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

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest man covered in blood on heels of significant Saanich crash into woods

Resident calls in home invasion in progress after crash

Nikita, a four-year-old German Shepherd that was attacked by a buck in a backyard in Esquimalt Sunday is lucky the injury wasn't more severe. (Photo contributed by Suzette Goldsworthy)
Esquimalt dog owner issues alert after deer injures German shepherd

Nikita needed stitches after an early morning encounter

(Left to right) Saanich Predators assistant captain Jack Groves, captain Joe Stafford-Veale, assistant captain Jacob King and assistant captain Riley Wiens show off one of the team’s three new jerseys featuring the orca logo. (Photo courtesy Christine Gleed)
Saanich Predators junior hockey team breaks in new logo, jerseys

Junior B hockey team rebrands after 53 years

Capital Regional District Animal Control say an eight-month-old Rottweiler bit a Langford mother and her child near Glen Lake on Nov. 19. (Black Press Media file photo)
Large dog attacks mother and child in Langford

Mother puts three-year-old on top of car to protect him

The Victoria Police Department headquarters. (Black Press Media file photo)
Investigation launched into man’s death after arrest in Victoria

IIO investigation to determine if police actions or inaction played a role in the man’s death

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

An aerial shot of Cedar Valley Lodge this past August, LNG Canada’s newest accommodation for workers at the project site in Kitimat. This is where several employees are isolating after a COVID-19 outbreak was declared last Thursday (Nov. 19). (Photo courtesy of LNG Canada)
Forty-one positive COVID-19 cases associated with the LNG Canada site outbreak in Kitimat

Thirty-four of the 41 cases remain active, according to Northern Health

Workers arrive at the Lynn Valley Care Centre seniors home, in North Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday, March 14, 2020. It was the site of Canada’s first COVID-19 outbreak in a long-term care facility. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Rapid tests ‘not a panacea’ for care homes, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

B.C. lacks capacity for daily tests of thousands of workers

(Delta Police Department photo)
Cannabis edibles found in Halloween bag lead B.C. police to illegal lab

Delta police arrested a man and a woman while executing a warrant at a residential property Nov. 20

A woman being arrested at a Kelowna Value Village after refusing to wear a mask on Nov. 22.(@Jules50278750/Twitter)
VIDEO: Woman arrested for refusing to wear mask at Kelowna Value Village

RCMP claims the woman was uncooperative with officers, striking them a number of times and screaming

B.C. Liberal MLA Shirley Bond questions NDP government ministers in the B.C. legislature, Feb. 19, 2020. (Hansard TV)
Cabinet veteran Shirley Bond chosen interim leader of B.C. Liberals

28-member opposition prepares for December legislature session

Motorists wait to enter a Fraser Health COVID-19 testing facility, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, November 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
COVID-19: What do rising positivity rates mean for B.C.? It’s not entirely clear

Coronavirus cases are on the rise but the province has not unveiled clear thresholds for further measures

A rider carves a path on Yanks Peak Saturday, Nov. 21. Two men from Prince George went missing on the mountain the next day. One of them, Colin Jalbert, made it back after digging out his sled from four feet under the snow. The other, Mike Harbak, is still missing. Local search and rescue teams went out looking Monday, Nov. 23. (Sam Fait Photo)
‘I could still be the one out there’: Snowmobiler rescued, 1 missing on northern B.C. mountain

As Quesnel search and rescue teams search for the remaining rider, Colin Jalbert is resting at home

Most Read