Thursday, November 08, 2007

Small Fry.

Time for a little after election analysis. But I'm not going to talk about the 3 major parties. After all half the bloggers in Saskatchewan will be writing about what a Sask. Party win means, how much longer will Lorne Calvert and David Karwacki hang on and so forth. Instead I'll make a few comments on the "minor" parties in this election.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan was the most ambitious of these. They ran candidates in 48 of the 58 ridings. If they could somehow have magically transfered their votes into one riding they might have actually won a seat. Unfortunately this of course is not possible, and instead they came in last place in most ridings. So their breakthrough to elected party status is still at least an election away. My guess is that it's going to be longer than that given the polarisation of politics here. If the Liberals can't even elect their own leader the Greens are going to need even more luck to make it to the legislature.

There is often talk of election reform when discussing parties like the Greens, as using systems like proportional representation makes it easier for such parties to take a seat. But given that according to their own website they apparently got 2 percent of the popular vote it seems unlikely they would have elected a member even under PR, which usually has a minimum number of votes to take a seat in the range of 5 percent.

Nothing says "single issue party" like the name Saskatchewan Marijuana Party. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that their major interest is in legalising marijuana. They managed to run a grand total of five candidates, none of whom came close to winning a seat. Frankly their issue isn't one that's likely to generate much voter interest. Voters are much more concerned with what the government will do with the provincial finances, health care, and the highways than whether or not they can toke up. I can't see them ever running a full slate of candidates, or even coming near to doing so.

The Western Independence Party of Saskatchewan managed to run eight candidates. But I doubt their goal of Western Canadian separation from Canada is any more popular than legalising marijuana. In fact I assume the reverse is the case. In any case the chances of them electing anyone to office are pretty much nil. Western separatism has waxed and waned over the years, but it's fair to say that Saskatchewan has not been one of it's strongholds. I won't be at all surprised if the WIP isn't around by the next election given the short shelf life similar parties have had in the past.

The ghost of elections past in this election was the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan. For the first time since the 1995 election they ran candidates, a slate of five. Even ignoring the small numbers who ran Brad Wall isn't going to be worrying about a challenge from the right anytime soon. The party persists in linking itself to the unpopular Grant Devine era, hardly a recipe for success, and has a leader, Rick Swenson, who doesn't exactly come across as dynamic. I find the attempt on their front page to link the NDP governments of Saskatchewan to Communist governments like those of Cuba and "Korea" amusing. "Red baiting" just reenforces the impression of a party living in the past.

Apparently no independant candidates ran in this election. Or if they did they received no votes, which is exceedingly unlikely. All the minor candidates did receive sufficient votes to indicate that they were voted for by more than their immediate families, which should at least take some of the sting of losing away.

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