Wednesday, 30 March 2016 14:03

Just how much does Sask. love its politics?

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In a day and age where people don’t have a lot of control of things which happen around them, there is one thing adult residents in Saskatchewan can control April 4.

For a few brief seconds, residents are free to control their own destiny: who they are going to vote for to represent them in the provincial legislature.
Some people argue about which election is the most important and has the most influence on a person’s daily life, i.e. civic versus provincial versus federal.
It depends on how you look at it. There is the top down theory of where federal policies dictate everything:“(stuff) rolls downhill”.
Civic-wise, your neighbours are the ones who live in the same community/region as you. They decide on tax levels and costs of local services as seen this week when the City of Swift Current’s budget was released March 29.
Where does that leave provincial politics in Saskatchewan? Generally, still pretty high on the level of importance despite the fact it has been kind of a two-party province.
In 2011, there were 402,486 ballots cast in an election where Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan party received 258,598 or 64.25 per cent of the popular vote where as Dwain Lingenfelter’s NDP had 128,673 votes or 31.97 per cent.
That’s almost 96 per cent of the vote to one of the two main parties with 66 per cent of eligible voters coming out to cast a ballot. This time around, there are more than 750,000 registered to vote this upcoming Monday. According to a story from CBC, that’s an increase of 150,000 voters from 2011.
Compare that with Alberta’s 2015 election which was the highest voter turnout since the famous 2003 Ralph Klein tidal wave campaign. In 2015, with provincial politics being as explosive as it was, 58.25 per cent or 1,481,477 votes were cast. In 2008, only 40.6 per cent of Albertans bothered to vote.
Saskatchewan residents love to talk politics — at home, at the coffee shop, at the grocery store — wherever, whomever. It ranks right up there with family and the Roughriders’ fortunes.
So, it comes down to this: do voters like Wall enough to vote him in one more time? He’s been an MLA for Swift Current since 1999, became leader of the Sask. Party in 2004 and premier 2007. At a youthful 50 years of age, Wall has been highly successful and continuously polled as the most popular premier in the country as compared to other premiers. It hasn’t been without blips in the road, but generally speaking, voters have been happy with the Swift Current resident.
Challenging Wall is Cam Broten, 37, who became an MLA the same year, Wall became premier. He took over as NDP leader in 2013. Like Wall, Broten has a past family history in politics. Broten’s grandfather Hans, was a Co-operative Commonweath Federation MLA (1960-67). Broten has done a good job reviving the NDP following a disastrous period in the NDP’s history with the ending of Lorne Calvert and Dwain Lingenfelter’s tenures.
Broten’s campaign had a rough start after four NDP candidates were punted for past inappropriate social media remarks. The NDP provincial election campaign manager was also removed.
Has Broten recovered in time and will some of the controversies in the past few months come back to haunt the Sask. Party? The key lies in the urban areas where in the 2011 election, of the nine ridings the NDP won, seven of them were in Regina and Saskatoon combined with the other two being the furthermost ones in the north.
That’s what makes politics so interesting and important. The only way people know in their heart of hearts, they did their part is to vote. Politics are full of upsets and landslides. Alberta voters removed the Progressive Conservatives in the 2015 election after more than four decades of Tory rule.
Which way will Saskatchewan voters go? Saskatchewan residents tend to be interested in what happens in the provincial legislature and subsequently, elections. Come Monday, April 4, don’t be just a viewer, get informed, participate: help decide.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor