Provincial election officially announced

By Ben Ingram

The writ dropped Oct. 10 on the 2011 provincial election and candidates vying for the Meadow Lake nod are launching their campaigns.

During the last race, current MLA Jeremy Harrison of the Saskatchewan Party managed a win by a mere 36 votes in what he has described as one of the most highly contested constituencies in the province.

Incumbent MLA Jeremy Harrison is expecting a tight race again. He won the last election by only 36 votes.

“I expect it to be close again. It’s always close in this constituency, it has been for literally 30 years,” he said.

Harrison’s team, now working on their fourth campaign, have been knocking on doors for the past few months already. Nevertheless, with the race officially underway, he expects the campaign to become more visible as signs are distributed and engagement increases.

“It’s going to be a typical constituency campaign of knocking on doors. There’s not a whole lot of excitement to it, but that’s the absolute essence of politics, making those individual contacts with as many voters as you can. That’s what I’m going to be focusing on,” he said.

Harrison said his platform for re-election will focus on the results of the current Sask Party government here in Meadow Lake, as well as asking residents if they would prefer representation by a government cabinet minister rather than a member of the opposition.

Former Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation & MLTC Tribal Chief Helen Ben is concerned about the low-quality roads in the area.

The NDP’s Helen Ben said her campaign office will be opening Oct. 11 as she seeks to unseat Harrison on Nov. 7.

Her party’s general platform aside, Ben’s localized concerns include targeting the doctor shortage and what she feels are low-quality roads in the area.

“In some cases there’s roads being constructed or worked on but in some cases by the following year…they’re broken again or there’s damage,” she said. “I think we need to look at the quality of the work that’s being done.”

Like Harrison, Ben and her team will be knocking on doors throughout the constituency to raise awareness of her particular platform. She said she’ll also be speaking at events throughout the city and region, including visits to schools.

“Those are things I want to look at and those are things that reach everybody,” she said.

A third candidate, 51-year-old Susan Merasty, may also enter the race as a Green Party candidate, but the party has not yet confirmed her official status.

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