Canadian election: Tight result expected for Saskatchewan race between Desnethé-Missinippi and Churchill River | The Canadian News

The candidates for the largest Saskatchewan leadership are preparing their final pitches for voters ahead of the Sept. 20 election.

One political scientist said that riding on the Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River is not as simple as voting along party lines, but rather who the candidate is and their connections to the community.

“We are talking about a part of the province where the party label is much less important than the local profile of the candidate,” said Tom McIntosh of the University of Regina.

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Elections in Canada: Desnethé – Missinippi – Churchill River

Saskatchewan’s northernmost drive has seen each of the top three parties win the seat for the past two decades and this year, they are all expected to try again.

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Buckley Belanger left his NDP MLA seat for Athabasca, a seat he held for 25 years, to run as a Liberal candidate in federal elections.

The former mayor of Ile-a-la-Crosse said 99 percent of the trips he has taken have been by car.

“I think there was a case where I used a boat to go to a place, but that was just a very short trip,” Belanger told Global News.

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The Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River Walk is one of the largest in the country with an estimated size of 342,903 square kilometers. – about 15,000 square kilometers. smaller than Germany.

About two-thirds of voters are of indigenous origin and the driving has multiple flying communities, making it more difficult and expensive for candidates to campaign there.

On top of that, many northern communities have seen major COVID-19 exposures in recent months and have closed access to visitors.

Click to play video: '2019 Federal Election - North Sask.  I expected to see a close race '

2019 Federal Election: North Sask. I expected to see a close race

2019 Federal Election: North Sask. expected to see a closed race – October 21, 2019

Conservative candidate Gary Vidal won the 2019 race, beating then-NDP incumbent Georgina Jolibois and Indian band leader Lac La Ronge, Tammy Cook-Searson.

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The former mayor of Meadow Lake noted that all parties believe they can win the seat they have shown by putting high-profile candidates in the race.

“So this is a surprise? Not at all. Does it create fierce competition? Yes, absolutely, ”he said.

Vidal, who won the previous elections by almost 3,800 votes, added that he is ready to face any rival.

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Political scientists and pollsters have listed Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River as a three-way race with the New Democrat’s Harmonie King as a favorite.

King is a social worker who works in many of the northern communities.

He ran in the provincial elections last year and in the Metis Nation-Saskatchewan elections this year, losing both times.

When asked about her previous campaigns and why a voter should vote for her instead of Vidal or Belanger, King excused himself from the Zoom interview for four and a half minutes.

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When he came back on the call, he said that past campaigns have taught him a lot and helped him shape this campaign and how he connects with voters.

King added that he feels the relationships built through his work give him an advantage, and his team has tried to find ways to reach communities they were unable to travel to during the campaign.

“Whether it’s online, over the phone, or going online over the radio,” he said.

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There are three other candidates in the race: Nasser Chalifoux with the Green Party, Dezirae Reddekopp with the People’s Party of Canada (PPC) and Stephen King, who is running as an independent.

In a statement, Chalifoux said that even with the size of the vehicle, news can travel faster than him as a candidate and he believes he has been able to get his message across to voters.

The PPC candidate’s team declined Global News’ offer to comment, while the independent candidate did not respond to our request prior to publication.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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