Help for flooded farmers an issue in Yorkton-Melville
Support for flood-stricken farmers and health care are some of the hot-button election issues in the Yorkton-Melville riding.
A wet summer last year and flooding this spring has spurred concerns among producers, says Yorkton Mayor James Wilson.
"Farming is our livelihood," Wilson says.
"There must be some grave concerns, not only in the farming community but within the whole business community."
Health care is another key issue in the riding, says Melville Mayor Walter Streelasky.
"The escalating costs of health care is a concern and how do you provide the best bang for your buck?" he says.
Both mayors note that aging infrastructure is a major issue for municipalities across the riding. Wilson says the federal government needs to develop a long-term program for funding infrastructure projects in communities.
He adds that the cost of rental housing and low vacancy rate in the riding will also be on the minds of many voters when they cast their ballot on May 2.
Quick Facts: Yorkton-Melville
Conservative Party: Garry Breitkreuz (Incumbent)
Breitkreuz has been the chair of the committee on public safety and national security since 2006, as well as chair of the special committee on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan. In the first role, he has worked at settling the dispute over the long-gun registry and is the Conservative spokesman on gun control. In 2005, Breitkreuz received a sport shooting ambassador award from the World Forum on the Future of Sport Shooting Activities. He is the former deputy house leader of the opposition, deputy opposition whip, chief opposition whip and critic to the solicitor general. Before being elected in 1993, Breitkreuz was a teacher for 24 years. As an educator, he spent three years in Cameroon, two years on a northern First Nations reserve and 18 months on the Solomon Islands. Born in 1945, Breitkreuz holds bachelor of arts and bachelor of education degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. He is also a former county councilor and deputy reeve. Breitkreuz and his wife Lydia have four grown children.
Liberal Party: Kash Andreychuk
Andreychuk is a well-known public servant and coach in the Yorkton-Melville riding. He was a lawyer before presiding as a circuit judge for 35 years in Canora, Kamsack, Esterhazy, Pelly, Moosomin, Preeceville, Broadview, Wadena, Langenburg, Yorkton and Melville. He and his wife Fran have five children.
NDP: Doug Ottenbreit
Ottenbreit is a lawyer with an office in Yorkton. Before beginning his legal career, Ottenbreit was a political advisor to Saskatchewan's minister of social development and economic security and minister of children and families. He also held the post of riding assistant to a minister and as an assistant liaison to the NDP government in Ontario. Ottenbreit also worked for the Committee for Social Justice in the Roman Catholic Church in Victoria. He obtained a law degree from the University of Victoria in 2005. Earlier, he earned a degree in political science. Born and raised in Saskatchewan, Ottenbreit lives in Melville with his wife Jacki and their two children.
Green Party: Elaine Hughes
Hughes supports several environmental and social justice organizations, including the Council of Canadians, the Food for All Coalition, the National Farmers Union and the Saskatchewan non-nuclear movement. She says the Green Party addresses many of her environmental and social justice concerns and the need for electoral reform. After high school, Hughes served in the Royal Canadian Navy for five years. She also worked for the Northwest Territories government, in addition to volunteering in West Africa and the Central Pacific. Hughes is a lifetime environmentalist who enjoys bird watching, tenting, canoeing, skiing, music, photography and travelling.
2008 election result:
Conservative Garry Breitkreuz won with 69 per cent of the vote, followed by the NDP's Doug Ottenbreit with 20.8 per cent.
Population (2006 census): 66,094
Average family income: $59,609
The Yorkton and Melville ridings were merged in 1968. Tory Gordon Clancy held the Yorkton seat from 1958 to 1965. Liberal Agriculture Minister James Gardiner won the Melville seat in 1940 and held onto it until he lost to Tory Jim Ormiston in 1958. The Progressive Conservatives held the seat until 1966. The NDP's Lorne Nystrom was elected in the newly-formed Yorkton-Melville riding in 1968. Nystrom held the seat until 1993, when he lost to the Reform Party's Garry Breitkreuz. Breitkreuz later held the seat as an Alliance MP before becoming a Conservative. In 2006, Breitkreuz defeated the NDP's Jason Dennison by 14,600 votes. In 2008, he beat the NDP's Doug Ottenbreit by 13,750 votes.