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In an effort to prove I know something about provincial politics outside Ontario, I spent a chunk of my weekend - okay, a relatively small chunk, but still - trying to figure out why it is that the Saskatchewan Party is poised to end 16 years of NDP rule on Wednesday.

Yes, this probably would've happened last election if Elwin Hermanson hadn't creeped voters out; even with him running the opposition, the NDP barely hung on. Now that Brad Wall has steered the Sask. Party toward the centre (basically going from Reform to traditional Tory), nobody seems much surprised by its surge toward government.

But still... why? The province is in its best shape in ages. Outmigration has shifted toward people coming back. Boring though he may be, nobody seems to have much problem with Lorne Calvert. There are no major political scandals and no serious allegations of mismanagement. And it's not as though there's a strong competing vision for the province's future, since the policy differences between the two leading parties are marginal at best.

Wall's pitch thus amounts to delivering the same brand of government that's been delivered very competently under Calvert...but delivering it fresher. In other words, change for change's sake. Far be it for me to tell Saskatchewanians how to vote. But personally, I'd suggest that if you're lucky enough to stumble onto a good government, you'd better have a compelling reason to replace it.

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