There is mixed local reaction to the resignation of Saskatchewan’s premier. Brad Wall announced his retirement Thursday, after a decade in office.
“It’s time for me and my family to do something else,” the premier said.
Wall will stay on until his successor is chosen. Member of Parliament for Prince Albert, Randy Hoback, said Wall will leave big shoes to fill.
“I’m sure there are lots of good individuals who can take on the role… but they won’t be Brad Wall,” Hoback said. “They’ll bring in different sets of strength and will be equally as effective… if they have the right policies.”
Hoback praised Wall for being an exceptional spokesperson for the province across Canada and internationally. “I’ve heard him talk to bankers in a language bankers would understand and I’ve heard him talk to farmers in a language farmers would understand. He did his job really, really well,” Hoback said.
The Mayor of Prince Albert was surprised by Wall’s announcement.
“I was also surprised he was stepping down as MLA. So, he is totally leaving politics,” said Greg Dionne.
The mayor hoped any headway he had made with the premier in campaigning for a new hospital in Prince Albert won’t be lost with Wall’s departure.
“He said the last time he was here, during the election, he believes [the hospital] should be funded by the province. So, that’s a concern because I am trying to get a new hospital and I campaigned on that,” Dionne said. “But I think [Wall] passed that information onto caucus and onto the Health Minister so they know that he said that. Of course, having a cabinet minister, Joe Hargrave, at the table really help us too. So, that message will be consistent and carried on.”
Nicole Rancourt, New Democrat MLA for Prince Albert Carlton, said despite a difference of political opinions, she credits Wall with what she called a ‘challenging job’ and thanked him for his years of public service.
“Having said that, we also know there has been a lot of devastating impacts to the province and I don’t think a lot has been done for the Prince Albert area. So, it is bittersweet seeing him go.”
The MLA for Prince Albert Carlton, Joe Hargrave, had mixed emotions on Wall’s resignation.
“I feel sad for myself and the rest of the MLA’s because we have had such a tremendous leader,” Hargrave said. “I feel happy for the premier. It’s a tough job and he has been doing a tremendous job for 10 years.”
Public reaction to Wall’s resignation has also been mixed. Some critics blasted his departure as a retreat from an austerity budget announced in March. Wall said he’s leaving his party and the province in a position of strength.
“We’re starting to see signs of recovering in the economy,” he said. “Do I wish the budget was balanced? Yeah, of course… and we’re going to get there,” Wall said.
The premier said the timing of his decision was meant to give his replacement a chance to work with people in the province and across Canada. “It gives the next person – the next leader and premier – the chance to connect with people,” Wall noted, adding the next provincial election is more than three years away.
The Saskatchewan Party must now pick a new leader. The process of how that will be done will be decided in the next 30 days.
On Twitter: @TeenaMonteleone
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