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'This impacts democracy': Sask. election candidate fee increases to $500, Green Party leader stands against hike

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The financial deposit to become a candidate in the upcoming Saskatchewan election has spiked from $100 to $500.

The price tag for a party to run in all 61 constituencies is now $30,500 — compared to the previous $6,100.

While the cost is refundable, Naomi Hunter, leader of the Saskatchewan Green Party, is standing against the hike.

“We have a real concern that this impacts democracy,” Hunter told CTV News.

Though the Green Party covers the deposit, Hunter is concerned the increase will deter independent, low-income candidates from getting involved in politics.

“I believe we need to hear more voices in our elections, not less,” Hunter said.

The Saskatchewan Liberal Party is supporting the Green Party’s message.

Saskatchewan’s candidate deposit amount has been $100 since 1905. It was changed to $500 in December, as part of Bill 123.

It was Elections Saskatchewan’s recommendation to change the amount.

“A recommendation to increase the nomination deposit was made by Elections Saskatchewan, following a significant increase in candidates failing to submit returns following the 2020 provincial general election,” Elections Saskatchewan wrote in an email to CTV News.

Saskatchewan’s law is not in line with the federal election rules — where people do not need to make any financial deposits to become a candidate.

There used to be a deposit of $1,000 for federal candidates. But in 2017, a judge ruled the deposit requirement was “in breach of the Charter right of each citizen to be eligible to participate meaningfully in the electoral process as a candidate.”

As a result, the financial deposit requirement was struck down.

Hunter is calling for Saskatchewan to do the same.

“I would actually like to see them do away with nomination fees and create better accessibility for everyone in our elections,” Hunter said.

Saskatchewan’s election is set for Oct. 28.  

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