I’ve weighed issues and judged candidates so you don’t have to

Election 2016 by Gregory Beatty

"Scotty" photo by Darrol Hofmeister

It’s been a hard-fought campaign and the finish line is nigh. At stake: who will Saskatchewan voters pick to represent their beloved province at the local, national and international level?

First, let’s dispense with the usual bromide about the importance of casting your ballot. Yes, Prairie Dog has a progressive bent that maybe isn’t compatible with majority opinion in Saskatchewan on a lot of issues. But at the end of the day, participatory democracy is a hallmark of our society so it’s important we all exercise our franchise.

With that out of the way, I’m here to deliver my official endorsement. Ladies and gentlemen, after much thought and analysis, it is my considered opinion that the best candidate for the job is… Scotty the Tyrannosaurus rex!

Rest assured, my choice wasn’t made lightly. Much soul-searching was involved in deciding which of seven prehistoric fossils should be our official provincial emblem. I mean, just look at the candidates.

Chronologically, from oldest to most recent, there’s Big Bert the crocodile who lived 92 million years ago when Saskatchewan was covered by an inland sea; the short-necked and long-necked Plesiosaur that swam in the same sea 70 million years ago; a Thescelosaur which lived at the same time as Scotty 67 million years ago in a tropical forest environment and was a herbivore; a Brontothere which was a rhino-like herbivore that inhabited our expanding grasslands 35 million years ago; and a Mammoth which lived during the ice age 15,000 years ago.

So why am I endorsing Scotty? Well, in all honesty, and with no disrespect to the other candidates, it’s pretty much a no-brainer.

To begin with, of the roughly 50 U.S. states and Canadian provinces that have an official fossil, none has yet selected a T. rex. It seems odd, I know, because of all the dinosaurs out there, I’m hard-pressed to think of another one that’s more iconic (and bad-ass).

Yes, I know there’s debate about whether T. rex was an actual predator or just a scavenger. But either way, it’s a freaking awesome carnivore. So it offers endless promotional opportunities for Saskatchewan as our official fossil.

Scotty was unearthed in south-west Saskatchewan in 1991. It’s one of only about a dozen T. rex skeletons in existence, and at over 12 metres in length, it’s considered the largest and most complete specimen ever found.

Fossil samples from the seven candidates are on display at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum (just north of the provincial Legislative Building, fittingly) until April 25. You can see them and vote in person at the museum. Can’t make it? Lame, but you’re covered. From April 11-25 you can vote online at royalsaskmuseum.ca. And not to name drop, but if you visit the RSM website you’ll see (via a Feb. 17 blog post) that RSM palaeontologist Emily Bamforth has also endorsed Scotty as Saskatchewan’s official fossil.

In case, you know, you need an expert’s opinion because mine isn’t good enough.

To wrap this up, we’ve got an important decision to make that could pay dividends for all of Saskatchewan. Let’s get it right.

Vote for my guy and nobody gets eaten.