Saskatchewan woke up on Tuesday with an election hangover.
For New Democratic Party supporters it could have been from the wine they had to drink to comprehend results that left them one seat higher(10) than they had in the previous provincial election in 2011 (9). Or it could be from the tequila they took shots of after the party's leader lost his own constituency.
For Saskatchewan Party supporters the hangover could have come from all of the champagne they drank after their party won a third majority government.
For others it might just been a hangover from all the campaigning and message tracks we've heard over the last month. It's nothing compared to the 2015 federal election (or the American presidential election which we've also be inundated with) but it still felt like way too much.
With 63 per cent of the popular vote, that means only 268,824 people voted for the Sask. Party.
The election results could have been plucked right out of 2011.
That Sask. Party and Brad Wall were quickly declared victorious, and soon after declared a majority government. At the same time, NDP supporters anxiously watched the tight races for the seats they were able to maintain. They also watched as their leader was beat by a complete unknown candidate.
News casts could have been rebroadcasts from 2011 when former-leader Dwain Lingenfelter watched his party hit a record low in seats won, and watched his own seat slip away.
Although Lingenfelter's seat was reclaimed this election, with other major loses for the NDP it didn't really matter much in the overall results.
The Sask. Party received just under 63 per cent of the popular vote and 51 seats, leaving the NDP with just 30 per cent of the vote and only 10 seats. Even with three new constituencies, they all went to the Sask. Party.
Another thing that could have been taken from the history book was a sense of voter apathy, unfortunately this time it was even worse. Although more people went to the polls on Monday than in 2011, voter turnout was down.
According to Elections Saskatchewan, only 56.8 per cent of registered voters went to the polls, compared to 66.7 per cent in 2011.
A lot of people I spoke with before the election said they didn't see the point in voting, Brad Wall and his Sask. Party were going to dominate the provincial government no matter what. Although pre-election polls showed Wall's popularity maintained, that's not the point of democracy. You don't only vote if your party is going to win.
So unfortunately, like many predicted and didn't act on, Wall and the Sask. Party will largely be able to take action without many concerns or complaints getting in their way for the next four years.
I believe that any political party left without a strong opposition is scary.
The NDP, holding only 10 seats, can't do much but cling on (which can probably be a whole different blog post).
The role of opposition parties perform the job of a "watch dog". They make sure that legislation is carefully considered, especially when it comes to different views in the society. They make sure that elected governments don't exercise their powers without consideration of dissenting or minority views.
Oppositions can direct the focus of a government to issues that are neglected.
The opposition isn't meant to dig up dirt or stop the ruling party from governing, but it's to make sure that the interests - all interests - of the public are being addressed.
If you disagree with Wall and the Sask. Party on carbon tax, resource revenue sharing, P3 Partnerships, environmental regulations, royalty rates, or a number of issues, who do you expect to have your back in the provincial government?
Less than a third of registered voters actually gave the Sask. Party the golden key to do what they want for the next four years.
Especially if you lived in constituencies like Regina Coronation Park where Sask Party won by only 200 votes or Regina University where the Sask. Party won by 5 per cent. In Saskatoon, Sask. Party held onto the Fairview seat by less than 200 votes and of course Saskatoon Westview where leader Broten lost his seat by just 44 votes, today's hangover might be intense.
A few people feeling apathetic about the future of the province could have made a major difference in the accountability of the province for the next four years.
So yes, there was an election, some people voted, and we all will have to deal with the outcome.
There were 750,893 registered voters, only 426,706 marked a ballot. With 63 per cent of the popular vote, that means only 268,824 people voted for the Sask. Party. That means less than a third of the registered voters actually gave the Sask. Party the golden key to do what they want for the next four years.
That's a good gift for them, for us without a real opposition, I just don't know.
So yah, be worried.
Kelly Geraldine Malone is a freelance journalist, podcaster, and radio producer based out of Manitoba, Canada