Thursday, 17 August 2017 04:23

Area residents react to Wall’s decision to retire from politics

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Brad Wall visits the SPCA in Swift Current in April 2014. Brad Wall visits the SPCA in Swift Current in April 2014. File

Some Swift Current area residents are saddened by the decision of Premier Brad Wall to retire from politics, but others feel it is the right time for him to do so.

The Prairie Post spoke to residents and community leaders in Swift Current after Wall made the announcement Aug. 10.
“The man has served the province well and he’s done a good job, and I have a lot of respect for people that know when to leave and when their job is done,” Grant Klaiber said. “I think that the rock now falls upon whoever is going to take over from him, but I wish him well. I applaud what he has done. He’s changed the thinking in Saskatchewan and he’s actually changed to a certain extent the thinking in our country.”
Klaiber is from Strathmore in Alberta, but he owns farm land in Saskatchewan and he also spends summers at his Lac Pelletier home.
“I’m not a fan of career politicians,” he said. “I prefer people who step up to do the best they possibly can and they know when to step down and when to pass the torch to someone else.”
He agrees with the Wall government’s approach to focus on the private sector for economic growth and development.
“Real wealth is created in agriculture, mining, that’s where the real wealth comes from, and that’s what we all live off,” he said. “So I think what Mr. Wall tried to do is he tried to limit government’s role, free up business as much as possible, and allow business to provide the employment and the well-being for people versus government.”
Swift Current resident Ed Doyle welcomed Wall’s decision to step down as premier of Saskatchewan.
“Ten years for anyone in that position is long enough,” he said. “We need new ideas, new approaches.”
He was not surprised to hear Wall’s announcement to leave the position and to ask his party to pick a new leader.
“I think his popularity has dropped and it’s probably a wise decision for him to get out before he loses the next election,” he said.
Doyle favours a limit on the number of terms a political leader can serve as premier of the province.
“They should have something like in the States,” he said. “You’ve got two terms and you’re out. We need new people and new ideas, and new challenges. You get into a rut, I think, and they were into a rut of high spending and always counting on our resources to pull us out of debt. Well, resources have cycles, the highs and the lows, and he got caught.”
John Klassen of Swift Current said it is unnecessary for Wall to give up his position as premier and MLA.
“I really don’t know why he did it,” he mentioned. “I can see no reason for him to do it. I like the man and I think he does a good job. I suppose there’s some mistakes made, but they need to be corrected. That’s about it.”
Brenda Patersdorfer of Swift Current also feels Wall should not leave politics. She thinks he should become the prime minister of Canada and she was shocked to hear the announcement.
“I’m going to miss him,” she said. “He’s been an awesome premier for our province and he’s done wonderful, and I’m not a native of this province. I’m originally from Alberta and we came to Saskatchewan because of him. ... We came to Saskatchewan because of his politics, because he has done so much for all the communities out here.”
Jerry Holfeld, who lives at the hamlet of Main Centre, was at first sad when he heard the announcement.
After some consideration he actually feels Wall’s decision makes sense, because it will give the party’s new leader some time to settle into the position.
“He’s done a terrific job of running this province,” he said. “I am so proud of him, and it’s not just me as a Saskatchewanite, but there’s people from other provinces who wish they could have had him as their premier, but anyways, that’s what it is.”
Swift Current and District Chamber of Commerce CEO Karla Wiens said Wall’s announcement was unexpected.
“On behalf of the Swift Current and District Chamber, I would like to express our thanks to Premier Wall for his years of service that he has provided, both as MLA and the premier of our province, and we wish him and his family all the best going forward,” she explained.
Businesses will follow events in the months ahead to see what will happen as a result of this announcement.
“I would think the business community will be fully supportive of any provincial government that creates an environment that’s conducive to the expansion of business in any way, shape or fashion,” she said. “It’s about creating an environment that attracts and is conducive to business in Saskatchewan.”
Swift Current Mayor Denis Perrault expressed appreciation towards Wall for his service to the province.
“I am so thankful for everything he has given up, the fact that he has commuted from Swift Current to Regina on a weekly basis is remarkable and it’s absolute sacrifice, and I’m very thankful that we had somebody represent our city and our province as well as he did,” he said. “I wish him and his family all the best in whatever the next chapter is for them.”
He feels Wall will leave a legacy of growth, improved trade relationships and a positive image of Saskatchewan.
“He has worked very hard to get our products to market,” he said. “He has gone on a lot of trade missions across the world in order to sell our goods, he’s gone down to the United States a number of times to work together with Washington to make sure that we have successful trade with our biggest trading partner.”
A number of significant capital projects took place in the Swift Current area during Wall’s tenure as MLA and premier.
“While he was the MLA representing the Swift Current constituency, we saw a new hospital, two new schools, a long-term care facility, and just recently a combined cycle natural gas facility,” Perrault said. “It will be the biggest project our city has ever seen. ... We’re very thankful for those things. We’re very thankful to have had a very positive working relationship with our provincial counterpart.”
The City’s intention will be to continue that positive relationship with the province and elected representatives in the future.
“Whoever that next leader is or whoever our next MLA is for Swift Current, I’m going to work hard to build on those relationships to make sure that we have good representation at the political table for Swift Current, but furthermore — every level of government needs to work together and Premier Wall has done a great job of that with us here in Swift Current,” he said.

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Matthew Liebenberg


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