Saskatoon West incumbent Brad Redekopp will head back to Ottawa after defending his seat in the tightest federal electoral race in the province.
The Conservative leads NDP challenger Robert Doucette by a decisive margin in a showdown that was too close to call on election night, until a late-night stream of advance poll results gave Redekopp a decisive lead.
As of Tuesday morning the incumbent led by nearly 2,500 votes, which means Doucette would need to claim nearly all the 2,549 special ballots yet to be counted in order to win. CBC, Global News and CTV have all projected him as the winner.
Redekopp, a former accountant and business owner, said it was a responsibility he does not take likely.
“We’ve proven through hard work and perseverance that the people of Saskatoon West will put their faith, have put their faith in me,” Redekopp said.
Conservatives once again swept all 14 of Saskatchewan’s ridings, rebuking attempts from the Liberals and the NDP to put a dent in the blue wall .
The NDP saw an opportunity to win back Saskatoon West after Redekopp took the riding from them in 2019.
Doucette, a former Metis Nation-Saskatchewan president, congratulated Redekopp on his victory Tuesday morning, adding he believed the NDP might have taken home the win if they had another month of campaigning.
“I think we’ve shown this province that it’s not just a Conservative province, that there is some life left in the NDP in this province yet,” Doucette said.
Saskatoon West includes many of the city’s oldest neighbourhoods and some of its newest developments. Census results note household income there is markedly lower than in the city’s other two federal ridings. Redekopp said housing affordability will be high on his agenda in Ottawa.
“I’m not so enthused about the national result. I don’t think we quite did as well as we had hoped there, so that’s a bit of a disappointment,” he said.
The party will enter an “introspective phase” in the coming weeks and months, and he’ll continue to work on the riding’s priorities by reaching out to Liberal colleagues across the aisle, building on relationships forged in his first two-year term, he added.
“That’s something that can be done. It just needs some work, it needs some persistence, but we can get results that way.”
He added that he doesn’t believe Erin O’Toole’s leadership of the party will end anytime soon.
If Doucette and Redekopp agree on something, it is that Saskatoon West will likely remain a competitive riding.
“I think the next round is going to be even more interesting,” Doucette said. Asked what’s next, he chuckled and said he planned to go cut the grass in his yard.
Redekopp said he would take some days to unwind after a hard-fought campaign.
“When there’s a next election will it be close? Probably,” he said. “I can’t predict the future, but if I were a betting man, I’d say it will be close.”
Election 2021: Waugh, Tochor reclaim seats in city ridings; Saskatoon West too close to call
'All of Canada is watching this seat': The fight to win Saskatoon West