2007 Saskatchewan General Election

Feature by Jay Makarenko || Oct 24, 2007

On November 7, 2007, Saskatchewan voters elected the Saskatchewan Party to a majority government, with Brad Wall becoming the new provincial Premier. The election of the Saskatchewan Party ended 16 years of rule by the provincial New Democratic Party (first under Premier Roy Romanow, and then under Premier Lorne Calvert). This article provides background information on the 2007 general election, including recent electoral and polling history, summary of the major party leaders and platforms in the election, as well as the results of the election.

Saskatchewan Election Backgrounder

Previous elections, party standings, pre-election polls

Saskatchewan NDP: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the New Democrats

Saskatchewan Party: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the Saskatchewan Party

Saskatchewan Liberal Party: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the Liberals

Minor Parties in the 2007 Saskatchewan Election

List and links to minor political parties in the election

Results of the 2007 Saskatchewan Election

The Saskatchewan Party wins a majority government

Sources and Links to More Information

Lists of article sources and links to more on this topic


Saskatchewan Election Backgrounder

Previous elections, party standings, pre-election polls

Results of the 2003 General Election

In the last general election held in 2003, Premier Lorne Calvert and the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party won a slight majority government. The election marked the NDP’s fourth consecutive victory. The Saskatchewan Party came in second, forming the Official Opposition.

Party

Seats

% Vote

Status

New Democratic Party

 30

 44.62%

 Government

Saskatchewan Party

 28

 39.35%

 Opposition

Liberal Party

 -

 14.17%

  -


For more information on the 2003 general election:

Party Standings Prior to 2007 Election

Prior to the calling of the 2007 general election, party standings in the provincial legislature were as follows:

Party

Seats

Status

New Democratic Party

 30

 Government

Saskatchewan Party

 28

 Opposition

 Other

 0

  -

Between the 2003 and 2007 general elections, provincial by-elections were held in the ridings of Martensville and Weyburn-Big Muddy. In those by-elections, the Saskatchewan Party retained both seats (Elections Saskatchewan, 2006; CBC, March 5, 2007).

Pre-election Public Opinion Polls

Polls conducted in the spring of 2007 showed a significant lead in public support for the Saskatchewan Party. In an April 2007 poll, the Saskatchewan Party’s support was 55 percent, while a June 2007 poll showed a slight drop to 48 percent. The Saskatchewan NDP, by contrast, polled 29 percent in April 2007 and 30 percent in June. The Liberal Party trailed the other two major political parties; however, it did show some gains, with support at 10 percent in April and 23 percent in June.

For more information on the results of these public opinion polls:


Saskatchewan NDP: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the New Democrats

Lorne Calvert: Saskatchewan NDP Leader

Lorne Calvert was born in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. He attended the University of Regina where he studied economics, then pursued theology studies at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Mr. Calvert was ordained in the United Church of Canada in 1976. He served as Minister of the Zion United Church in Moose Jaw from 1979 until 1986. He was first elected to the provincial legislature in 1986 for the riding of Moose Jaw South. Over the course of his political career, Mr. Calvert has served as Associate Minister of Health, Minister Responsible for the Wakamow Valley Authority, Minister Responsible for SaskPower and SaskEnergy, Deputy Chair of the Crown Corporations Committee, Member of the Legislature’s Standing Committee on the Environment, Minister of Health, Minister of Social Services, Minister Responsible for the Public Service Commission, and Minister Responsible for Seniors.

Mr. Calvert was elected as the New Democratic Party leader in January 2001, and assumed the duties of Premier on February 8, 2001. He led his Party to an electoral victory in the 2003 provincial general election.

Mr. Calvert and his wife Betty have two children.

New Democratic 2007 Election Platform

The following provides an overview of key NDP election pledges current as of October 19, 2007.

In the area of health care, the NDP has pledged to introduce a Universal Drug Plan, in which no one will pay more than $15 per prescription for drugs (CBC, October 11, 2007). This plan entails expanding the Seniors’ Drug Plan, which was introduced by the NDP government in July 2007. The new drug plan would cost an estimated $150 million annually.

In employment training, the NDP Party has also promised to create 10,000 more training opportunities to meet the growing need for well educated and highly skilled workers in the province (Saskatchewan NDP, October 17, 2007). These training opportunities would be provided through expanded course offerings at regional colleges; new training and career opportunities for First Nations and Métis people through institutions such as the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technology (SIIT) and Dumont Technical Institute; and continued investment in training for health professionals to build upon the province’s health workforce recruitment and retention efforts.

In the area of taxation, the NDP has pledged to provide tax relief by introducing a 30 percent refundable income tax credit for all education property tax paid on principal residences (Saskatchewan NDP, More Money in Your Pocket). The residential property tax relief will be a universal refundable tax rebate, as every Saskatchewan household subject to education property tax will benefit.

Regarding the environment, the NDP announced an energy conservation plan, which the Party argues will save money on energy bills, while helping the province reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Saskatchewan NDP, October 18, 2007). The NDP’s plan includes several initiatives: 1) expansion of existing range of grants, rebates, and exemptions to include even more energy efficient products; 2) a brand-new Energy Conservation Loan Fund for homeowners, farmers and businesses to invest in energy conservation or small-scale renewable energy projects; 3) a Greening Communities Fund to help communities upgrade facilities such as rinks and museums in order to increase their energy efficiency.


Saskatchewan Party: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the Saskatchewan Party

Brad Wall: Saskatchewan Party Leader

Brad Wall was born in Swift Current in 1965 and studied at the University of Saskatchewan. Prior to entering politics, he was the Director of Business Development for the City of Swift Current. Mr. Wall was first elected to the Legislature in 1999 as the MLA for Swift Current. He was subsequently re-elected in 2003. Mr. Wall became Leader of the Saskatchewan Party, and the Leader of the Official Opposition, on March 15, 2004. Mr. Wall and his wife Tami reside in Swift Current with their three children.

Saskatchewan 2007 Election Platform

The following provides an overview of key Saskatchewan Party election pledges, current as of October 19, 2007.

In the area of health care, the Party has promised to spend $275 million to deal with the severe shortage of nurses, doctors, and other health care professionals in the province (Saskatchewan Party, Securing the Future of Healthcare). The Party would add 800 registered nurses to the system, as well as fund 60 additional doctor residency positions in hospitals. The Party would also add 300 registered nurse training seats, raise the number of physician training seats to 100, and improve the current bursary program for the recruitment and retention of local health care professionals.

The Party further pledges to increase the use of nurse practitioners, and to establish a bridging program to make it easier for Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) to become Registered Nurses (RNs). It has also promised to formally examine all areas of specialization, from doctors to medical laboratory technologists and radiologists, to determine the current shortages, effectiveness of recruitment efforts, retention issues, and future training requirements.

The Saskatchewan Party has rejected the NDP’s proposed Universal Drug Plan, opting instead to change the current Seniors’ Drug Plan (Saskatchewan Party, Affordable Prescription Drugs for Families and Seniors). Under the Party’s plan, seniors with a net income of more than $64,043 would no longer be covered under the Seniors’ Drug Plan. However, the Party would extend the $15 cap on drug prescriptions to children ages 14 years or under.

In the area of taxation, the Party has promised to provide tax relief through the following initiatives:

  • Double the Education Property Tax Rebate over four years
  • Introduce a new Active Saskatchewan Families Benefit of up to $150 per year for each child aged six to 14, to assist with the cost of cultural, recreational, and sports activities.
  • Double the Caregiver Personal Tax Credit for persons taking care of a parent or grandparent aged 65 or older in their home, or persons who have an adult-aged dependent with a disability living in their home.
  • Eliminate the Provincial Sales Tax (PST) on the sale of used cars and trucks.

The Party has also unveiled a plan to address infrastructure maintenance and construction (Saskatchewan Party, Fixing Highways and Improving Municipal Streets). It would dedicate all fuel tax collected to highway and transportation infrastructure. The Party would also use $140 million from the sale of the New Grade upgrader to fund highway and municipal road construction. In addition to this new funding, the Party made the further commitments:

  • Establish a five-year rolling plan for highway maintenance and construction, with a focus on improving safety and investing in infrastructure that promotes economic growth;
  • Place the emphasis on quality construction, focusing on the implementation of new construction technology specifically designed to meet the demands of our climate and large-scale truck traffic;
  • Create a transportation Centre of Excellence, which will include support for innovative urban road construction initiatives being developed at the Communities of Tomorrow research centre at the University of Regina.

In the area of education, the Saskatchewan Party has pledged to increase Kindergarten to Grade 12 education funding by 20 percent, or $118 million, over four years (Saskatchewan Party, Property Tax Relief). The Party also announced a Graduate Retention Program to keep graduates in Saskatchewan; post-secondary graduates who stay in the province would be eligible for tuition rebates of up to $20,000 (Saskatchewan Party, Saskatchewan Graduate Retention Program). The Party has pledged to provide $3 million annually for a Saskatchewan Scholarship Fund for post-secondary education.


Saskatchewan Liberal Party: 2007 Election Overview

Leader bio and election platform for the Liberals

David Karwacki: Saskatchewan Liberal Party Leader

David Karwacki grew up in Saskatoon. He graduated from the College of Commerce at the University of Saskatchewan in 1989. Prior to entering politics, Mr. Karwacki was founder and Chief Operating Officer of Stare Produce, Ltd., an international fresh produce distribution company. He has also served as President of the University of Saskatchewan Huskie Basketball Alumni Association, and as a board member of the University of Saskatchewan Athletic Endowment Fund. He was elected leader of Saskatchewan Liberals in October 2001, and would seek election to the legislature as the member for Saskatoon Meewasin.

Liberal Party 2007 Election Platform

The following provides an overview of key Liberal Party election pledges, current as of October 19, 2007.

The Liberal Party has proposed several initiatives to improve government accountability and transparency (Saskatchewan Liberal Party, Accountability and Transparency). The Party has promised to give the Provincial Auditor and Conflict of Interest Commissioner increased powers to monitor and report on the use of the Legislative budget, as well as increase their budgets by $1 million each. The Party has also pledged to introduce rules that would require MLAs, Cabinet Ministers and their staff, as well as senior public servants, to publicly report how their office budgets are used on an expense-by-expense basis. The Party would introduce the Fairness in Government Advertising Act that would require the Saskatchewan Provincial Auditor to screen proposed government advertising.

In the area of taxation, the Party has promised to eliminate the Education Property Tax over four years. Instead, funds for primary and secondary education would come from general provincial revenues.

In regard to health care, the Party has promised to transfer responsibility for community health services from not-for-profit, unionized Community Health Centres that are accountable to their community through a local board of directors (Saskatchewan Liberal Party, Community Health Services). According to the Party, this move will allow health regions to focus on key regional health services (such as surgeries specialist services, clinical nursing care, and diagnostics), and will result in a more cost-effective delivery of community health services.

The Party has also promised to address waiting times in the public health care system (Saskatchewan Liberal Party, Health Care Wait Times). Central to the Liberal plan is the use of accredited, unionized, not-for-profit Surgical and Diagnostic Community Health Centers. The Liberals would require health regions to accommodate orthopedic emergencies within one day and medically necessary surgeries or diagnostics within eight weeks. If a health region is unable to do so, patients would have the option of attending a Surgical and Diagnostic Community Health Centers at full financial reimbursement from the province.

The Party would also address the problem of nursing shortages and working conditions (Saskatchewan Liberal Party, The Liberal Plan for Nursing). Key components of the Liberal plan include:

  • Provide additional training to 600 licensed practical nurses (LPN) in order to rapidly reassign them as registered nurses with clinical duties and a full increase in pay.
  • Provide additional training to another 400 LPNs to become registered nurses to allow for more registered nurses to work in the community through Community Health Centres and schools in order to actually promote health and prevent disease and illness. The total cost would be $13 million, including benefits.
  • In order to replace the loss of 1,000 LPNs to RNs, the Party would create 1,000 new non-clinical Nursing Assistant positions to perform all non-clinical, non-professional and administrative functions previously performed by nurses.
  • In order to assist with recruitment and retention, the Party will offer guaranteed full-time employment to any new nursing graduate from Saskatchewan.
  • Create a joint recruitment and retention fund for health regions and the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses to proactively assess and resolve local workplace issues in order to meet mutually agreed upon recruitment and retention targets.
  • In order to act quickly to fill existing vacancies, and prevent the loss of more RNs while the retraining of LPNs proceeds, the Party would meet annually with the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses to set goals that are mutually agreed upon, work together to accomplish them and review the results quarterly.

In the area of education, the Liberal Party has pledged to transform the role of schools in the community (Saskatchewan Liberal Party, Schools at the Heart of Community). Under the Liberal plan, schools would offer children and families access to a full range of health, social, justice, and community services. This would include placement of pediatricians, clinical nurses, public health nurses, mental health therapists, addictions workers, social workers, dental therapists, exercise therapists, dieticians and speech language pathologists in schools to offer services to children and families. Furthermore, the Liberals would hire Community Programming Coordinators, who would be responsible for school-based health, social and youth justice services, and organizing after-school programming that meets the needs of the community.

The Liberal Party would also pursue initiatives geared towards keeping children in school. These include:

  • Provide parents on social assistance with a direct revenue increase of $50 per month per child if their K-8 child maintains an 85 percent school attendance record;
  • Allows teachers, social workers, and nurses to share information to ensure the best interest of children; and
  • Attendance records would be verified and sent to the Department of Community Resources, the Ministry responsible for social assistance payments, for administration of parent payments.

Regarding the environment, the Liberal Party has promised to make curbside recycling a provincial priority (Saskatchewan Liberal Party, Curbside Recycling). This includes the creation of two funds to support the implementation of blue box, black box, and organic curbside recycling programs in Saskatoon and Regina, as well as curbside recycling in other Saskatchewan municipalities. The Party also promised to introduce a public education program of $1 million per year to promote proper recycling practices and new curbside recycling programs.


Minor Parties in the 2007 Saskatchewan Election

List and links to minor political parties in the election

In addition to the three major political parties (the NDP, the Saskatchewan Party, and the Liberals), there are several minor parties participating in the election. These include:


Results of the 2007 Saskatchewan Election

The Saskatchewan Party wins a majority government

In the 2007 election, the Saskatchewan Party, helmed by Brad Wall, easily defeated the other majority parties and formed a majority government. The Party won 38 of the 58 seats in the provincial legislature, forming the Official Opposition, with 50.8 percent of the popular vote (CBC, November 8, 2007). The New Democratic Party came in second place, wining 20 seats in the legislature and 37.2 percent of the vote (CBC, November 8, 2007). The Liberal and Green parties trailed the two major political parties, winning no seats in the legislature, and with 9.5 and 2.02 percent of the popular vote respectively (CBC, November 8, 2007).


Sources and Links to More Information

Lists of article sources and links to more on this topic

Sources Used in this Article

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