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Whither the third parties? Greens and Liberals fail to capture any seats

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Both the Green Party of Saskatchewan the Saskatchewan Liberal Party failed to capture a seat on Nov. 7.

This election seemed to mark the death throes of the once-mighty provincial Liberals. Six of the first nine premiers of Saskatchewan were Liberals but the party has been in long-term decline since the 1970s and only ran nine candidates this year. Much of the party’s support now rests with the centre-right Sask. Party.

The party focused their efforts on winning party leader Ryan Bater’s seat in The Battlefords, but that ultimately failed as Bater won about 12 per cent of the vote, well behind the Sask. Party and NDP candidates.

The Greens, meanwhile, celebrated the first time the party fielded a full slate of 58 candidates. Freshly minted leader Victor Lau announced early in the campaign that this represented the Greens overtaking the Liberals and becoming “Saskatchewan’s new third party.”

Indeed, it seems like the Greens are experiencing slow but steady growth. Federally, the party managed to elect its first Member of Parliament earlier this year, sending leader Elizabeth May to Ottawa. The provincial election saw Green votes increase by almost 2,300 from four years ago, going from two to three per cent of the popular vote.

Lau ran in Regina Douglas Park against NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter and Sask. Party candidate Russ Marchuk. Lau received almost seven per cent of the vote while Lingenfelter and Marchuk received 41 and 52 per cent, respectively.

“That’s the election,” the Green Party said in an announcement on their website following the election results. “Greens needn’t be discouraged, as there are years ahead for us to reach more thousands of people, until the majority of voters see our platform is the most realistic means to keep Saskatchewan prosperous after the ‘boom’.”

Graphic: Bryn Becker/The Sheaf

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