A close race is expected in Coronation Park as past elections have seen the Saskatchewan Party lose ground to the provincial NDP.
In 2020, the last time the constituency was in play, former MLA Mark Docherty won by 283 votes. Docherty won in 2016 by only 147 votes and now, on his way out of the party Docherty offered some harsh words for his former party.
“You look at: ‘Growth that Works for Everyone.’ Well, does it? If you are going to say that, it hasn’t worked for everyone. It hasn’t worked for everyone in Coronation Park. I am going to say, ‘No, it hasn’t.’ People are struggling,” said Docherty.
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Tom McIntosh, University of Regina politics and international studies professor said those comments represent a possible fracture within the party, said Docherty’s musings may represent the first time a member of the Sask. Party caucus questioned “the direction of the government” — with the exception of Nadine Wilson.
“They were not criticisms coming from outside the party, but from inside the party and not from somebody who had set themselves off like maybe Wilson who now has an alternative party,” said McIntosh.
He said he has no doubt that the NDP are viewing this development as a feather in their cap on the doorstep. The claim that Docherty would not have an answer if asked what has the government done for the constituency of Coronation Park is worth taking note of, according to McIntosh.
“That’s a pretty damning statement. The fact that we haven’t seen a walk it back or anything in subsequent days, that might well resonate with some people and make them take a look at things,” said McIntosh.
The candidates running in the riding are Noor Burki, NDP, and Riaz Ahmad, Sask Party.
Burki has already previously run in the riding in 2020 and faced off against Docherty. Burki said he held high regard for Docherty but felt his party could better represent the residents of Coronation Park.
“I’m a father, a teacher, a small-business owner, a driver educator. We spend our time in communities and I’ve been living in this constituency for the last 15 years,” he said.
“These communities are really struggling with affordability.”
Burki said from his time on the doorstep there has been a frustration with the Saskatchewan Party and government as matters of affordability, education and health care are top of mind.
Ahmad said at the time of victory “It is an honour of a lifetime.”
He added “I look forward to working with the great people of Coronation Park as their candidate, and hopefully next MLA.”
Ahamd runs a pest control business with his family and lives in the constituency.
Olasehinde Ben Adebayo with the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan, Kendra Anderson, with Saskatchewan Green Party and Reid Hill, Sask. Progress, are also running in the byelection.
There will be six days of voting held for the byelection between Thursday and Aug. 10.