I was looking for a list of nominated Saskatoon candidates for the federal election and I realized that none listed, even the Liberals donâ€™t have a complete list of nominated candidates on their site (same thing happened under Stephane Dion) and while the NDP donâ€™t have a list of their candidates anywhere. So after spending some quality time with Google and Wikipedia, here is a list of whatâ€™s happening in Saskatoon, past vote totals, and my thoughts of what is going to happen in 2011.
- Incumbent: Kelly Block (won with 45.4% of the vote)
- Challenger: Nettie Wiebe (lost with 44.5% of the vote â€“ only 153 votes separated them last election)
- Taking it for the Team: Lee Reaney (Liberals took only 4.4% of the vote last time) and Vicki Strelioff (Greens took 4.6% of the votes in 2008)
What to Expect: It will come down to under 1000 votes and in the end will be determined by which candidate can correctly identify and get out the vote. The urban vote will go to Nettie Wiebe while the rural vote will come out for Kelly Block. Itâ€™s going to come down to campaign organization, a ground campaign, and who has the motivated voters. Of the three factors, the first two will be determined locally and as for motivated voters, that will come down to the leaders. In other words this is one of the few ridings in Saskatchewan that could be in play and my gut feeling is that Nettie Wiebe will win it by a couple of hundred votes. NDP voters seem more motivated than Conservative ones who are starting to doubt Harper a little bit, the Green campaign doesnâ€™t seem as strong and the Liberals arenâ€™t running seriously in the riding. With that close of an election last time, that is all it could take.
- Incumbent: Brad Trost (this is his MP website, I canâ€™t find a campaign site) won with 53.8% of the vote.
- Challenger: Denise Kouri. NDP won 27.9% of the vote in 2008.
- Donâ€™t count out: Darren Hill. Liberals won 12.0% of the vote in 2008.
- Taking one for the team: Sandra Finley who in addition to running for the Green Party is also campaigning for the arrest of George W. Bush.
- Feel free to ignore: Jim Pankiw: Every campaign needs a sideshow and Jim Pankiwâ€™s campaign is exactly that. When he announced his political comeback in 2010, his press conference was so bizarre that one of the reporters asked him if he was sober. Pankiw refused to answer.
What to Expect: The wildcard in this riding is Darren Hill, a popular city councillor for Ward 1. He is running very aggressively for the Liberals and has been for some time. That being said the Liberals have run former mayor Henry Dayday, former NDP MP and provincial cabinet minister Chris Axworthy (who had won that riding in the past), and city councillor Tiffany Paulsen and they all lost soundly. His campaign isnâ€™t helped by the disappearance of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party which seems to be running to the right when it is running. In the end I expect that Darren Hill and Denise Kouri will split enough votes that Trost will win again. The vote swing is just too great.
- Incumbent: Maurice Vellacott (2008 campaign website) won with 56.50% of the vote and spent very little money in the process.
- Taking it for the team: Everyone else. Patricia Zipchen (Liberal had 12.39% in 2008), John Parry (NDP had 24.36% of the vote in 2008), Mark Bigland-Pritchard (Green took 6.73% of the vote in 2008). No one else has a chance of winning this seat. The Liberals have twice run Chris Axworthy while the NDP tried former mayor Jim Madden. Both increased the vote total but neither made a serious challenge at Vellacott. While Vellacottâ€™s big vote totals suprise many, his social conservatism appeal to the very motivated rural voters in the riding and the partyâ€™s positions appeal to the largely upper middle class suburban voters.
What to Expect: While this riding has switched to the NDP in the past (Ray Hnatyshyn lost in 1988 to Chris Axworthy), it has been redistributed to the point where the traditional NDP areas have moved to Saskatoon Rosetown Biggar and the traditionally Conservative polls were left in Saskatoon Waneskewin. This means that Vellacott will win big, continue to add to his MP pension, say a couple of controversial things, and rest comfortably on the backbenches of Canadaâ€™s Parliament.
- Incumbent: Lynne Yelich (Won with 54.0% of the vote)
- Main Challenger: Darien Moore
- Taking it for the team: Deb Walker and Shawn Setyo
What to Expect: Lynne Yelich will win without breaking a sweat. She is well liked both in the city and in rural areas and is a dark horse candidate for cabinet if the Tories win again.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments.