Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe speaks during a press conference in south Regina on Wednesday Oct. 21, 2020. Moe will appear at a car rally with supporters this afternoon outside of Regina.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe speaks during a press conference in south Regina on Wednesday Oct. 21, 2020. Moe will appear at a car rally with supporters this afternoon outside of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Michael Bell

4 Moe Years: Scott Moe and Saskatchewan Party defeat NDP for majority

Scott Moe addressed supporters who gathered virtually, because of limits in place around the COVID-19 pandemic.

Scott Moe led his Saskatchewan Party into rare territory Monday winning a fourth straight majority for the longest-serving government in the country.

The centre-right party was elected or leading in more than 45 constituencies, comfortably more than the 31 needed to control the 61-seat legislature.

There was no applause or crowds to welcome Moe, who made his victory speech after winning his first public mandate as premier. Instead, he addressed supporters who gathered virtually, because of limits in place around the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been an election like no other in our lifetimes,” the 47-year-old said, standing next to his wife, Krista.

“It was challenging for all of the candidates and the campaign volunteers who had to find new ways to reach their voters and to reach them safely,” he said.

“We’re humbled by the task that lies before us and we’re ready to go to work on your behalf,” he added.

“We’re eager to build a strong economy, strong communities, strong families, and a strong Saskatchewan for everyone.”

Moe was re-elected in his rural riding of Rosthern-Shellbrook, while NDP Leader Ryan Meili was in a fight to retain his Saskatoon Meewasin seat against Rylund Hunter of the Saskatchewan Party. Meili trailed by 83 votes by night’s end, with as many as 1,600 mail-in ballots to be counted in the coming days.

It’s possible all of Moe’s 17 cabinet ministers will hold onto their seats. Only Advanced Education Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor was in jeopardy. She led her Regina University seat by fewer than 200 votes with mail-in ballots to come.

“I know it’s nerve-racking waiting for just a few hours for those results,” Moe said. “I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like waiting for a couple of days.”

Meili, a 45-year-old medical doctor, is trying to arrest a dubious trend. The last two NDP leaders, Dwain Lingenfelter in 2011 and Cam Broten in 2016, lost their seats in the general election.

“It wasn’t enough this time,” said Meili in his concession speech.

“My message tonight is for those who voted for change, because there are thousands upon thousands of people across Saskatchewan who voted for change today.

“This is not the end. This is the beginning. Do not give up, because in Saskatchewan we can do so much better than what we’ve seen.”

Moe and Meili spoke by phone about an hour after polls closed.

In his victory speech, Moe said he would govern for all residents, including those who didn’t vote for him.

He spoke in particular to the three per cent of voters — largely in rural areas — who cast ballots for the Buffalo Party of Saskatchewan, which believes people should be allowed to vote on independence from Canada.

“To those voters I want to say: I hear you. And I want to say this government hears you. We share your frustrations, and we share many of your objectives. We are not happy with the federal government either,” Moe said.

“There is no government in Canada that has advocated more strongly against a federally imposed carbon tax than the government of Saskatchewan.”

It was the third provincial election held during the COVID-19 pandemic and the third to see the incumbent party triumph. Last month, Premier Blaine Higgs and the Progressive Conservatives in New Brunswick went from a minority to a majority government. John Horgan’s NDP did the same in British Columbia on Saturday.

At dissolution, the Saskatchewan Party held 46 seats to 13 for the NDP. There were two vacancies.

The Saskatchewan Party has been in power since 2007 — currently the longest governing party in Canada — and is knocking on the door of historic political dominance. The last party to lead Saskatchewan to a fourth term was the NDP in 2007, although it needed coalition help in 1999 to do so.

The record still resides with Tommy Douglas and the CCF, which held five majority governments in the middle of the last century.

The pandemic shaped not only the central ballot question, but how people would cast their ballots. Voters were asked to wear masks at polling stations. More than 185,000 ballots were cast in five days of advance polls.

COVID-19 cases have been on the rise. Earlier this month, the province halved to 15 the number of people allowed together at events in private households.

The campaign centred on starkly contrasting blueprints for how to steer the province, its economy and its $2.1-billion deficit through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Meili promised millions of dollars in increased spending for classrooms and to reduce health-care wait times, along with a $15-an-hour minimum wage and $25-a-day daycare. The NDP wouldn’t promise a balanced budget in its first term and warned that the Saskatchewan Party would try to cut its way to better economic times.

Moe promised to balance the books by the 2024-2025 fiscal year, while keeping the economy going and creating jobs through tax and rebate incentives.

Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.

election

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Photo from Highway 11 Functional Planning Study)
Public input wanted for Highway 11 improvement plan

Round 2 of public online engagement continues until March 10

File photo
Gov’t of Alberta identifies estimated 300 new COVID-19 cases Sunday

Online COVID-19 dashboard unavailable as upgrades being completed

COVID
Red Deer down to 313 active cases of COVID-19

Alberta reports an additional 411 COVID-19 cases

Seniors in the 65-unit Piper Creek Lodge are among those waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Central Alberta senior lodges anxiously waiting for COVID-19 vaccinations

“Should be at the front of the line, not the back of the line”

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

David and Collet Stephan leave for a break during their appeal hearing in Calgary on Thursday, March 9, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta Appeal Court orders 3rd trial for parents in toddler’s meningitis death

Stephans were accused of not seeking medical attention sooner for Ezekiel, who had meningitis when he died

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

This image provided by Harpo Productions shows Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex, left, in conversation with Oprah Winfrey. (Joe Pugliese/Harpo Productions via AP)
Race, title and anguish: Meghan and Harry explain royal rift

Meghan said she struggled with concerns within the royal family about her son’s skin colour

Kiara Robillard is seen in an undated handout photo. When the pandemic began, Robillard had to rush back home to Alberta from California, where she had been living for five years, after she was struck by a truck that broke her spine in two places. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Kiara Robillard, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
‘It kind of clicks:’ Text4Hope program helps with depression, anxiety during pandemic

Participants receive one text message every morning for three months

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Supporters rally outside court as Pastor James Coates of GraceLife Church is in court to appeal bail conditions, after he was arrested for holding day services in violation of COVID-19 rules, in Edmonton, Alta., on Thursday March 4, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
‘Law remains valid:’ Pastor accused of violating health orders to remain in jail

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is representing the pastor

A decommissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending all of the licences held by an oil and gas producer with more than 2,200 wells and 2,100 pipelines after it failed to bring its operations into compliance. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta Energy Regulator suspends licences of oil and gas producer that owes $67M

The company is being asked to comply with past orders to clean up historic spills and contamination

Most Read