Socialist Project Bullet
October 31, 2011
A reporter covering Tory Prime Minister Kim Campbell's campaign during the 1993 election likened it to watching a dog die slowly. Campbell replaced Brian Mulroney after his public support collapsed and she was punished for his sins, winning only two seats and 16 per cent of the vote.Saskatchewan's November 7, 2011 election recalls that image to mind – the whole campaign is like watching a dog die. There is no public engagement, little interest and even less hope that casting a ballot is worth the effort. The choice between Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party and Dwain Lingenfelter's New Democrats is clear, but the differences are so marginal that it is hard to believe that anything important would change if Lingenfelter replaced Wall.
Lingenfelter knows he is losing and is determined to shore up the NDP's core vote. Hence he has run a careful, low key campaign, focussing on practical economic and social issues that might resonate broadly with the public. Issues like rent control and affordable housing, improved health care, a children's dental plan, more day care spaces and more generous subsidies, a tuition freeze and so on are all modest programs, but depend on getting a bigger share of the province's resource wealth to finance such measures for the public good.