SASKATCHEWAN – Liberal Party candidate and long -me member of Canada’s Heathen community, Robert Rudachyk was unsuccessful in his bid for election to represent Saskatoon-Riverdale as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA). Mr. Rudachyk came in third with 340 votes, while incumbent and New Democratic Party candidate Danielle Chartier narrowly won re-election with 2645 votes. Saskatchewan Party candidate Marv Friesen placed second with 2417 votes.
Rudachyk called the results “a disappointment,” adding that he “must accept the choices of the electorate.” A seat in the MLA of Saskatchewan is similar to holding office as a Representative in the House at the state level in the U.S. Rudachyk’s election would have made him the first openly Heathen candidate elected in Canada and the highest elected Pagan in North America.
In his post-election comment, Rudachyk also lamented the poor voter turnout. He said, “I only wish that we had been able to inspire more of the registered voters to come to the polls. In my riding less than 50% of the electorate chose to exercise their democratic right, and that was the disappointment. Many had heard that the Wall government was goint to win strongly, so they gave up on hte fight and chose to stay home. I have no doubt that had they all come to the polls, the outcome would have been much different.”
Although the loss was disappointing for Rudachyk and his supporters, the good news for Canadian Pagans and Heathens is that religion appears to not have played any role in the outcome of the race. Rudachyk’s campaign style was to knock on every door in the riding and speak personally with voters. He championed campaign funding reforms to limit corps and special interest donations to under 3000 CAD. He also promoted green energy farms to economically revitalize Saskatchewan, as well as the allowance of homeowners to set up personal solar and wind systems, from which they could sell excess energy to the power company.
Although the popular new Prime Minister of Canada is in the Liberal Party, Justin Trudeau coattails weren’t long enough to help LP candidates win seats in the legislature. Neither the Green Party or the Liberal Party won a single seat in the Saskatchewan election. It was enough, however, for the Liberal Party to take back its historic third place spot in the Saskatchewan election, with the Greens once again falling back to fourth.
Rudachyk said, “We made great strides. From a low point of zero votes in 2011, I managed to get 6.2% of the vote last night. This was the highest vote percentage of any of the Liberal Candidates in the City of Saskatoon.” The Liberal Party is considered a centrist party in Canada, while the Saskatchewan Party is the provincial level right wing party and the New Democratic Party is to the left.
After announcing the loss, Rudachyck thanked the party leader Darin Lamoreux as well as all the other candidates “who bravely put their names forward to represent their party’s ideology in an election.” He also offered thanks to his wife and family, saying “The long hours and hard work takes a toll on any family.”
In retrospect, Rudachyk added, “I am walking away from this with my head held high. As the first openly Heathen/pagan person to become a cansisate for a major political party in Canada, I only hope that some day I will finally become successful in this goal and bring our worldview into the political arena so that we can one day have our voices heard.”