The provincial elections in both Saskatchewan and Manitoba have come and gone, with the former choosing to maintain the staus quo, and the latter deciding to make a big change.
On April 4th, Saskatchewan voters overwhelmingly elected Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party to a third straight majority government.
Overall, the SaskParty took 51 seats, compared to just 10 for the New Democrats, who are currently led in the interim, by Trent Wotherspoon, after Cam Broten stepped down as NDP leader, after failing to capture his own Saskatoon seat.
Our local ridings all remained SaskParty green, however there are some new faces in some of those constituencies:
– Churchbridge businessman Warren Kaeding is the new MLA for Melville-Saltcoats. He succeeds longtime member and former Agriculture Minister Bob Bjornerud, who served as the MLA since 1995, and chose to retire from public life.
– Former Canora mayor Terry Dennis is the new MLA for Canora-Pelly. He will fill the seat vacated by another longtime MLA, Ken Krawetz, who retires after serving as Deputy Premier, Education and Finance Minister. He was first elected in 1995, and served as the SaskParty’s first leader (on an interim basis), when the party was established, in 1997.
– Hugh Nerlien is the new MLA for Kelvington-Wadena. He takes over from June Draude, who had been the local MLA since 1995, and had served as Provincial Secretary, as well as Minister of Social Services and Crown Corporations, among her portfolios.
– In Moosomin, Stephen Bonk succeeds former Speaker of the Legislature, Don Toth, who had been the MLA in that riding since 1986.
Krawetz, Draude, Bjornerud and Toth are all original members of the Saskatchewan Party, having been there from the party’s inception, back in 1997.
As far as returning incumbents:
– Yorkton business owner Greg Ottenbreit was re-elected to a third straight term. Coming into this month’s election, he served as the province’s Minister of Rural and Remote Health, and will likely remain a part of cabinet, though not necessarily in the same portfolio.
– Longtime Indian Head-Milestone Don McMorris won a fifth straight term in the Legislature. He spent the past four years as the province’s Minister of Crown Investments.
– Last Mountain-Touchwood’s Glen Hart was re-elected, to serve a fifth term, as well. He currently serves as the chairman of the Standing Committee on Human Services.
– And Arborfield native Fred Bradbury will serve a third term as the MLA for Carrot River Valley.
So, Saskatchewan voters chose to stay the course, with the SaskParty leading the province.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, on April 19th, our neighbours to the east decided, in a pretty decisive way, that a change was needed.
Brian Pallister led the Progressive Conservatives to a resounding victory, as they took 40 of 57 seats, to form a majority government in Manitoba, for the first time since 1999, under Gary Filmon.
It certainly appears that the NDP decision to hike the Provincial Sales Tax, from 7% to 8% was the final straw for many voters, who chose to give Premier Greg Selinger and his party the boot.
Selinger became increasingly unpopular during his time as Premier, even within his own party, managing to barely survive a March 2015 leadership vote, in which he gained less than 51% of the vote, to remain party leader.
The writing apeared to be on the wall, and the winds of change indeed blew through Manitoba.
On Election Night, after his party’s defeat, Selinger announced he would step down as NDP leader, though he will remain as MLA for his riding, of St. Boniface.
As far as our local ridings, there were some big changes:
– The biggest was in Swan River, where, for the first time since 1990, a Tory will represent the riding. Retired teacher Rick Wowchuk unseated the NDP incumbent (and Agriculture Minister), Ron Kostyshyn.
– Meanwhile, Dauphin went Tory blue for the first time since 1981, as Dauphin-area farmer Greg Michaleski won the seat, vacated by retiring NDP MLA Stan Struthers. Struthers had represented the riding since 1995, and served as Manitoba’s Agriculture Minister from 2009 to 2014, when he resigned his cabinet post, when he and four other NDP MLA’s expressed their concerns over greg Selinger’s leadership.
– And the P.C.’s held onto Riding Mountain, but a new face will represent the riding, as Shoal Lake business owner Greg Nesbitt was elected, succeeding former Tory MLA Leanne Rowat, who chose not to seek re-election, after serving as MLA since 2003.
In two other ridings close to our listening area:
– P.C. incumbent Doyle Piwniuk was re-elected to a second term, in Arthur-Virden, after first winning his seat in the 2014 by-election.
– And, in The Pas, the New Democrats maintained their lock on a seat they’ve held since 1969, as Amanda Lathlin was re-elected. Like Piwniuk, she was also first elected to her seat in a 2015 by-election.
So, in a rather large and long-winded nutshell, is a rundown of this month’s Saskatchewan and Manitoba elections.
For major elections, we won’t head to the polls until October of 2019, when the next federal election is held.
However, if you’re itching to cast a ballot, fear not – Saskatchewan will hold civic elections, on October 26th.
Until then, let the political debates begin (as if they’ve ever ended!)!!!