author: ethan williams | staff writer
Second time candidate picks up majority of vote
“We’ve been working hard for about four years in this constituency, getting out and meeting people and going door to door. I feel like I was better known this time because I’ve been around so much.”
This is just one of the reasons why Vicki Mowat feels she handily won the September 7 by-election in Saskatoon.
Mowat was elected with over sixty per cent of the vote in the riding of Saskatoon-Fairview, with her nearest competitor, Cameron Scott of the Sask. Party, taking in around thirty per cent. Mowat also feels the public is tiring of the Sask. Party’s budget.
“There’s a lot of frustration with the Sask. Party government right now. There’s a lot of frustration with the budget with cuts to education and healthcare. People are really struggling and saw those cuts in pretty personal ways.”
Indeed, there have been shifts in opinion about the Sask. Party recently. In an article from the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix from June 20 of this year, an Angus Reid poll shows that forty-eight per cent of Saskatchewan residents sided with the Sask. Party, compared to forty percent with the NDP. Compare that with April of 2016, when Brad Wall won the election with sixty-four percent of the vote.
In the same article, a Mainstreet poll taken in June shows an even starker contrast, with forty-nine per cent of residents siding with the NDP, and just forty percent with the Sask. Party.
Mowat ran in the provincial election in 2016 in the same riding, but lost by just under 200 votes to the Sask. Party’s Jennifer Campeau.
Campeau left earlier this year for B.C. to take up a job at mining company Rio Tinto. Campeau’s exit triggered the by-election and Mowat stepped up once again.
She says running in the elections was important to her because her family struggled in the past with tough times.
“I grew up in a working family. I’m from the west side of Saskatoon, and I’ve spent most of my life here. We haven’t always had things come easily to us, we’ve had to rely on family members when things get tough. I also have a background in working with the community. I worked with the cadet program in Saskatoon, and I also worked with inner city kids and learned about poverty and their circumstances. I also started teaching in Sociology at the U of S as a sessional lecturer. All of these experiences combined made me want to get involved and work to change things.”
Mowat said she couldn’t speak for the entire NDP in terms of goals for the future. However, she talked about the party’s current state and outlined some things she is working toward.
“There’s a lot of energy in our party right now. There’s a lot of new people coming in. I think it’s an exciting time for us because we are working on rebuilding. For me, I want to be able to fight to make sure life is affordable for people in the area. I want to make sure the people of Saskatoon Fairview are heard, because they have not felt they have been heard by the Sask. Party MLA who was in before.”
When asked how she would help universities and post-secondary institutions deal with massive blows to funding, or possibly restore funding, Mowat said the NDP would avoid further cuts the Sask. Party has made.
“I know it has been quite significant. It’s something we should be investing in, not cutting, and the NDP’s been pretty outspoken about that. It’s our future, right? It’s making sure our citizens are well-informed and well-prepared and that includes K-12, but we’re also taking about post-secondary when we talk about this,” says Mowat.
Mowat is also frustrated, as she says the cuts come at the same time that wealthier citizens are receiving tax breaks from the government.
Unlike her counterpart, Ryan Meili, who also won a by-election in Saskatoon this year, Mowat says she doesn’t intend on running for party leadership.
“I don’t have any plans right now. We’re pretty early in and I’m trying to get a campaign office closed and another office opened, so no I’m not planning to run or endorse anyone at this time.”
The fall legislative session begins on October 25 with the Speech from the Throne from Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield.
From there, Mowat and the other eleven NDP MLAs will be getting down to work as they venture toward a leadership convention in 2018, and an interesting political roa