And the Sask Party kicked the ever-loving shit out of the NDP in yesterday’s provincial election. In my office pool, I was tied for the best prediction (I picked 50 to 8, one riding off) and almost picked the popular vote at 63%-30%-7% (the actual split was 64%-32%-4%). The $20 I won in the pool was more than anything won by NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter, who not only lost the provincial vote, but his own seat as well, which couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
I helped out Fred Ozirney during e-day. Fred was the Sask Party candidate for Saskatoon-Riversdale, as he had been in 2007 and 2003. He’s a very good man, oozing of charm and integrity, and when he called me to ask for my help, I didn’t hesitate to respond in the affirmative.
Fred was up against the NDP’s Danielle Chartier, who took the seat in the by-election in 2009 to replace former premier Lorne Calvert, who took over stewardship of the seat from his predecessor, Roy Romanow. Saskatoon-Riversdale is Saskatoon’s version of Red Square, and Chartier’s family are well-known socialists in the area. I know Danielle, and I like her, but I looked forward to knocking off the NDP this time around.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out. Fred only took the nomination about a month before the writ drop, as Corey O’Soup had suddenly taken himself off the ballot. Fred and his experienced team did all they could and more to identify candidates and get the word out. They were also supported by the positive reputation of Brad Wall, which contrasted brightly against the squalor of the NDP leader. But fate had other plans, and although Fred came closer than any other candidate in almost 30 years to beat the NDP, he fell short.
Regardless, I learned a lot from my brief stint on the campaign team, not least of which is the importance of getting out the vote on election day. I’m also proud I helped out a good and decent man, and I met a lot of great people along the way.
In addition, I’m proud that I took part in the election process. This was most evident during the vote count. I scrutineered a couple polls in the riding as the ballot box was emptied and the votes tallied. A rep from the NDP sat beside me, and we observed the poll returning officer and clerk show us every ballot and speak the name endorsed on each ballot out loud. I couldn’t help but think of how rare this wonderful process is around the world. I was able to tell one of the returning officers to repeat one of the counts, and they had to oblige. I knew I could trust both the election officials and my counterpart from the NDP to not attempt to stuff the ballot or disregard the will of the electors. Elections are a beautiful thing, and I felt privileged to have taken part.
A special shout-out goes to Corey Tochor, a friend of mine who defeated long-time NDP heavy Judy Junor (who I happen to know and respect, by the way). He worked very, very hard over the past two years to meet and get to know his electorate and earn their trust. It was his victory, despite what Junor said last night, and he should be proud of his efforts.
And a very extra-special super-duper shout-out to Scott Moe, rookie MLA for Rosthern-Shellbrook (and the husband of the Better Third’s cousin). Scott is a terrific guy who not only took out the Sask Party incumbent at the constituency nomination, but pulled off 64% of the vote to win the riding.
And now, I’m tired. Oh, so tired.