SASKATOON – Premier Brad Wall is expected to call Saskatchewan’s 2016 provincial election Tuesday, setting up a roughly four week campaign before voters go to the polls on April 4.“We have between twenty-seven and thirty-some days to actually call it and we’ll get that done [Tuesday],” said the premier to reporters at a Sask Party campaign office Monday. Story continues below
Premier Wall and Saskatchewan New Democratic Party (NDP) Leader Cam Broten were both in Saskatoon Monday, greeting supporters and delivering speeches on the election, which had yet to be called. For the NDP, the official start date is a formality.“Our teams have been hard out working over the past months, over the past years,” said Broten, after holding a “writ period launch” event in downtown Saskatoon.“We’re not letting the official word hold us back from getting things going.”In recent days Broten has made announcements on boosting mental health care, demanding an inquiry into a 2014 land purchase and eliminating certain ambulance fees.“I am proud of the issues and the items we’ve already raised about what we want to accomplish in the province,” said Broten.Political studies professor Joe Garcea said the upcoming election is important for the future of the NDP in Saskatchewan and wasn’t surprised that officials were in campaign mode prior to the writ drop.“If they can’t hold the ground that they’ve got or do better, things will start looking very, very bleak for them,” said Garcea, who teaches at the University of Saskatchewan.“The election, unofficially, has been going on for several months and some would argue right since the last election.”Premier Wall said he didn’t think voters “need thirty days of campaigning where we roll out a promise a day.” He added that his party will not have a ton of campaign promises, due to the drop in revenues caused by the price of oil.“I think Saskatchewan people are fairly fiscally prudent and very responsible, I don’t think they want any political party trying to buy their vote,” said Wall“We need to watch the province’s finances, we need to ensure that the economy is strong and that down the road there’s no need for massive tax hikes to cover some promises that maybe shouldn’t have been made in the campaign.”Wall said there was no real advantage gained by holding off until the last possible day to begin the election period. However, Garcea said it may help them concentrate spending and allow officials to assess the political landscape.“They probably wanted to see how certain things played out and give themselves a little extra time to determine whether some things had to be resolved prior to the official election period,” said Garcea.