Last Thursday, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall called a byelection for the Lloydminster riding on Nov. 13.
Wall said that there were numerous days that could have been chosen, but ultimately he decided that Lloydminster constituents needed representation sooner rather than later.
“The people of Lloydminster need to have a voice in the legislature as soon as possible,” he said, adding that with the fall session returning soon, getting a representative in place before the end of the fall session was key in deciding the timing of the byelection.
“It won’t be long after the byelection date, there will be a voice for the constituents of Lloydminster in the legislature,” he added.
With a byelection looming, Wall said that there will be local and provincial issues dominating the month-long campaign and he looks forward to discussing those issues.
“And then people will be voting on getting the best possible MLA to represent them, regardless of politics,” he said.
Wall said there will be a clear choice for the people in the riding.
“Under the NDP government, the Saskatchewan side never grew,” he said. “Between 2001 and 2005, it was 18 per cent growth on the Alberta side and four per cent on the Saskatchewan side. Since the government has changed it has reversed – 18 per cent growth on the Alberta side, and 26 per cent growth on the Saskatchewan side.”
Wall added that he isn’t taking credit for that growth, “But the people of Lloydminster and the economy and the resource sector (are drivers of that growth),” he said.
Under his leadership, the province has made investments in health care
and education, according to Wall.
With recent attention to the Dr. Cooke Extended Care Centre in Lloydminster, Wall said that the province is moving forward with creating long-term care beds in all areas of the province.
“In an unprecedented way we are building to create more long-term beds. And under the previous government – which I assume the NDP are going to make this a key issue, but what I would say is that when they had the chance, they were closing beds and we are trying to open more up and building new facilities,” said Wall.
“We know that in the constituency of Lloydminster this is an issue and what I would like to say is the best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour.”
Cam Broten, the leader of the Saskatchewan NDP, said in an interview after the announcement that the NDP were surprised at the early announcement but would be ready to challenge the premier in the riding of Lloydminster.
“We are pleasantly surprised that it came earlier than planned. Premier Wall said that it would have been after Christmas, but we are ready to go and we are excited about the byelection,” he said.
Broten said that he believes that local issues usually dominate byelections and what is really needed in this byelection is someone who will go to bat for the issues that are important to the people of Lloydminster.
“Lloydminster needs someone who will stand up for the views of the constituency, as opposed to what we have seen with this government where their views are shoved upon the people of Lloydminster,” he said.
“We have clearly seen this in this government so far.”
Broten and the NDP have been in Lloydminster twice in the last two months, once in August, and again in October when they planned for the upcoming fall session that begins Wednesday.
All major parties have confirmed that they are going to contest the upcoming byelection.
The Saskatchewan Party nominated Colleen Young on Saturday, the NDP were expecting to nominate a candidate last night, Saskatchewan Liberal Leader Darrin Lamoureux will be the candidate for the Liberals, the Saskatchewan Greens have nominated Luke Bonsan, and the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan have yet to announce their candidate, but party executives have said early this week an announcement would be made on who would be carrying the banner in the upcoming byelection.
Tim McMillan, the former MLA for Lloydminster, had held the riding for seven years, from 2007-2014. Before that, Milt Wakefield held the riding for the Saskatchewan Party from 1999 to 2007.