Sask. Party and NDP campaigns hardly went into rural areas during writ period

·2 min read

Regina – With an election that has been different in many ways due to COVID-19 restrictions, it was notable for the leaders of both the Saskatchewan Party and New Democratic Party not making many forays into rural Saskatchewan.

It was a campaign where typical rallies didn’t happen, where media were told to register their attendance in advance because only 30 people could be at any gathering. It was a low-key campaign as result of health restrictions, and online was an important avenue to get the word out. The leaders would don and doff their masks as they came to the microphone, with candidate standing well-spaced and well behind their leaders.

The Saskatchewan Party chose to livestream nearly all their events on social media, while the NDP instead chose to upload videos later. Each party held “drive-in rallies” in Regina and Saskatoon towards the end of the campaign.

The typical campaign bus was not a feature until the end, when the NDP used a rented former STC bus, emphasizing a campaign promise to restore STC service. Prior to that, Meili travelled in a campaign van.

Moe used a large SUV for much of the tour.

Nearly all the of the daily announcement press availabilities were made in either Regina or Saskatoon, with occasional forays to Moose Jaw, The Battlefords and Prince Albert. Meili made a foray into the north, but Moe did not.

During the writ period, from Sept. 29 to Oct. 26, neither NDP Leader Ryan Meili nor Saskatchewan Party Leader Scott Moe made it to many of the larger rural centres. Yorkton, Carlyle, Estevan, Weyburn, Humboldt, Assiniboia and Kindersley did not see either leader visit.

Meili’s leadership tour made it to Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, the Battlefords, Prince Albert, Swift Current, Balgonie, Indian Head, Southey, Duck Lake, Meadow Lake, Beauval and La Ronge.

Moe made it to Regina, Saskatoon, the Battleford, Prince Albert, Shellbrook, Rosthern, Moose Jaw, Davidson and Southey.

Moe made a point of travelling to many rural areas of the province in the lead up to the election, as opposed to during the election period itself.

Brian Zinchuk, Local Journalism Initiative reporter, Estevan Mercury