Three Sask. provincial byelections called by Premier Scott Moe

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Three Sask. provincial byelections called by Premier Scott Moe
Some Saskatchewan residents will be heading to the polls this summer for the by-elections of three vacant electoral districts. Global's Kabi Moulitharan reports major parties are ready to campaign. – Jul 13, 2023

Regina Coronation Park, Regina Walsh Acres and Lumsden-Morse will have byelections to fill their vacant seats on Aug. 10.

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe called the byelections for all three constituencies Thursday morning, noting voting week will run from Aug. 3 to 10.

Polls will be open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8, and from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Aug. 10.

“Voters in these three constituencies will have a chance to decide which candidate will ensure Saskatchewan’s strong growth continues and that it’s growth that works for everyone,” Moe said.

“I expect to see a strongly contested campaign by all parties and candidates.”

NDP opposition leader Carla Beck said she welcomed the byelections.

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Click to play video: 'Saskatchewan NDP leader says byelections about taking back the people’s voice'
Saskatchewan NDP leader says byelections about taking back the people’s voice

“These by-elections will come down to one question: have things gotten better under Scott Moe? For most people, the answer is no. Healthcare has gotten worse. Monthly bills have gotten more expensive. Class sizes have gotten bigger,” Beck said. “After 17 years, it’s time for the Sask. Party to own their record. Voters are looking for change and we’re ready to deliver.”

Elections SK said voting by mail will be offered and eligible voters can apply on the Elections SK website, or by calling 1-877-958-8683.

“Byelections allow my team to test alternate procedures, which are valuable experiences as Elections Saskatchewan prepares for the October 2024 general election,” said Michael Boda, chief electoral officer of Saskatchewan.

“Every key stakeholder, from voters, to candidates and registered political parties, to election officials will benefit from an election system that improves access to the ballots for voters, provides important data to political stakeholders, introduces efficiencies, and offers greater integrity to the system itself.”

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The byelections will fill the positions vacated by Mark Docherty for Regina Coronation Park, who resigned Feb. 10, Lyle Stewart for Lumsden-Morse, who resigned March 10, and Derek Meyers for Regina Walsh Acres, who passed away March 28.

The gloves were dropped as soon as the announcement was made, with Moe spending most of the time during the announcement taking shots at the federal carbon tax and handing out a document highlighting times going as far back as 2015 where NDP candidate Jared Clarke has shown support for the carbon tax.

“I would say the opposition NDP also have a record, it’s a record of economic stagnation and decline, losing people, losing jobs and opportunities, closing hospitals, closing schools, as well as long-term care beds,” Moe said.

Shots came back from Beck, noting the Sask. Party government has their own record.

“I see this pattern from the Premier, he would rather point fingers and cast dispersions than stand on his own record,” Beck said.

She added Saskatchewan residents are worried that their power bills have gone up three times in less than a year, that their kids may not be getting the proper support in the classroom, and that they can’t get surgeries when they need them.

Daniel Westlake is an assistant professor in the department of political studies at USask and said this byelection won’t have as much of an impact as a general election in some ways, but said for the opposition, every MLA matters.

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“It means more people who can be criticizing the government and cover more of the different cabinet files and more of the different things that governments do,” Westlake said.

He added this won’t be predictive of what will happen in the next general election.

Westlake said it’s hard to say who will benefit when the voting week takes place, saying it’s hard to know anything about non-voters.

He spoke about the past results of elections in those constituencies, but said byelection results can go either way.

“Byelections can be weird, so you can get significant vote swings in either direction in byelections.”

Westlake said voter turnout is often much lower than a general election.

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