Monday, November 10, 2014

Provincial by-election in Lloydminster, Saskatchewan on Thursday

On Thursday, Saskatchewan will be seeing its very first provincial by-election since the 2011 general election which re-elected the conservative Saskatchewan Party in a landslide.  Voters in the riding of Lloydminster will be electing a new Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) following the September 30 retirement of backbencher Tim McMillan, to become president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. Since the 2011 election, the Brad Wall-led Saskatchewan Party government has presided over incredible economic growth in the province, thanks in part to a booming oil sector.  As a result, recent polls have shown Wall to be the most popular premier in the entire country.

The riding of Lloydminster is on the western border of the province, northwest of the province's largest city of Saskatoon. The riding is named after its largest community, Lloydminster, which makes up about 40% of the riding's population. The City of Lloydminster, known as the “border city” is well known for straddling the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. Over a third of the city of Lloydminster's population lives on the Saskatchewan side of town, however it once contained over half the city's population. Outside of Lloydminster, the riding is mostly rural. It runs long the provincial border from Meadow Lake Provincial Park in the north, to the town of Marshall in the south. The riding also includes the communities of Pierceland and Paradise Hill as well as a number of Indian Reserves, most notably the Onion Lake Cree Nation.


The dominant ancestries in this area of west-central Saskatchewan are Cree, English and German.  The City of Lloydminster itself is mostly White, but has a small Filipino community, which makes up 7% of the city's population. The city also has a sizable community with Aboriginal ancestry, thanks to its proximity to a number of Cree Indian Reserves. Two-thirds of Lloydminister is Christian, while the remaining third of the population is non religious. The two main Christian denominations are Catholics and the United Church. Lloydminster is wealthier than the provincial average. The city saw a median income of $40,000 in 2010,  $9,000 more than the provincial median.


For most of its history, this rural-based riding has backed the NDP., and its predecessor, the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.), back when the party was rooted in its rural base. However, in the last 10 to 20 years, the Saskatchewan Party has taken over rural Saskatchewan, leaving the N.D.P.  with just the cities and the far north. After the Progressive Conservatives held the riding in the 1980s, Violet Stanger was the riding's MLA for the NDP from 1991 to 1999, when she lost to the newly formed Saskatchewan Party's candidate, Milton Wakefield. When the NDP won a majority government in 2003, it very nearly won Lloydminster back, with its candidate losing to Wakefield by just 66 votes.  However when the Saskatchewan Party finally won the government in 2007,  its new candidate in the riding, Tim McMillan cruised to a comfortable 61% to 37% victory over his NDP opponent. In 2011 he increased his support, winning two-thirds of the vote.



- Abt. Champagne, Liberal (1905-1908)


- H.C. Lisle, Liberal (1908-1912)
- J.P. Lyle, Liberal (1912-1917)
- R.J. Gordon, Liberal (1917-1934)

Cut Knife

- A.J. Macauley, Farmer-Labour (1934-1938)

- Wm. Roseland, Social Credit (1938-1944)
- I.C. Nollet, C.C.F. (1944-1964)

Cut Knife-Lloydminster

- I.C. Nollet, C.C.F. (1964-1967) continued
- Miro Kwasnica, N.D.P. (1967-1978)
- R.G. Long, N.D.P. (1978-1982)

- M.A. Hopfner, Prog. Cons. (1982-1991)
- Ms. Violet Stanger, N.D.P. (1991-1995)


- Ms. Violet Stanger, N.D.P. (1995-1999) continued
- M. Wakefield, Sask. Party (1999-2007)
- T. McMillan, Sask. Party (2007-2014)


Political geography

Lloydminister is a heavily polarized riding. The 2011 provincial election saw polling divisions give both the Saskatchewan Party and the NDP over 95% of the vote. The minority Cree population on the reserves vote overwhelmingly NDP.   In the poll covering the Island Lake First Nation, the NDP won 96.5% of the vote, while the poll covering the Onion Lake First Nation gave the NDP 95.4% of the vote. On the flip of this, a poll covering the southeast corner of the Rural Municipality of Frenchman Butte (surrounding the community of Butte-St-Pierre) gave the Saskatchewan Party 98.6% of the vote (only one person voted NDP). Just to the south of that poll, across the North Saskatchewan River, in the Rural Municipality of Eldon, the poll surrounding the community of Milleton gave the Saskatchewan Party's Tim McMillan 95.0% of the vote. Overall, the rural, non-First Nations part of the riding is very friendly to the Saskatchewan Party. They are less popular in the Lloydminster area, but they still manage to win every poll there.  The Saskatchewan Party won all but four polls in 2011. The four they lost all covered Indian Reserves. Federally, results in the area have followed the same patterns. First Nations Reserves vote NDP or Liberal, while everything else goes Conservative.

2011 provincial election results by area of the riding


With Brad Wall and his Saskatchewan Party still immensely popular in the province, it stands to reason that there is little doubt that they will win the riding. The only questions will be, by how much? And, who will finish second?  The NDP is still the main opposition party in the province, but with the Liberal brand on the rise across the country, it's possible that the fledgling provincial Liberal Party (who did not even run in the riding in 2011) could eat into NDP support here.  Winning the Aboriginal vote will be key to finish second, as it has gone Liberal on the federal level in the past.

The candidate for the Saskatchewan Party is school trustee Colleen Young, who is the current director of the Lloydminster Public School Division. The NDP is running Wilton Rural Municipality resident Wayne Byers, who also ran for the party in 2003 (when he lost by 66 votes) and in 2011 (losing by a much larger margin).  The Liberals are running their interim leader, Darrin Lamoureux, who is the younger brother of Winnipeg MP Kevin Lamoureux. The Greens, who finished third in 2011, are running former Lloydminster resident Luke Bonsan.

The polls will close Thursday evening at 8pm Central, 7 Mountain (the riding spans more than one time zone, as the area south of the North Saskatchewan River, including the City of Lloydminster is under Mountain time) or 9pm Eastern Standard Time.