Monday, October 19, 2020

On opportunism

When Scott Moe first heard about the coronavirus, he smelled opportunity. And that can take many forms.

No, Moe didn't call the spring election that he initially planned. But he did take the opportunity to prevent Elections Saskatchewan from pursuing a modernized voting process or a full mail-in balloting system for the election date set for this fall.

And here's part of the fallout from that opportunism:

In-person advance and election day polls cannot be held safely within Peter Ballantyne First Nation communities due to a COVID-19 outbreak, says Elections Saskatchewan.


Extraordinary voting will be offered to residents of these communities, but residents must apply within the next two days.

“This will be your only opportunity to get a ballot,” Elections Saskatchewan said in a statement.


Residents — members and non-members — of Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation communities must call Elections Saskatchewan at 1 (866) 351-0040 before Oct. 20 at 5 p.m. to apply for extraordinary voting.

And who's affected in particular? 

Well, the Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation has about 5,700 members, including ones in the communities of Southend, Deschambault Lake, Pelican Narrows, Sandy Bay, Amisk Lake, Sturgeon Landing and Kinoosao who will be prevented from voting normally. And the 2016 results (PDF) show those communities supporting NDP incumbent Doyle Vermette (see p. 86-89) - with the combination of advance polls and regular polls providing a margin of over 500 votes in a constituency won by about 1,700 total.

In other words, the direct result of Moe's cynical and callous view of COVID-19 is the risk of disenfranchisement of thousands of voters - and potentially an electoral advantage for Moe's party. 

Hopefully it will be possible to get voters registered in time to avoid any disruption. But having seen what flows from Moe's view of the opportunity raised by a pandemic, Saskatchewan's voters should respond by taking their own opportunity to elect a better government.

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