Parachute politics: why a candidate’s address is typically a minor detail

On Sunday, Scott Moe introduced Chris Guérette as the new Saskatchewan Party candidate for the Saskatoon Eastview constituency.

It’s Guérette’s second riding. She originally wanted to represent the Sask. Party in Saskatoon Meewasin but Rylund Hunter defeated her.

The former Saskatoon and Area Home Builder’s Association CEO is Daryl Cooper’s replacement.

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Cooper resigned on Saturday after the CBC reported his conspiracy beliefs.

The switch is the second of the campaign. Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili blocked former cabinet minister Rachel Morin from representing the party in the Walsh Acres riding in Regina. Meili gave the nomination to Kelly Hardy instead.

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Far from being discouraged, “parachuting” a candidate into a new riding is common practice.

There are no rules requiring elected officials to live in the area they represent — at any political level in the country.

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Political scientist Greg Poelzer says many factors go into party officials determining who gets the nod, but location is seldom one of them.

“They’re trying to balance regions and they’re trying to balance expertise, they’re trying to balance getting star candidates, trying to balance things like gender,” the University of Saskatchewan professor said, speaking over Zoom.

“When you’re trying to balance all those kind of considerations, let alone when there’s last-minute switches in candidates for whatever reason, and a candidate drops out, parachuting is actually quite a common practice.”

Poelzer told Global News the most important issue for voters when deciding between candidates — by far — is party affiliation.

He said the parachuted candidates have to work harder to earn trust and recognition with their potential constituents, and that’s especially true for large, rural ridings and even more so if the new nominee has an urban background.

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But the colour of the sign their name is on still does most of the work.

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Poelzer said locality can be more of an issue is municipal politics — which Brian Shalovelo hopes he can overcome.

The former Saskatoon police officer is hoping to be elected in Ward 8 despite living in Ward 9.

“I think the issue of my address, at least in my opinion, is not as big as the issues and the challenges and the priorities facing the city and the people of Ward 8,” he said.

Shalovelo told Global News he hopes his platform, which focuses on “getting back to basics,” will appeal to voters in the ward.

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“I think people need choice. And I think I offer choice in Ward 8. Right now Ward 8 only has two candidates.”

Guérette, at the announcement of her candidacy, said that elections are won with teams and not by individuals alone.

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That will likely work in her favour, and potentially against Shalovelo.

But whether they win or lose, they both still have another choice to make – who they should vote for in their own riding.

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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