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

Winter driving conditions returned to the Coquihalla Highway on April 10. (ICBC image)
Coquihalla motorists warned of fresh snow

Five to 10 cm of snow is expected today for the mountain highway.

Tom Smithwick has written a new book, Knocking On Freedom’s Door, about his experiences advocating for a drug addiction treatment program in Kelowna. (File photo)
‘Knocking On Freedom’s Door’: A retired Kelowna lawyer’s insights to mental illness, addiction

Freedom’s Doors advocate Tom Smithwick shares what he has learned from experiences of treatment program clients in new book

B.C's COVID-19 dashboard shows the peaks and valleys of cases prior to the record daily report of 132 on April 9, 2021. (Dashboard image)
Interior Health has record day of COVID-19 cases

132 cases reported Friday, April 9, more deaths in Vernon hospital outbreak

(File photo)
Water quality advisory rescinded for Lakeview/Rose Valley Water System

There is no other water quality advisories in West Kelowna

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
COVID-19 exposure at South Okanagan independent school

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in the Interior

Tyson Ginter, 7, is proud of his latest Hot Wheels he recently received by Quesnel RCMP Const. Matt Joyce. (Photo submitted)
B.C. Mountie handing out toy cars to light up children’s faces

‘A lot of times it will be the only interaction they have with the police,’ says Const. Matt Joyce

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s ICUs see near-record of COVID-19 patients last week as variant cases double

Last week, Canadian hospitals treated an average of 2,500 patients with COVID-19, daily, up 7% from the previous week

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
UVic, women’s rowing coach deny former athlete’s allegation of verbal abuse

Lily Copeland alleges coach Barney Williams would stand close to her and speak aggressively in the sauna

Vernon Secondary School. (Google Maps)
Case of COVID-19 at North Okanagan high school

VSS exposure announced late Friday, April 9

Librarian Katie Burns with the Fraser Valley Regional Libraries poses for a photo in Chilliwack on June 18, 2019. Monday, April 12, 2021 is Library Workers’ Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 11 to 17

Library Workers Day, That Sucks! Day, and Wear Your Pyjamas to Work Day are all coming up this week

Bart and Tracey Larson enjoying a Begbie Cream Ale. The couple have been together for 40 years. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
The art of really good beer: Revelstoke brewery celebrates 25 years

Mt. Begbie Brewery owners Bart and Tracey Larson reflect on their company’s history

Most Read