The following is my post to Saskvotes.com after last night’s election.
Tonight is the beginning of a new era in Saskatchewan politics. Brad Wall has gone from Opposition Leader to Saskatchewan’s new Premier. Although he is not Saskatchewan’s youngest-ever Premier, he is certainly close, and represents the start of a new generation of Saskatchewan politicians.
My predictions were very close to being right on the money; I gave 2 extra seats to the NDP. I would have been right, too, if not for late charges by the SK Party in Regina-Qu’Appelle Valley and Moose Jaw North. The seat totals stand at:
SK Party: 37
There were a couple of definite surprises during the night. One was certainly the defeat of Mark Wartman in Regina-Qu’Appelle Valley, upset by newcomer Laura Ross of the SK Party. I had this pinned as a ‘safe’ NDP seat, and I don’t think I’m the only one who was surprised by the result.
Glenn Hagel’s defeat in Moose Jaw North by Warren Michelson of the SK Party was another close race. With Hagel facing increasing scrutiny in the past few months, his defeat cannot come as a total shock.
Another surprise was the strength of the SK Party vote in Saskatoon-Meewasin. Most expected the race to be between NDP incumbent Frank Quennell and Liberal leader David Karwacki, but the vote turned into a race between Quennell and SK Party candidate Roger Parent. This one was close down to the finish, and the 3rd place Liberal finish has to be very disappointing to Karwacki.
The SK Party was expected to pick up a number of urban seats, but which ones they won were surprising; Laura Ross’ victory in Regina Qu’Appelle Valley can be mentioned again here. Christine Tell picked up Regina Wascana Plains, and Bill Hutchinson won Regina South. In Saskatoon, Joceline Schriemer helped the SK Party make inroads in Saskatoon-Sutherland, and Ron Morris won Saskatoon-Greystone. Most knew that Prince Albert Carlton would be an interesting seat to watch, after the retirement of NDP Myron Kowalsky, but most thought Chad Nilson of the NDP would recapture the seat in a tough battle with Darryl Hickie of the SK Party, but Hickie emerged the winner.
So now that Wall is Premier, here comes the fun part – predicting his Cabinet.
Here are my (very) early selections/scenarios, based on a number of things, including shadow Cabinet positions. Of course a lot of this depends on how Wall structures his Cabinet; I assume he’ll reduce the number of ministers/portfolios:
Ken Krawetz – Deputy Premier
Rod Gantefoer – Finance
Don McMorris – Health
Bob Bjornerud – Agriculture
Don Morgan – Justice
Dan D’Autremont – Highways
Ken Cheveldayoff – Education
Donna Harpauer – Crown Investments
Nancy Heppner – Environment
Doreen Eagles – Community Resources
June Draude – First Nations and Metis Relations
Unknown portfolios but expected to be in Cabinet:
Bill Boyd is the interesting person here. He is one of the founding members of the SK Party, and former leader of the provincial Progressive Conservatives. He’s been away from public life for five years, but is back. Where does Brad Wall put him? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
So there it is. Election 2007 is in the books. It’ll be very interesting to see a new government in action for the first time in 16 years. For us political junkies, it gives us much to look forward to.
My only concern is this: I just hope our newly-elected majority doesn’t go around calling itself “Saskatchewan’s New Provincial Government” for the next year…