It’s the end of a political era in Saskatchewan today, as Brad Wall took his seat in the legislature as premier for the final time.
Wall became leader of the Saskatchewan Party in 2004, and was first elected premier in 2007.
He is the only political leader in the province to win three consecutive elections.
It was a lively final session but in the end Wall received praise from both his fellow party members and the official Opposition.
Former Deputy Premier and long time colleague of Wall’s Don McMorris says many thanks need’s to go out to Wall’s family, who also made many sacrifices over the years for the people of the province.
“I just want to thank the kids and Tammy because it’s not always about the person being there, it’s about the sacrifice that they give,” McMorris said. “There’s lots of positives in the job but it’s not very easy when you’re a loved one.”
Interim leader of the Opposition NDP Nicole Sarauer says no matter what the people of Saskatchewan have also been able to trust and rely on Wall.
“The Premier has the ability to adapt, evolve and always connect in formidable ways,” Sarauer stated. “He buys fancy cars but still comes across as a man of the people.”
“A Difficult Job to Fill Those Shoes”
Yorkton Mayor Bob Maloney says Wall’s departure will be felt in the corridors of power at the Legislature.
“I know there’s candidates in place that are going to be looking to do that but running a province, and being a premier, is an incredibly difficult job – it’s one I wouldn’t want.” Maloney admitted.
But overall, he says he had a good working relationship with Wall during his 10 years as premier on several important files.
“The need for infrastructure regrowth (is) always important, and revenue sharing (is) a big piece of that. We’ve had great cooperation on that front and we hope to seeing that continue.” said the Mayor.
But with anything, Maloney says there will always be room for improvement.
“Small communities do a lot of things. I know when we look at projects, our Dracup flood project in Yorkton – a $20-million dollar project – that we accomplished without help from provincial and federal government,” He explained. “I think in some respects we do need more help in areas like that.”
“A really special all around guy”
Yorkton MLA Greg Ottenbreit has worked with Wall since 2007, and says the one thing he’ll miss when Brad Wall retires is his humble form of leadership.
“Without a doubt the most amazing I’ve ever met,” Ottenbreit boldly said. “With the skill set that he has and his ability to build relationships and even publicly to communicate with people — just a really special all-around guy.”
As a person Ottenbreit says he is second-to-none the nicest guy you will ever meet.
“Even as busy as he is as Premier of the province, taking the time to know what’s going on in a personal member’s family, whether it’s their children, their parents or maybe your own health issues, he’s usually on top of what’s going on,” the SaskParty MLA said.
“And I think that’s why he’s so popular is because you can’t fake that, he’s just a genuine caring person.”
At the end of another session, Premier Brad Wall rose to speak one last time, and right off the bat, thanked others before speaking about himself.
Wall says he knows the last 18 years are the best he will ever have when it comes to his professional life.
“I’ve been humbled and blessed with the honour of my working life, the best jobs that I will ever have no matter what’s next.” Wall said.
Wall added giving up his name for a title was more than a fair trade.
“The bargin, the deal, the transaction is more than fair. It was more than fair 18 years ago, I wanted that trade, and I will always treasure it.” he said.
His successor will be chosen January 27, 2018.
(With files from CKRM Regina)