Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe following at a media event in the driveway of a supporter's home, in Saskatoon, on Sept. 30, 2020.

Liam Richards/The Canadian Press

Turns out there may be no better time to call an election than amid a pandemic.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs called a snap election last month, and turned a tenuous minority government to a healthy majority. Two weeks ago, B.C. Premier John Horgan called one a year ahead of schedule, and appears to be headed for an overwhelming mandate to run the province for the next four years.

Meantime, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is the latest to send the people of his province to the polls – this one, a scheduled election. And like his two provincial counterparts, he, too, appears to be on his way to a massive victory.

Story continues below advertisement

Of the three, Mr. Moe’s destined triumph is the least surprising. Since rising to power under former premier Brad Wall, the Saskatchewan Party (which is Conservative in all but name) has become a formidable political entity with seemingly endless political runway ahead of it. Current polling suggests the party has a stunning 30-per-cent lead in the polls. One could imagine it becoming akin to Alberta’s now-defunct Progressive Conservative Party, which ruled that province for more than four decades.

The halcyon days of NDP rule under such legendary figures as Allan Blakeney and Roy Romanow are fading into the mists of time, as are the days of Tommy Douglas and the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation before them. The NDP was booted from office in 2007 by the then-new Saskatchewan Party, as part of the overall swing to the conservatives both federally and provincially.

Mr. Moe tutored under the leadership of Mr. Wall, who understood the people of his province as well as any politician of the last 50 years. His formula for political success: Never forget who you represent.

The people of Saskatchewan are a generous, unpretentious, down-to-earth lot. They don’t like deficits, and certainly don’t like taxes, especially ones they feel are being rammed down their throats by elitist governments in Ottawa under the guise of helping the environment. Mr. Moe, who took over the party’s leadership in 2018, helped lead the fight against the federal government’s carbon tax, an extremely popular move in his home province. That alone is likely enough to get him re-elected.

Until the pandemic arrived, he’d done a pretty good job of keeping the province’s fiscal house in order, too; Saskatchewan has one of the lowest debt-to-GDP ratios in Canada.

The province has also been largely successful in keeping its COVID-19 numbers low, a product of Saskatchewan’s natural sparseness and geography as much as of facemasks and hand sanitizer. But it’s helped keep many people working and off the unemployment line – 87 per cent of those employed at the time the crisis occurred, according to Mr. Moe.

All this has made Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili’s job almost impossible.

Story continues below advertisement

A decent, smart and self-effacing man, Mr. Meili, a physician, leads a fractured party. The old guard and new guard often don’t see eye-to-eye on issues. More problematic, however, is that a core mission of the NDP is protecting the environment.

While Mr. Meili has criticized the federal carbon tax as unsuitable for Saskatchewan, he supports carbon pricing at the provincial level – a kiss of death, and one that has naturally been exploited by Mr. Moe, who believes (like his neighbour, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney) that regulation is the way to save the world from environmental destruction. Mr. Moe also supports the development of small nuclear reactors, and still puts his faith in carbon capture and storage, even though a $1.6-billion investment in that technology under Mr. Wall has been a huge disappointment.

Remarkably, the province still turns the lights on by burning coal, which provides more than 50 per cent of all electricity consumed there. Mr. Meili has been pressing for an aggressive program to move away from coal-fired generation, but his concern has mostly fallen on deaf ears.

A perennial issue is population. For years, Saskatchewan had barely been able to tread water, with new births and immigrants just making up for the number of people leaving for greener pastures. Under the Saskatchewan Party, the trend line changed: During the period it’s held government, more than 170,000 people have been added to the province’s population roll, to the tune of a current population of 1.17 million.

However, in the last couple of years, the growth rate has slowed dramatically. In the second quarter of this year, almost 1,000 more people left the province than arrived. This will be a central issue for whoever takes over on Oct. 26.

And right now, there aren’t many betting it won’t be Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party.

Story continues below advertisement

Keep your Opinions sharp and informed. Get the Opinion newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies