Words To Vote By

Saskatchewan has had too many sleepy elections. Time to wake up

Sask Votes 2020 by Stephen Whitworth

Hello fellow adventurers in democracy! As I’m sure you know, Saskatchewan is in the process of figuring out which political party will make up our province’s next government. This is a decision we’ll make together on Monday, Oct. 26 in some random building (consult your voting card!) behind a cute cardboard screen. Or, well, you can also vote sooner on an advance voting day (consult your voting card!).

Or maybe you already mailed in your ballot. Whatevs!

The important thing is, unlike China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and the hopelessly gerrymandered United States, we have a say in who gets to make decisions for Saskatchewan for the next four years.

We can choose the conservative, long-governing, Alberta-corporate-donor-funded Saskatchewan Party, which has vowed to keep Saskatchewan Strong (whatever that means), or a reinvigorated New Democratic Party that seems to have dusted off most of the burrs, cobwebs and moose-urine from its long, lonely exile in the political wilderness.

There are also a bunch of other options, including the Greens (they don’t hate the environment’s guts!) the Liberals (one assumes), the secessionist, freedom-loving, mandatory-mask-hating, probably-not-a-pack-of-psychos Buffalo Party (please don’t vote for them), and the Progressive Conservative Party’s bank account.

What fun!

Now, here’s the thing: there IS homework. As an EngagedSaskatchewan Voter, you’ve hopefully paid attention to the current Saskatchewan Party government’s words, actions and policies, and concocted Smart And Reasonable opinions about those which will inform your vote. You should also look at the NDP’s platform and think about whether that party’s many good ideas deserve a chance.

The other parties don’t have so much as a single seat in the Legislature because that’s pretty much impossible in a small province using a first past the post [FPTPTHPTH] electoral system, but give their platforms a look-see.

Of course you could instead opt to be a lazy bum. I mean, the guilt of making a bad voting decision probably won’t slowly devour you between now and 2024. Probably.

But if I’ve freaked you out and you’re suddenly desperate for some guidance, I’ve written down a few thoughts on the election. Maybe they’re helpful? If not, this page makes excellent packing paper, superior bird cage lining and near-adequate giftwrap. Recycle!

SASK. PARTY PROBLEMS PART 1

The Saskatchewan Party has been in power since 2007. For most of that time they benefitted from a historically unprecedented boom. Many argue they squandered it and instead of a, well, um, strong future, we’re looking at lean times. That’s up for debate but what’s not in question are some of the bizarre, petty decisions made during this reign. Top of the list for me is scrapping the film tax credit, which nuked the provincial film industry. It feels like it was done to punish a sector that was perceived to be full of NDP supporters, and that might or might not be the case. What’s not in doubt is the immense economic activity film generates in both Alberta and Manitoba. That is a big enough pie for Saskatchewan to have a juicy piece, and The Sask. Party is 100 per cent responsible for petulantly sending back our slice.

SASK. PARTY PROBLEMS PART 2

There’s just no getting around the fact the Saskatchewan Party is as sketchy on public policy as it as committed to stupid slogans. I mean, the slogans have worked, I guess. They’re still the government. Still, the Sask Party, for the most part, just don’t get important issues like climate change, the dangers of inequality and poverty and the importance on non-vocational education and it seems stumped on a way to address the urgency of despair and suicide among Saskatchewan’s Indigenous population. Frankly you wonder if this is a bunch that wouldn’t rather be out spinning titty-wheels at Craven than governing. They’ll probably win this election but the Saskatchewan Party has some work to do on its credibility.

SASK. PARTY PROBLEMS PART 3

It’s insanely partisan. Too partisan. You never hear Sask. Party people criticize conservative governments in other provinces (one of which, to the west, appears to have contracted rabies), and they never, ever have anything nice to say about Canada’s Liberal prime minister. One feels like they’re working for the International Fraternity Of Conservative Freemasons rather than Saskatchewan voters. It’s too much and it’s unproductive.

IS THE NDP READY?

Dunno. They’re sure as hell ready to be a large Opposition holding the Sask. Party to account, at minimum. There are benefits to being big losers who lose piles of elections, and I think NDP failures have largely weeded out talentless hacks, arrogant creeps and entitled careersters, and replaced them with smart, effective and good people excited to do good work. I mean, I think. Could be wrong. I’m voting for them.

WHAT ABOUT THE GREENS?

In a perfect world they would win three seats, all coming from Sask. Party-held ridings.

ANYTHING ELSE, LOUDMOUTH?

 Yeah! I Think Saskatchewanians in general have been too sleepy, politically, and it’s time to wake up. The next 10 years won’t be like the last 10. Let’s keep that in mind as we vote.