Premier Brad Wall has announced his retirement.
He will remain premier until a next Saskatchewan Party leader is chosen but currently there is no timeline for that.
Wall maintained after 10 years it is time for renewal.
Despite the current deficit situation, Wall said he believes he leaves behind a solid legacy of population growth, infrastructure building and the advancement of the energy sector.
First elected in 1999, Wall became premier in his first election win in 2007 and has remained in the top job since then.
In the 2011 election, Wall’s government won with 64 per cent of the popular vote and 49 of the 58 seats in the legislature.
The last election, Wall won 51 of the 61 seats in the newly expanded legislature, and 62 per cent of the vote. However, he saw his popularity decline in light of the deficit. Wall still remains the most popular premier.
This marked the first time since 1925 that a party other than the NDP/CCF won a third consecutive majority mandate.
The full transcript of Wall’s announcement can be found below.
Brad Wall timeline
Wall was born in Swift Current on Nov. 24, 1965. After completing a public administration degree at the U of S, he went to Ottawa in the 1980s where he worked as a political staffer for Geoff Wilson, Progressive Conservative MP for Swift Current-Maple Creek.
Wall returned to Saskatchewan after Premier Grant Devine won his second in 1986. Wall served as an assistant to various Devine government cabinet ministers.
Wall’s first bid in politics was unsuccessful as he eyed up a spot as PC candidate for MLA in Swift Current in the 1991 provincial election. Wall then worked in various business for much of the 1990s, becoming economic development director for the City of Swift Current and started the Last Stand Adventure Company tourism business.
Wall returned to politics in 1997, founding the Saskatchewan Party. He was named the party’s candidate for Swift Current, winning the seat in the 1999 provincial election.
Wall was re-elected in 2003 as MLA for Swift Current. He succeeded Elwin Hermanson as the party leader in 2004. He then guided the Sask. Party to the largest popular vote share in the province’s history with a landslide majority government win in 2011, capturing 64 per cent of the popular vote.
Wall then led the Sask. Party to a third consecutive majority government in the 2016 provincial election, capturing 63 per cent of the popular vote.
Statement from Premier Brad Wall
The following is a transcript of his video statement:
This November will mark 10 years since I had the incredible honour of being elected as Premier of this wonderful province that I love. I’ve always thought that the 10 year mark – should I be so fortunate to serve that long – might be the right time to reevaluate.
Together with Tami, I have decided that now is the time for renewal – for my party, for the government, for the province. It’s time for me to retire from politics.
And so I’ve asked the Saskatchewan Party to begin the process of electing a new leader, who will become the next Premier. I’ll continue to serve as Premier until the new leader is chosen.
And until then, there’s still a lot of work to do. And we carry out that work in a Saskatchewan much stronger after a decade of growth.
It’s easy to forget how things were in the province just 10 years ago. Remember the questions we used to ask?
Could our population get over and stay over a million people? Could we put an end to the near certainty that young people would look first to some place outside of Saskatchewan for their future? And why, in a province as blessed with resources and amazing and innovative people as ours, would we have the worst job creation record in all of Canada, as we did just 10 years ago?
Well, we came to office, some said naively, with a vision and a plan for growth, seeking to put an end to these questions, together with you, the people of Saskatchewan.
We set a goal of seeing Saskatchewan grow by 100,000 people in 10 years. Some called that impossible.
Saskatchewan has now grown by 160,000 people during our decade of growth. We are only 40 thousand short of 1.2 million people.
Today, there are over 67,000 more jobs in the province than there were 10 years ago. And instead of the worst job creation record, Saskatchewan has had Canada’s second-best job creation record during our decade of growth.
And we don’t ask those questions anymore.
Growth is the new normal in this province. 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.
Legislative and regulatory improvements to the business climate have helped. Lower income taxes, lower small and large business taxes, lower education property taxes, have all helped create the Saskatchewan advantage, and a decade of growth.
And together, we have invested the dividends of growth to improve the lives of Saskatchewan people.
We have built and repaired a record number of highway kilometres. We have built 40 new and replacement schools and hired 850 more teachers to instruct a growing number of students. We’ve been building long-term care facilities and a new Children’s Hospital, and a new psychiatric hospital.
We have taken the longest surgical wait times in Canada 10 years ago and transformed them into among the shortest in Canada with the help of 750 more doctors, 3,000 more nurses of every designation that have we have hired, and with the help of innovations like private surgical clinics.
And we have remembered those most vulnerable during our decade of growth – doubling supports for people with disabilities, tripling the income assistance program for low income seniors and removing 114,000 low-income people from the tax rolls completely through our income reductions.
We’ve also made mistakes. I have made mistakes. And yes, there is still much to do.
But those fundamental questions about the future viability of the province we all love? After this decade of growth, we don’t ask them anymore.
Saskatchewan is growing and vibrant and strong. And I will be forever grateful that I had the opportunity to play some small part in all of that.
As for today, our plan to get the budget back to balance and to reduce our dependence on resource revenue is on track. Here again we have a foundation upon which to build. Provincial credit ratings are higher than they were when we were elected 10 years ago, there’s less operating debt and we have the second-lowest debt-to-GDP ratio among all the provinces.
This decade of growth truly is a strong foundation upon which to build.
I believe, though, that to best ensure continued success in that work, Saskatchewan needs renewal, a fresh perspective in leadership.
This was such a difficult decision to make. It is hard to lay this duty down, to retire from what has been and what will always be the honour of my working life.
But it is time.
So I leave you with something you will hear me oft repeat in the months ahead and for rest of my life.
Thank you Saskatchewan.