Tories Win Northern By-Election In A Walk

Tuesday, March 18, 2008 at 13:21



A member of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation is the new Member of Parliament in northern Saskatchewan.


Conservative Rob Clarke came away with a convincing victory in last night’s by-election in Desnethe-Missinippi-Churchill River, outdistancing his nearest competition — the Liberals’ Joan Beatty — by roughly 1,700 votes.


Clarke says defeating the Liberals’ star candidate was no easy feat, since he was relatively unknown compared to Beatty.


He says he relied on door-knocking to get his name out there.


Beatty says Clarke ran a “very smart” campaign — focusing on the Tories’ traditional stronghold in the southern fringe of the riding.


She also admits that the controversy surrounding her appointment as the Liberal candidate probably cost her some support.


Beatty says she plans to seek the Liberal nomination for the next general election — this time, through a conventional nomination process.


NDP candidate Brian Morin, who finished a distant third, is satisfied with his first attempt at federal politics, and is also hoping to run again in the next general election.


In fact, Morin says he has already been approached about that by party leader Jack Layton.


Still, Morin says he can’t help but wonder what his numbers would have been had more of his supporters been allowed to vote.


Beatty echoes Morin’s concerns, saying she also heard about northern citizens being denied the chance to vote because of the new voter ID requirements.


Voter turnout in the riding was roughly 42 per cent of the turnout seen in the 2006 general election.