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Mowat claims NDP victory in Saskatoon Fairview
Published Thursday, September 7, 2017 5:00AM CST
Last Updated Friday, September 8, 2017 12:01AM CST
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The NDP’s Vicki Mowat has claimed victory in the Saskatoon Fairview byelection.
“We all share in this win,” Mowat said Thursday night, speaking to supporters. “Tonight we celebrate, but tomorrow we get back to work.”
Mowat, with 55 of the constituency’s 56 ballot boxes reporting Thursday night, earned 2,759 votes, which nearly doubled those of second-place finisher Cameron Scott of the Saskatchewan Party.
The results aren’t shocking, according to University of Saskatchewan political studies professor Joe Garcea.
"It's not surprising given everything that's happened,” Garcea said, pointing to the economy and Premier Brad Wall’s recent resignation announcement.
“Clearly the fact that the premier has indicated he is stepping down means that a lot of people who traditionally voted Sask. Party because of him for the last couple of elections, that reason wasn't there anymore.”
The Saskatoon Fairview seat was left vacant after Saskatchewan Party MLA Jennifer Campeau stepped down in late June to take a job with mining company Rio Tinto. The constituency had swung NDP since 1986, until Campeau won the seat in 2011 and 2016.
Mowat, who works at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Arts and Science as the executive assistant to the associate dean of Aboriginal affairs, lost to Campeau in last year’s provincial election by 182 votes.
Her win will up the number of provincial NDP seats to 12. The party won 10 of the 61 seats in last year’s election but secured an 11th constituency when Ryan Meili won the Saskatoon Meewasin byelection in early March.
"This is an incredible morale booster for the NDP, as was indeed the last byelection,” Garcea said. “I think they are very happy to see these results because it shows, for them, that the sun will shine tomorrow and they're gaining traction and, more importantly, the Sask. Party is losing traction.”
The Saskatchewan Party, which won 51 seats in the election, will now hold 48 seats with the Kindersley constituency vacant following Bill Boyd’s retirement.
The party’s candidate, Scott, a Saskatoon Public School Board trustee, was near tears after his loss.
“It’s never fun,” he said of losing. “It’s never fun, especially knowing how hard you worked and how hard the people that support you are working to get a desired result.”
The byelection’s remaining three candidates — the Liberal’s Shah Rukh, the Progressive Conservative Party’s David Prokopchuk and the Green Party’s Taylor Bolin — each finished with less than five per cent of the vote.
The final ballot box – for absentee ballots – from Thursday’s byelection will be counted on Sept. 19, meaning Thursday’s numbers are still unofficial.
Just over 4,500 ballots, or about 36 per cent of the constituency’s 12,809 registered voters, were cast in the byelection.
--- with files from CTV Saskatoon’s Jill Smith and Laura Woodward