Tuesday, October 6, 2015

NDP set to gain some seats in Saskatchewan in federal election

When the recent federal election was called, Saskatchewan had 13 Conservative MPs and one Liberal. The NDP did not have a single seat. This time around the NDP looks to be winning several urban seats and one northern riding as well.
Saskatchewan, in the past, has been a stronghold of the NDP and the Cooperative Commonwealth Federation(CCF) before it:In 1944, the CCF formed the first social-democratic government in North America when it was elected to form the provincial government in Saskatchewan.[5] In 1961, the CCF was succeeded by the New Democratic Party (NDP)
Not only did the CCF and NDP form provincial governments but they also sent MPs to Ottawa. The CCF had a very strong base within the rural farming community as well as within cities. Early policies were strongly socialist and the Regina Manifesto called for the replacement of capitalism by the cooperative commonwealth. By the time the party transformed itself into the NDP in 1961 it had become more a reformist party with some of the leaders seeing it as a Canadian version of the UK Labor Party. In the 21st century the party has turned even further right in the hope it can achieve electoral success. In Saskatchewan, the NDP lost out to the right-of- center Saskatchewan Party in the November provincial election of 2007. In the November 2011 provincial election the Saskatchewan Party under Brad Wall won 49 of 58 seats. In the federal election of the same year the NDP did not win a single seat. Yet the NDP is making somewhat of a comeback in Saskatchewan at the federal level. While the Liberals appear not set to make gains, its one seat in Regina seems quite safe with an 80 percent chance of a win.
Predictions are that the NDP could gain up to five seats this election. However, the margin of expect victory is slim in four of the five ridings with only about a two thirds chance of winning. One northern riding seem a more certain win an 80 per cent chance. Most of the Conservative ridings are quite safe except for some with a considerable number of urban voters such as Regina Qu'appelle.
While Saskatchewan has the same number of seats as in the last election a number of boundaries have changed. Many urban ridings that previously had considerable numbers of rural areas and voters included now are entirely urban. Joe Garcea, a political scientist at the University of Saskatchewan, said: "I think that there are many more constituencies up for grabs than ever before, Of the new boundaries Garcea said: ".. you don't get that urban-rural split. Some believe that that may help the NDP because the Conservatives were getting a lot of their support in such ridings in the rural areas."
Saskatchewan still has a number of enterprises left over from periods when it was more socialist-oriented. Cooperatives and credit unions are ubiquitous both in rural and urban settings. There is a provincial bus company, provincial power corporation, telephones, and government monopoly auto insurance, The right-of-center Saskatchewan Party won power by adopting some of the popular NDP social programs. After doing badly in an election in 2003 the Saskatchewan party caucus all voted in favor of the NDP's Crown Corporation Public Ownership Act that provided legislative entrenchment for the ownership of major crown utilities and services. The left borrows from the right to get elected and in Saskatchewan the right returned the favor.
In urban areas of the prairies, in particular, Harper's policies are becoming less and less popular providing an opportunity for opposition parties to gain seats. The NDP may start to regain some of its power in the province that gave birth to its predecessor the CCF. Don't expect a second edition of the Regina Manifesto soon though.

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