Sask election: A look back at the historic 2020 campaign
REGINA -- As Saskatchewan voters head out to the polls on election day, here’s a look back at the 2020 campaign period.
CTV News Regina and Saskatoon will be broadcasting special coverage of the results on television and online starting at 8 p.m. on Monday. This event will also be streamed live on CTVNewsRegina.ca and CTVNewsSaskatoon.ca.
Before the writ had dropped, the NDP started pre-campaigning in mid-September, making promises about childcare, auto insurance, surgical wait times, and geothermal energy.
Meanwhile, Scott Moe and the Saskatchewan Party toured the province, touting the schools and hospitals the government has promised to build.
Once the Premier visited the Lieutenant Governor on Sept. 29, the campaign officially began.
It took on a different tone amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with face masks and physical distancing top of mind. Large rallies and glad-handing were replaced with a small number of supporters and reporters at each stop.
This is Moe's third time running in a provincial election, the first as premier since Brad Wall stepped down in 2019. The Sask. Party is seeking its fourth term since taking out the New Democrats in 2007. Meili took over as NDP leader when Cam Broten lost his seat in 2016.
The first week of campaigning saw promises regarding tax cuts, tax hikes, infrastructure and education. By the weekend, a few candidates were facing public criticism for controversial actions.
Daryl Cooper, a Sask. Party candidate in Saskatoon, resigned after content he posted on social media came to light.
“We should not be sharing or promoting these views in this province,” Moe said at the time.
This came more than a week after NDP candidate Sandra Morin was taken off the ballot for Regina Walsh Acres and replaced by Kelly Hardy. Neither Morin nor Meili would disclose the reason, but Morin stayed on as an independent.
“There’s a reason she doesn’t want to tell that story,” said Meili. “But it’s her story to tell and it’s up to her if she wants to.”
A new Sask. Party candidate, Alex Nau who is challenging Trent Wotherspoon in Regina Rosemont, was outed for his involvement in a degrading game at Craven Country Thunder in 2016. The details of his involvement were documents in an article by the Regina Leader Post.
The party stood by his side, and Moe reinforced that Nau apologized for his mistakes and corrected his behaviour.
The Sask. Party fired back by calling out the NDP candidate for Regina-Elphinstone Centre, Meara Conway, for a Facebook post she made in regards to the oil industry. Melii responded by saying her views in the post do not reflect the NDP’s position.
A fatal collision involving Scott Moe in 1997 was brought back to light. He said he plans to apologize to the family affected by the fatal crash following the campaign period.
He also brought up previously undisclosed charges of impaired driving and leaving the scene of a crash in 1994, which were later withdrawn.
“I’m just not able to express in words how truly sorry I am,” said Moe.
CAMPSIGN STOPS, PROMISES CONTINUE
Both parties released their platforms in Saskatoon on the Friday before Thanksgiving. The Sask. Party promising to balance the budget by 2025, ending a four-year mandate with a $43 million surplus. The NDP voiced its intention to end its term with a $526 million deficit.
The long weekend was fairly quiet, with the NDP making a few stops in Northern Saskatchewan, while Scott Moe was self monitoring for COVID-19 symptoms after a possible exposure at a campaign stop in Prince Albert on Oct. 3.
Both leaders took a few days off to prepare for the Leaders' Debate, which was held on Oct. 14. Moe and Meili squared off on topics such as like COVID-19 pandemic, Indigenous issues, the economy, and education. Overall, it was a civilized debate.
In the final week, the temperatures dropped while the campaign heated up. Meili and the NDP promise to bring back the STC and revive the film industry, while Moe's message was to take advantage of advanced polls. Meili cast his early ballot in Saskatoon on Oct. 20, the day advance polls opened. Moe casted his ballot on election day in Shellbrook.
Both leaders came under fire on social media for not wearing masks, despite the province’s Chief Medical Health Officer recommending they be worn indoors.
“When I was not near anyone else by any stretch, that was the time that I was not wearing a mask,” said Moe.
“Any photos that you see where I’m not wearing a mask, we were very careful to make sure that we had physical distancing in place,” Meili said.
The Sask Party held ‘Big Honkin’ Rallies’ in Regina and Saskatoon to safely thank its supporters in the midst of a pandemic. The NDP followed suit with another drive-in rally in Regina.
The final weekend saw Moe and Meili hitting the highway, making stops in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and North Battleford, which lead up to election day on October 26.