A Liberal candidate who was formally a member of the Saskatchewan NDP may have been the difference that cost leader Cam Broten his seat in Monday’s election.
Naveed Anwar ran for the Saskatchewan NDP in 2011 in Saskatoon-Sutherland, but when the party rejected his bid to run in another riding this year, he joined the the Liberals and ran in Broten’s riding of Saskatoon-Westview.
He brought in 235 votes while Broten lost the seat to Saskatchewan Party’s David Buckingham by 232 votes.
Anwar said he got in to politics to support new Canadian immigrants, and strategically chose Broten’s riding because of its high density immigrant population. He has no doubt his decision and name recognition among immigrants siphoned off voters who may have otherwise voted NDP.
“Strategically, I picked new Canadians who tend to vote for NDP. So they voted for me and that’s where the difference came,” Anwar said adding he did not set out to scuttle Broten. “I just wanted to have my own impact… It was proven that I have significant influence over a specific community and I can use them as my spotters.”
Anwar jumped NDP ship after the party rejected his bid to run in the newly redrawn riding of Saskatoon-Fairview two years ago. A NDP spokesperson said Anwar was rejected as a candidate before he could declare for a specific riding because he didn’t clear the party’s vetting process. Details of why he was rejected are confidential, but Anwar said he was told not to compete against the party’s star candidate Vicki Mowat.
“Why shouldn’t I run against somebody who is not believing in a democratic process?” Anwar said.
Despite the similarity in Anwar’s number of votes to Broten’s losing difference, it’s difficult to know for sure what impact Anwar’s presence had on the final outcome.
The Liberals didn’t have a candidate in Saskatoon-Massey in 2011 when Broten won by 740 votes. Furthermore, when the riding was redrawn to form Saskatoon-Westview, Broten lost a portion of the riding with traditionally strong NDP support.
Anwar said he will run again, but it’s unclear which party he will support in the next election.
“I am a fighter, so I will fight again and I will run again,” he said.