Thursday, 17 August 2017 04:21

Brad Wall announces his retirement from politics

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Brad Wall was all smiles on election night April 4, 2016 as the province voted his party in for a third consecutive term. Brad Wall was all smiles on election night April 4, 2016 as the province voted his party in for a third consecutive term. File

The Saskatchewan Party is looking for a new leader and Swift Current residents will have a new MLA in the near future after the announcement by Premier Brad Wall that he is leaving politics behind.

Wall informed the province of his decision to retire from politics in a video message released on his Facebook page at 10 a.m., Aug. 10. An hour later, he spoke about his decision during a news conference at the legislative building in Regina.
“This November will mark 10 years since I had the incredible honour of being elected as Premier of this wonderful province that I love,” he said. “I’ve always thought that the 10-year mark — should I be so fortunate to serve that long — might be the right time to re-evaluate.”
He came to the decision to end his political career after discussions with his wife, Tami.
“I don’t know exactly when I made the decision,” he said. “Sometime around the end of June, Tami and I had been talking a lot about this and deliberating about it.”
He felt the time is right for him to retire from politics because it will be an opportunity for renewal in the government and in the Sask. party.
“I do think the government will benefit and the province will benefit with a new voice and a new style, maybe some new energy,” he said. “It’s also time for me and my family perhaps to do something else. The party that has been very good to me, is in good shape. We still hold on to a small lead in the polls, according to our last numbers. It will probably mean we might be successful in government, or to form government again even after this budget, and we have strong resources in the party.”
Strategically his retirement will give the new party leader some time to become known to the electorate before the next provincial election.
“I think it’s important to give the next person lots of time to identify, to become known by Saskatchewan people,” he said. “The next premier, that woman or man, will need I think that time. I’ve been premier for a long time and for good or for ill, that’s the face of the party for many folks and the government. So I think that I wanted to leave enough time for that person.”
He noted the success of the Saskatchewan Party during the past decade had been a team effort, even though he received a disproportionate amount of credit for things that went well during the past 10 years.
“I have benefitted from minds that are better than mine for guidance, hearts that are sometimes a little softer than mine so that we would stay in touch, and shoulders that are bigger than mine that I’ve stood on,” he said.
Wall was first elected as the MLA for Swift Current in 1999 and he has served as premier since 2007. He will continue to serve as premier until the party has chosen a new leader. He asked the party to immediately start the process to elect a new leader and he also indicated to the constituency association in Swift Current that he will be stepping down as MLA after the election of a new party leader.
“Whatever I do after this, and I currently have no leads or prospects, this job will be the honour of my working life,” he said. “It has been just a great honour, a wonderful privilege to serve as premier of Saskatchewan. So I’m grateful to the people of the province for allowing me that opportunity to serve.”
He highlighted the achievements of the government during the past decade. He believes the Saskatchewan Party’s plan for growth made a difference in the growth of the population to almost 1.2 million people and in the creation of more than 67,000 jobs.
“Growth is the new normal in this province,” he said. “That is remarkable. The credit goes to you Saskatchewan and I think our plan for growth and its specific actions have also helped. Things like new, more aggressive immigration policies, the graduate retention program, our efforts to engage with the world, to tell Saskatchewan’s story, to promote all that we have to offer to a growing world.”
Wall acknowledged he and the government made some mistakes during the past 10 years, and there is still work to do.
When asked during the news conference to elaborate on those mistakes, he indicated the government tried to implement changes to labour laws too fast. The proposal in the recent provincial budget to make significant cuts to library funding was also a mistake, but the government did not proceed with those cuts.
“Over 10 years, I’d like to say we never stopped listening to the people of the province, me directly or our MLAs,” he said.
He added various government policies are considered by some people to be a mistake, but the government will continue with those policies, including the decision to balance the budget.
“We are off to a good start in terms of our three-year plan to get the budget back to balance,” he said. “We had an informal report, not quite ready, for first quarter from the Ministry of Finance during our planning meetings and we are on track in this year’s budget and in our long-term plan to get to a balance in three years. We’re going to do so on the basis of and on the strength of better credit ratings than were here before this decade of growth.”

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Matthew Liebenberg


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