and Ken Grey now leads the PC Party after Rick Swanson stepped down as leader.
A new party will make its first appearance in a provincial election. The Buffalo Party — formerly Wexit Saskatchewan — is led by Wade Sira.
Here’s a look at the six leaders of Saskatchewan’s political parties as voters head to the polls on Oct. 26.
NDP — Ryan Meili
The third time was the charm for Ryan Meili.
He lost twice for leadership of the Saskatchewan NDP — in 2009 to Dwain Lingenfelter and in 2013 to Cam Broten — before defeating Trent Wotherspoon at a leadership convention in May 2018.
Meili grew up in Courval, Sask., southwest of Moose Jaw.
Prior to entering politics, he was a family physician who practised across the province before settling in Saskatoon.
In 2012, he released a book called A Healthy Society, which argues that a focus on health can revive Canadian democracy.
His wife, Mahli Brindamour, is also a doctor, and they have two children.
In March 2017, he won a seat in the legislature after winning a byelection in Saskatoon Meewasin.
Meili said the number one issue in the election is the current government’s austerity plan.
“We know what austerity means, that’s cuts, that’s privatization and that’s what we saw in 2017 when the government killed off STC, tried to sell SaskTel and SGI and cut health, education and social services,” Meili told Global News on Sept. 25.
“That’s what we’ll see again if the Sask. Party is elected.”
Saskatchewan Party — Scott Moe
Scott Moe had big shoes to fill when he became the leader of the Saskatchewan Party.
Moe defeated four other candidates in January 2018 to become the new leader of the party and premier of the province after Brad Wall announced in August 2017 he was retiring after more than a decade of leading the party.
He was first elected to the legislature in 2011 in the Rosthern-Shellbrook riding and was re-elected in 2016.
He held a number of posts in Wall’s cabinet, including environment minister and advanced education minister.
Moe was born and raised on a grain farm between Shellbrook and Parkside. He and his wife Krista currently reside nearby in Shellbrook. He was educated at the University of Saskatchewan, where he received his bachelor of science in agriculture.
He has been open about his impaired driving conviction in 1992 and believes his experience contributed to changes to drinking and driving laws implement by his party.
Moe also caused the death of one person in a traffic incident in 1997 after he crossed a highway near Shellbrook before it was safe to do so. He was issued a ticket for driving without due care and attention.
Moe said economic recovery will be the main issue when people head to the polls on Oct. 26.
“Who do the Saskatchewan people trust to recover the economy here in the province,” Moe said on Sept. 24 in an interview with Global News.
“And yes, there will be a discussion with respect to the records of each of the parties. And we’re going to be running on our record of investment in communities, investment in hospitals, investment in its schools, investment in highways, and investment in people.”
Buffalo Party — Wade Sira
Wade Sira is leading Saskatchewan’s newest political party into its first election.
The Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan — initially known as Wexit Saskatchewan — was formed in the wake of the 2019 federal election and officially registered by Elections Saskatchewan in March.
The party’s platform calls, in part, for a referendum on Saskatchewan separating from Canada.
Sira was appointed interim leader of the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan in July after Jake Wall stepped down and is running in the Martensville-Warman constituency.
He was born in Saskatoon, graduated from Hanley Composite High School in 2002 and went on to attend the University of Saskatchewan before becoming a Class 1A driver.
Sira has municipal government experience. He was elected a municipal council reeve in 2016 and appointed as a representative to the Saskatchewan Advisory of Municipal Assessment (SAMA).
He is married and has a 12-year-old son.
Liberal — Robert Rudachyk
Robert Rudachyk was born in Saskatoon and raised in Weyburn.
He studied biology at the University of Saskatchewan and received a bachelor of sciences degree in 1990.
The father of two said he is active in the community, serving terms on the Mayfair School community council and the local community association, in addition to work within his faith community.
Rudachyk was named interim party leader on Sept. 28 after Naveed Anwar stepped down on Sept. 9.
He is running in the constituency of Saskatoon Westview in the upcoming provincial election. Rudachyk previously ran in the 2016 election in Saskatoon Riversdale where he received 6.33 per cent of the vote.
Green — Naomi Hunter
Naomi Hunter was born in Turtleford. She still runs the family farm near Birch Hills with her father.
She is a small business owner, seniors fitness class instructor and community organizer.
Hunter supported herself fresh out of University, owning and operating custom-made jewelry shops. She also frequently sold jewelry at various local markets, fairs and festivals through the years.
Ran for the Green Party in the 2019 federal election in the constituency of Regina-Lewvan, where she came in fourth.
Hunter was elected party leader in February, replacing Shawn Setyo, who stepped down in November 2019.
She has two grown children who are also running for the Green Party in the election.
PC Party — Ken Grey
Ken Grey was born in Saskatoon and raised on his family farm near Colonsay.
After graduating from high school, Grey started his post-secondary education at the University of Saskatchewan before graduating from SIAST (now Saskatchewan Polytechnic) from the Special Care Aide program.
Grey spend nine years working in long-term care before becoming a registered sleep technologist. He then worked for eight years at the sleep disorders centre at Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon.
He is now a supervisor at Regina Paratransit.
Grey was elected leader of the party in November 2018 after Rick Swenson stepped down after leading the party for 12 years.
He is running for election in the Regina Walsh Acres constituency.
Grey is the father of four children and five grandchildren.