Whether there's usually only been enough food at the table for two, it's typically just been two parties at the table in Saskatchewan provincial politics.

Only twice in the province since the 1975 provincial election has the party with the third-most seats had more than one seat. Both the Saskatchewan Liberal Party and the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan have been in power at some point, but the Liberals have been without representation in Regina since the 2003 election, and the PCs haven't had a seat in legislature since the 1999 election.

Once powerful, both parties seem to have a ways to go before getting back to prominence.

It's been a while since the Saskatchewan Party formed in the spring of 1997, since gaining absorbing a lot of the personnel and a lot of the influence of the Liberals and PCs - which never did officially merge.

The PCs effectively took a two-election hiatus, while the Liberals have continued contesting elections.

Not that they haven't been already, but now with three byelections coming up in the province (Swift Current, Kindersley, Melfort), and a general election in two years, both parties are pushing to have greater influence on policy coming out of Regina.

Tara Jijian courtesy Jijian

Saskatchewan Liberal Interim Leader Tara Jijian (courtesy Jijian)

Tara Jijian is the interim leader of the provincial Liberals, and says they have just over 2,000 memberships.

A statement yesterday from PC President Grant Schmidt said they aren't releasing their exact membership totals until their leadership contest to replace Rick Swenson.

But in a recent interview Schmidt said they lack members, have only one paid employee - their executive director - but made more of an impact than the official opposition NDP by leading an investigation into the Global Transportation Hub land deal.

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Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative Party President Grant Schmidt (courtesy Schmidt)

Schmidt says the PCs will be successfully rebuilt once they "have a full slate of candidates." They ran 19 in the 2016 general election, and Schmidt says they want to candidates in all 61 ridings in 2020.

Schmidt's vision is for the PCs to be an "incentivist" party (that has "everyone working and participating in society to their own ability") that "[changes] the world and [unites] the middle." The PCs applaud the Saskatchewan Party for combining the 12 health regions into one - something the PCs had advocated for - but they say they aren't sure how well the government will execute.

"We need seats to implement that policy; we need seats to be an effective opposition; and then we need seats to have the power to get these ideas put in place," Schmidt said. "But power is not our only goal."

With Jijian, there's a lot of talk about the future of the province. She speaks about Saskatchewan Liberal groups propping up on campus for both the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan.

The PCs haven't announced a candidate - or whether they'll have one - for the upcoming Swift Current byelection, but the Liberals candidate - 20-year-old Aidan Roy - is the president of the Saskatchewan Liberals at the University of Regina.

While Schmidt and the PCs are glad they've been able to have some influence without a seat in legislature, Jijian also says even changing the dynamic of the dialogue around government would be a positive.

"I always said, right from the day I took over this interim leadership, that if I can use this platform to make a difference and to start a conversation that isn't necessarily being had right now, then that would be a big win for me and a win for the Liberals as well, because maybe we have some different ideas that people should consider, and maybe start some conversations that aren't being had."

And like with the PCs, Jijian certainly wants seats.

"It is important that we have, you know, two or three people actually elected to voice those questions and to hold our governing party to account. So that's what we're going to be focusing on coming up in the 2020 election is getting a few people elected."

As it stands, both the PCs and Liberals - as well as the Green Party, and we'll be hearing more from them soon - are without seats at the table, but with an appetite to have an influence. It remains to be seen whether the next couple years will see whether another party, or parties, can join the Saskatchewan Party and NDP in legislature.

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