Fingas: Saskatchewan Sees Tumultuous Municipal Elections in 2020

Saskatchewan’s municipal elections were scheduled to take place on November 9, 2020, just  two weeks after a provincial election. And while the combination of concurrent campaigns, the  COVID-19 pandemic and severe weather produced a highly unusual campaign period, the  results varied radically between communities. 

Saskatchewan’s municipal elections were scheduled to take place on November 9, 2020, just  two weeks after a provincial election. And while the combination of concurrent campaigns, the  COVID-19 pandemic and severe weather produced a highly unusual campaign period, the  results varied radically between communities.  

Regina’s election saw significant turnover among the city’s elected officials. 

Two-term incumbent mayor Michael Fougere was defeated by Richardson Pioneer manager  and former Chair of the Regina Exhibition Association Sandra Masters, who became the first  woman elected to the position.  

Five new City Councillors were also elected, including three who defeated incumbents (Cheryl  Stadnichuk over Barbara Young in Ward 1, Dan LeBlanc over Joel Murray in Ward 6, and Terina  Shaw over Sharron Bryce in Ward 7), and four who received the endorsement of the Regina  and District Labour Council (Stadnichuk, LeBlanc, Shanon Zachidniak in Ward 8, and Landon  Mohl in Ward 10).  

Regina’s public school board elections saw a previous vote on support for Pride events turn into  a key driver of change. Former Chair Katherine Gagne mounted an unsuccessful run for Council  in Ward 9, while incumbent members Tanya Foster and Jay Kasperski were defeated by  challengers Sarah Cummings Truszowski and Lacey Weekes respectively.  

Finally, while the Regina Catholic School Division saw all three of its incumbents re-elected, a large number of departures will also leave it with more new members than returnees. 

Saskatoon’s planned election day was truncated then delayed due to a massive snow storm, resulting in an additional day of voting on November 13th. But its change in process had little  apparent impact on the outcome. 

Charlie Clark was resoundingly re-elected as mayor, with a vote total exceeding those of former Saskatchewan Party cabinet minister Rob Norris (who focused his campaign on opposition to a plan for a new downtown library) and Clark’s predecessor Don Atchison combined.  

All nine Saskatoon Council incumbents who sought re-election were successful, making radio  host David Kirton the lone new Councillor. And experienced majorities on both the Public and  Catholic School Boards were elected or acclaimed, with only one incumbent (Cameron Scott in Ward 4) losing a seat.  

Other noteworthy results around Saskatchewan included: 

  • Incumbent mayors being re-elected in Moose Jaw (Fraser Tolmie) and Prince Albert (Greg  Dionne, narrowly defeating former Saskatchewan Party cabinet minister Darryl Hickie); 
  • Al Bridal defeating incumbent mayor Denis Perreault in a Swift Current election delayed by  the snow storm;  
  • Mitch Hippsley narrowly winning election as mayor of Yorkton over former Councillor Aaron  Kienle; 
  • David Gillan defeating incumbent Ryan Bater to become mayor of North Battleford;
  • Former Councillor Glenn George winning election as mayor of Melfort by only five votes over incumbent Rick Lang;  
  • The Town of Gull Lake seeing its incumbent mayor and all but one Councillor defeated; 
  • The Town of Allan electing its first female mayor, Bonnie Lewis, by three votes; and 
  • Former NDP Member of Parliament Georgina Jolibois once again being elected mayor of La Loche.

By Greg Fingas

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