Saskatoon Meewasin byelection called for Sept. 26

·3 min read
Sept. 26. will be voting day in the Saskatoon Meewasin byelection. (Elections Saskatchewan - image credit)
Sept. 26. will be voting day in the Saskatoon Meewasin byelection. (Elections Saskatchewan - image credit)

Voters in Saskatoon Meewasin will head to the ballot box on Sept. 26 to choose their new MLA.

Former Opposition Leader Ryan Meili, who had held the seat, resigned officially on July 1. Since then a handful of candidates have declared intentions to run.

Premier Scott Moe announced the date for the vote in a news release on the government of Saskatchewan website Monday morning.

"It's important that Meewasin residents are represented in the assembly in the new fall session of the Legislature that starts in October," Moe said in the release.

"Our government will be running on our record of a strong economy, key investments in Saskatoon and our recent announcement of balancing the budget, paying down debt and providing affordability relief for everyone in Saskatchewan."

At a news conference on Monday, Moe was asked about the timing of the byelection call, which came one week after he announced adults in the province would receive a $500 cheque.

"We were anxious to communicate to Saskatchewan people the measures that we had put in place not only on affordability but also debt reduction and happens every year. Q1 happens at the end of August," Moe said.

"What doesn't happen every year is the leader of the Opposition quit his job as the MLA for this constituency. We feel it is important to have an MLA for the folks of Meewasin in the Legislative Assembly when it reconvenes here this fall."

The government had six months from the resignation to hold the vote.

On Monday, Opposition Leader Carla Beck questioned the timing of the call.

Beck said the government "sat on" surging revenue from non-renewable resources instead of providing relief sooner.

"There is a lot of cynicism out there about the timing of these cheques. I think people see right through it. There's no doubt that people need some support to address the affordability crisis. People are struggling and people have been struggling for months."

Meili won the seat in a byelection in 2017 and again in the 2020 provincial election.

Previous to that, the Saskatchewan Party's Roger Parent held the seat from 2011 to 2016.

From 1991 to 2011, the NDP represented the constituency.

Candidates

Four parties selected candidates in the weeks before the byelection was called.

The NDP selected Nathaniel Teed on Aug. 3. Teed, a Saskatoon small business owner, has not run for the party before.

Kim Groff won the Saskatchewan Party nomination one night later. Groff, a business owner in Saskatoon, lost to the NDP's Betty Nippi-Albright in the 2020 provincial election in Saskatoon Centre.

Travis Reddaway/CBC
Travis Reddaway/CBC

Saskatchewan Liberal Leader Jeff Walters joined the race on Aug. 9. Walters is an instructor at the University of Regina in the department of sociology and justice studies.

On Aug. 14, the Buffalo Party announced Mark Friesen would be its candidate in the byelection.

Friesen twice ran for the People's Party of Canada in federal elections, finishing fifth in Saskatoon Grasswood in 2019, and fourth in 2021 with 4.6 per cent of the vote.

During the pandemic, Friesen became a vocal opponent of health measures and vaccinations. He later became one of the COVID-19 patients airlifted to Ontario when Saskatchewan's hospitals were over capacity.