SASKATOON — Scott Moe is the premier-designate for Saskatchewan after five ballots and voting results that were much closer than expected.
The final ballot saw the Rosthern-Shellbrook MLA take nearly 54 percent of the vote, while Alanna Koch earned 46 percent.
Moe, who is 44, told reporters his first priority was to have a family breakfast Sunday and then head to Regina to begin work.
But he also served notice to the federal government that Saskatchewan will not stand for a carbon tax.
“I will fight for this province. I will fight for our economy to ensure that we do not have a carbon tax,” he told about 1,200 people gathered for the convention. “And Justin Trudeau, if you’re wondering how far I will go, just watch me.”
The prime minister issued a statement congratulating Moe and wishing outgoing premier Brad Wall well.
“I look forward to working closely with Mr. Moe to continue to deliver real results on the issues that matter to the people of Saskatchewan and to all Canadians, including growing our agricultural industry and promoting our natural resources to the world,” he said.
Koch led the voting for the first three ballots, but it was incredibly close from the start. She led Moe by just 46 votes on the first, and 38 on the second. The gap widened to 54 on the third ballot, but Moe took over after Gord Wyant dropped off on the fourth.
Ken Cheveldayoff was in third place throughout, but only a few hundred votes behind, despite predictions that he would likely emerge the first-ballot leader.
The final vote count was 8,075 for Moe and 6,914 for Koch.
Koch, who does not have a seat in the legislature, said she was disappointed, but praised her campaign team for their hard work. Cheveldayoff said he would be happy to work with the new premier.