When some residents of the northern prairie city of Flin Flon head to the polls on April 4 to vote in the Saskatchewan election, provincial election campaigning in the area won’t be over.
Most of the population can’t vote until April 19.
Nestled on the Saskatchewan-Manitoba border, residents of Flin Flon are watching two provincial elections unfold. About 250 people in the city of 5,800 live on the Saskatchewan side of the border and are voting in Saskatchewan’s Cumberland riding on April 4. The rest will vote in Manitoba’s provincial election on April 19 in the riding of Flin Flon.
“It is certainly an interesting situation,” said Mark Kolt, Flin Flon’s municipal administrator.
Living through two concurrent provincial elections is hardly the biggest oddity of living in a border city, Kolt says. A far more interesting claim to fame is a border-straddling ball diamond where — for half the year when Saskatchewan and Manitoba are on different time zones — players joke that foul balls land an hour after they’re hit.
Though campaign signs for candidates running in two different elections can be spotted while driving through the city, Kolt said there’s little confusion about who’s voting when.
“Really, you can’t possibly live in Flin Flon for any length of time without being aware of which side of the border you’re living on.”
While most Flin Flon residents cheer for the Rough Riders over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, when it comes to politics, most people are more engaged in what’s happening Manitoba-side, Kolt said.
That’s especially the case this spring with polls suggesting the Manitoba election could lead to an end of the NDP’s 16-year reign.
“There’s a lot of interesting things about this race on the Manitoba side this time, whereas, on the Saskatchewan side, I think that the polls have been quite a bit more consistent as to what’s likely to happen. So I think it’s generating a little bit less discussion locally,” Kolt said.
Neither the Cumberland nor Flin Flon races are sure things. On the Saskatchewan side, well-known La Ronge mayor Thomas Sierzycki is the face of the Saskatchewan Party and facing off against NDP incumbent Doyle Vermette. The Manitoba riding of Flin Flon, which has long been a safe NDP seat, is less certain this year as the incumbent NDP MLA is running as an independent and could possibly split the left vote.
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