Candidate-elect Jim Lamaigre said the northwest now has a voice within government.

Lemaigre’s upset win in Tuesday’s Athabasca byelection is a stunning political blow to the New Democrats as it was an NDP stronghold since 1998. A SaskParty MLA has never been elected in that region.

While Lemaigre celebrated his win, he said he knows of several priorities that need to be addressed.

“One of the things that I have heard consistently is the road conditions of Highway 155. And, that and also senior and long term care for our elders is another concern, youth opportunities, and economic and employment opportunities, mental health and addiction was consistent. And our traditional land use and, and some of the exploration on our lands, those were consistent, and in all of my visits,” said Lemaigre.

He added that he will go back to consult the communities on collective priorities to bring to Regina.

Preliminary results from Elections Saskatchewan indicate Lemaigre took 1146 votes or 51 percent. Jolibois secured 900 votes or 40 percent. Voter turnout was low, as 2228 people cast ballots. That represents 24 percent of registered voters.

“Jim will not only be a strong voice on behalf of his constituents, but I think he will also be a very strong voice within the government with respect to how we continue down the path of reconciliation with our indigenous the Indigenous People in our province,” explained Premier Scott Moe.

Lemaigre is expected to be sworn-in in March, after Elections Saskatchewan conducts its final vote Feb. 28.