Thursday, 07 April 2016 07:02

Complacency is only current formidable foe for Wall, Sask. Party

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In Brad Wall’s acceptance speech in his home of Swift Current, and not in the provincial capital of Regina where the provincial media is based, the southwest Sask. MLA and now soon to be third-term premier expressed his love and gratitude to his family, his parents, and showed special admiration to his mom Alice.

During the campaign, he showed up to a political rally driving himself in a truck wearing cowboy boots. He will do selfies, although thankfully not to the ridiculous level of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, and is active on social media. Unabashedly cheers for the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Politically he scores voters’ points with his very public criticism of those political leaders who are not doing what he feels they can be to protect the petroleum industry.
All of this makes him ridiculously popular in his hometown of Swift Current and obviously the first choice of the voters who gave him a 51 out of 61-seat mandate.
He is the envy of provincial premiers across the country who watch as the Saskatchewan premier is the most popular premier in Canada year after year.
Considering the state of the global economy and especially compared to the province to the west of it, Saskatchewan is doing relatively well. Personally for him, what’s there left to accomplish? There it is, that’s the question and the challenge.
Wall acknowledged the fact the Sask. Party will not take a day for granted and they still have to earn every minute of their election landslide win. Complacency has to set in — doesn’t it?
The Saskatchewan Party steamroller squashed everyone in its path except for the usual suspects in staunch NDP territory: the north and select urban ridings. NDP leader Cam Broten lost his seat also and the opposition party is in a state of turmoil.
A one-sided mandate with little resistance: a recipe for disaster and downfall of many governments (hello, Alberta Progressive Conservatives). While it’s unfair to compare the level of success Peter Lougheed, Ralph Klein et al enjoyed for more than four decades, it is fair to say by the time Jim Prentice rolled around, there was a high level of self entitlement which Wall has to ensure his Sask. Party doesn’t fall victim to.
Maintaining humility would be hard when the national media including MacLeans write stories on him  and he is featured in national news reports. In fact, veteran CTV host and commentator Tom Clark called Wall the most influential right-wing political figure in Canada, and that Wall should now be considered “a historic figure in Saskatchewan.” He is still mentioned as a frontrunner for the federal Progressive Conservative leadership even though he has declined before.
With all of this, will Wall become a victim of his own success? If he can still be humble and remember his roots that would be an accomplishment in itself and it would speak volumes of his character.
It would be incredibly naive and unrealistically optimistic to think Wall doesn’t have detractors. There is criticism about fiscal mismanagement; that there was no budget released prior to the election; issues with the Regina-area overpass; and there is perhaps jealousy within his premier brethren, mostly due to petroleum issues.
Wall was critical of Quebec who blocked the building of a pipeline to eastern Canada and of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s perceived unwillingness to do more for the oil sector.
The observation has been made the only reason the Saskatchewan Party stays popular is because of Wall’s folksy charm. No debate about it being a key to Saskatchewan Party’s popularity, but for critics to label that as a flaw have forgotten how popular Klein, Peter Lougheed or even Allan Blakeney in his early years were and what it meant to their parties.
Undoubtedly the Sask. Party will rue the day if voters ever “fell out of like” with Wall.
If the government shows they are fighting to better the province, not taking anything for granted, or forget who got them there, they could be there for a long time.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor