Drive-in rallies punctuate last days of campaign

Regina, Saskatoon – With the provincial election campaign wrapping up in its final days, the platforms revealed and most of the promises made, the leaders of the major parties are building to the final crescendo.

But with COVID-19 pandemic restrictions in place, that means filling a hall with cheering supporters is out of the question. As a result, the parties are getting creative.

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The New Democratic Party was the first to hold a drive-in rally, which took place in at Prairieland Park in Saskatoon on Oct. 17. They called it the “Drive-In Rally for Ryan.”

The Saskatchewan Party held its first rally in Regina on Oct. 22, which they called “The Big Honkin’ Rally for a Strong Saskatchewan.” It took place on the north end of the city.

By Oct. 23, both parties planned drive-in rallies for that day. The Saskatchewan Party’s was in Saskatoon in the afternoon, also at Prairieland Park. The NDP’s rally was scheduled for the evening, at Regina’s Evraz Place.

While the Sask. Party’s initial rally was a short affair, principally with a 15-minute speech by a toque-wearing Leader Scott Moe on a very crisp day, the NDP’s rallies both had music on the agenda. On Oct. 17, Ellen Froese and the Hot Toddies played, followed by jigging, before NDP Leader Ryan Meili took to the podium. Music resumed at the end of his 15-minute speech.

Both leaders repeated much of their respective stump speeches, with Meili calling cuts to health and education “downright dangerous,” and Moe asking, “Who do you trust?”   

Moe acknowledged the strangeness of this new form of political gather on Oct. 22. He said, “Ladies and gentlemen, this is certainly not the traditional kind of a campaign rally that we would hope to have at this stage, as we near the end of the campaign, but I think it's also fair to say that it hasn't been the traditional kind of campaign. A lot of things are very different this year and they've been very different over the course of the last three and a half weeks.”

Meili said on Oct. 17, “It’s a cool night, but our hearts are warm and we’re full of hope, as the momentum builds for New Democrats, towards election day.

“I want to thank you for coming and doing this in a new way.”

“It’s been an unusual election, unlike any one we’ve done before,” Meili said. “We’ve been travelling, not shaking hands, not hugging, not getting to kiss any babies, but having so many conversations, and we have heard from you. We've heard about your frustrations, your fears of another four years of Scott Moe and the Sask. Party, your hopes for what we can do with a New Democratic Government. And that's what this election is all about. It's about you. It's about us. It's about the choice that's before us as a province, a choice that couldn't be more clear.” 

Moe said, “On the day this campaign started I asked the Saskatchewan voters a short but very simple question: ‘Who do you trust to lead Saskatchewan’s economic recovery. Who do you trust?”