08.10.2017 11:08 AM

Brad Wall resigns

Me, Brad Wall and Lisa in his office just a few days ago.

A huge loss to Saskatchewan and Canada. The most popular politician in the country leaves as he is about celebrate his tenth year. 

When Lisa and I were with him – he gave us a personal tour of the legislature – we were struck by how honoured he was, still, to serve his province. 

We need more like him. Very sad to see him go. 

30 Comments

  1. Sean Cummings says:

    He’s had a terrible year and numerous bad decisions (GTH scandal) have caught up with him. As soon as Grant Devine was appointed to the UofS board, I thought Wall might be moving on. Sad to see him go but life is too short

  2. Mike Adamson says:

    It’s important to separate the man from his policies but there can be no question that his policies have hurt the people of Saskatchewan and will continue to do so for years to come. I’m not sorry to see him go, no matter how honourable he is.

    • Sean Cummings says:

      I live in Saskatoon. Overall, my view is that his policies have helped the province immeasurably, but, like all governments of every political stripe in this country, scandals happen, mistakes happen. Some people think he is political Jesus, you clearly think he is the political anti-Christ. There are 1.2 million people in the province now, that happened under Wall’s watch. I moved from Calgary to Saskatoon with my wife under Wall’s watch because there were (and still are) huge opportunities in Saskatchewan. Were he to have stayed on, he would have likely won another term in office. So, I do disagree with you that he has hurt the people in the province. What he has been very successful at doing is showing Saskatchewan that there are other political options beside a tired, anti-free enterprise, bereft of vision provincial NDP.

    • Steve T says:

      Please explain how his policies have hurt the province. From what I’ve seen, he was forced to play adult-in-the-room, after years of NDP freewheeling spending and anti-prosperity measures.

      We have a similar situation here in Manitoba. The NDP put our province in a huge debt hole, and made numerous bad financial decisions just to keep their union cronies happy, and satisfy the “I want something for nothing” crowd. Now we’ve got a government who is doing some belt-tightening, and the squeaking from the usual crowd has commenced. Sorry, but someone has to be the grown-up, and tell the kids they can’t eat candy all day long.

      • Mike Adamson says:

        I don’t doubt that he’s a good man but kowtowing to the private sector and gawdawful P3 partnerships simply doesn’t work. Moderation in all things and a prudent mixed approach to the economy will weather most storms. Ask the property tax payers in Regina how they’re feeling these days. Same as it ever was, I’m afraid.

        • Sean Cummngs says:

          Show me any politician who has left office without someone saying their policies hurt someone else and I will show you a bald headed sheep. P-3 exists all across Canada. It’s a convenient way for government to create new infratstructure without having to rely on the tax base because someone else is carrying the cost of building. I’m not opposed to it. I think most folks aren’t opposed either. I’m a taxpayer in Saskatoon. Am I happy about this year’s budget? Nope, it was a terrible budget. It shows the Wall government got itself in a hell of a mess by latching their economic hopes onto the back of oil and gas and potash. There is a deficit – just like there is a huge deficit federally and yet the Prime Minister is wildly popular and ran on a policy of deficit spending. What Wall did was that he decided to bring the province back to surplus instead of living with deficit spending as the federal Liberals and closer to home the Alberta NDP government has done. It was a painful budget but I guarantee you that provincial tax will be back down to 5% before the next election and the province will be back to budget surplus. Yes, wall could have done as Alberta has done or how the ferderal Liberals have done, deficit spending. Most reasonable people, I suspect, want to return to a budget surplus so while this austerity budget is a pain in the ass, it’s better than doing the deficit spending dance until the cows come home. No, I think Wall will go down as a giant in Saskatchewan politics. Most importantly, he broke the back of the NDP and showed people there is an alternative.

          • doconnor says:

            P3s are a convenient way of paying the private sector a premium to hold the debt for infrastructure to make it look like you have a surplus. Because you still have to make the payments, it effects your credit rating just the same.

  3. Richard Fromm says:

    He is a great leader and an honourable man. It is amazing how the province has changed in 10 years under his leadership.

    It will be interesting to watch who steps forward to fill the leadership void.

  4. Miles Lunn says:

    I too think he was a very good premier. Yes his recent budget made some tough decisions that angered a lot but you can take action on the deficit now and have some short term pain or like Notley next door ignore it and take much greater pain further down the road so he made the difficult but right decision. I also think resigning now is a good time as generally after 10 years it is good to get someone new. Gary Doer and Frank McKenna followed this precedent so I think it is a good one to follow.

  5. P. Brenn says:

    seemed like reasonable man …I agree need more like him ..cannot spend more than take in forever – so had guts to make tough calls in this day when folks want government to be all things to all people – unaffordable – and end up being lousy at many things…

  6. Ronald O'Dowd says:

    Warren,

    Politics shouldn’t be at its base a popularity contest. Wall was an exemplary public servant. He also was able to take decisions that others might not have had the guts to, or who would be first in line to disagree with him.

    His contribution to Saskatchewan and Canada is a great one.

    And yes, until my dying day, I will disagree with Wall about a carbon tax. LOL.

    There has to be something better than being premier for Wall — and I, for one, am sure that he will find it. Good Luck to him.

  7. Doug Brown says:

    He does the right thing with an austerity budget and the electorate turns against him. Sad commentary on the state of Canadian politics when the electorate can’t handle the truth that government borrowing during a time of stagnant productivity growth, falling workforce participation and aging demographics can only lead to disaster. Long gone are the days when government spending can boost GDP growth.

    Wall at least has the instincts to know when to move on. He will do well in whatever comes next, but Western Canada is left with its weakest leadership in several generations, if not ever.

    • Miles Lunn says:

      I think it’s generational as unfortunately far too many millennials (I am sort of a millennial or on the very tail being born in 1981) are used to having everything given to them so when someone takes it away they complain. By contrast the silent generation was greatly influenced by the Great Depression and WWII and thus understood the purpose of living within one’s means and as they die off unfortunately that attitude will too. Just look at the US in the Democrat primary and last UK election. Hillary Clinton had a moderate sensible progressive balanced plan while Bernie Sanders had a pie in the sky plan that was not affordable yet the millennials backed Sanders overwhelmingly and when he didn’t win many stayed home allowing Trump to win. Across the pond, Labour under Corbyn got under 20% of the senior’s vote which is the worst ever showing amongst seniors for Labour (even worse than Michael Foot in 1983), but got over 60% of the millennial vote which is the best ever Labour showing amongst younger voters (even more than Tony Blair got amongst the 18-30 crowd when he won his three majorities) and the reason is most older Brits understood how ridiculous and unaffordable Corbyn’s plans were and even Tony Blair who is no fan of the Tories called Corbyn’s economic plan dangerous, while the younger one’s loved his big spending plan without thinking how it would be paid for. I fear in much of the West things are going to have to get really bad before they get better. I hope I am wrong, but have reason for pessimism.

      • PaulM says:

        Not really a millennial thing. Try cutting budgets for teachers or nurses, or (most especially) scaling back programs and funding for seniors. The same people who pine for austerity measures when times are good are the exact same folks that cry for blood if you even float the idea of cuts or service reductions that impact them.

      • Doug Brown says:

        Wall’s relatively moderate austerity budget would barely have impacted Millennials as they aren’t likely to use STC or hold public servant jobs. I attribute Wall’s downfall mostly to smear tactics by the public sector unions. They are truely the largest impediment to progress in Canada at this point in time.

        • Miles Lunn says:

          True public sector unions are a problem, but I just know from polling much of the recent shift to the left comes from the silent generation shrinking in size and the millennials growing. It’s true the public sector unions have long been a problem and it is too bad they aren’t more cooperative in trying to work with the government to balance the budget since if they worked cooperatively they might be able to find ways to make the necessary cuts and minimize the impact. Certainly in Ontario they’ve helped re-elect the OLP and no doubt in Alberta they will spend big bucks to get the NDP back and probably here in BC (at least unlike other provinces business fights back here to counter public sector unions).

  8. JH says:

    Still leaves with a popularity rating of 45% or thereabouts. Highest of premiers & something most other pols would give their eye teeth for.

  9. Kelly says:

    Easy to be popular and balance the budget when prices for all major commodities hit generational highs during your first couple of terms. Not surprising that as a Conservative he then spent all the money right now without saving a penny and now has to make savage cuts. A real conservative like Alan Blakeney or Roy Romano would actually save the money in order to even out the economic cycle. But Conservatives think that tax cuts lead to economic growth when all they do is shift spending to private spending rather than spending on public goods first. Wall doesn’t get that. He was a policy advisor to Grant Devine. It’s Deja vu.

    Was he an honest guy? Yeah, probably, but having grown up in Saskatchewan I can tell you that because of its weather and geographhy it will always ever be an economy based on primary industries. It will always be exploited unless the government is activist and people only survive by cooperating, not by competing with each other. Saskatchewanians are learning that again, as they seem to have to after every period of Conservative government.

    • Miles Lunn says:

      Big government does not create a stronger economy. That is what Quebec and the Atlantic provinces have done for years and now Ontario and BC back in the 90s. Public spending while necessary to some degree is not the way to improve the economy. The private sector is more innovative and tends to respond quicker to changes while the public sector is often slow and bureaucratic. The public sector should stick to things the private sector cannot do, not try to do everything as that just creates more problems down the road. On taxes, actually it was Romanow who cut the top rate to 15% to remain competitive with Alberta who had the 10% flat tax rate, although Wall is further cutting it but only by 1% and he is cutting all brackets rather than raising like elsewhere. Cooperation sounds good, but competition is what creates growth which is why socialism never works while countries with free markets work best. To help those left behind you have a free market system with a strong social safety net which asides from the US pretty much every Western liberal democracy has.

  10. James Smith says:

    He wasn’t my cup of tea, but he was successful. Having Oil revenue can help on that front, after all Stockwell Day was seen as a very successful minister of finance in ALTA, so there’s that. For me looking at him from afar I found him doctrinaire in a petty kind of way, closing the provincial educational TV station early on for example or the bus company lately. While not a climate change denier per se he was a skeptic of actually doing anything about climate change.

    So as David Letterman has said lately ” If you’re going to retire to spend more time with the family; maybe you should check with them first.”

  11. Bill Malcolm says:

    Egad! A veritable saint has been discovered in Sakatchewan. And it turns out to have been an obdurate man of stolid 1910 imagination! This follows the discovery of another selfless saint out in Bee Sea willing to change with the winds to keep denizens free of progressive thought. Two incomparable bundles of wonderfulness from Western Canada and both existing at the same time, no less. Who’da thunk it?

    It’s customary to write well of the departed. Let me not pile on.

  12. Moose says:

    Under his leadership the province subsidized the fossil fuel industry massively, while being harsh on social services and running a big deficit, Moody’s downgraded Saskatchewan’s credit rating while he bloviated against other provinces fiscal plans, the “right” minded big media doesn’t report much of this particularly the Moody’s assessment so to quote mark twain…. it is easier to fool people than to convince them they have been fooled

    • James Smith says:

      Well put.

    • Doug Brown says:

      Reality check: Under Wall’s leadership, SK’s O&G industry finally lived up to its potential but overly generous settlements with public service providers set the Province up for future deficits when resource revenues declined. SK overfunds socials services, not as bad as AB, but still far above the Canadian average.

      • Moose says:

        Doug: I read all yer comments on this short piece, every time you just union bash, perhaps this is a bit myopic even hateful, what put this burr up your bum because you really ought to try and expand your perspectives… after a dozen years of Wall we got deficits, debt and a worse credit rating, that is your reality check, blame unions if you want but the cognoscenti knows better

        • Mike Adamson says:

          Right wing governments in Saskatchewan always leave with deficits, debt and lowered credit ratings, not to mention the odd conviction or two. It’s almost as if conservatives aren’t necessarily better stewards of the economy than progressives. Shocking, I know.

  13. Lyndon Dunkley says:

    The negative comments here remind that of all the provinces that I have lived in, Saskatchewan suffers the worst from tall poppy syndrome.

  14. Doug Brown says:

    Stockwell Day’s greatest success was in Labour, not Finance. He negotiated across the board 5% salary reductions without any strike action. As I stated in an earlier post, managing the public sector union vampire is the biggest challenge faced by government and few politicians seem up to the job.

  15. Eric Weiss says:

    People don’t have to agree with everything he stood for, and still acknowledge that he held his office with class and honour, and did what he thought was best for his province.

  16. Nomen Clatu says:

    . . . setting aside the fact he’s looked sick in the photos over the past six months, if he’s resigning due to downturns in the economy, that’s just a spineless and weak action.

    The fact is Saskatchewan is in real trouble economically. Brad Wall is just a footnote and two-time contributor to that reality – primarily through his incessant one-trick-pony in the form of persistent encouragement of market mania. What ended up happening, instead of real and solid economic growth and confidence in Saskatchewan, was every little piker sitting on city councils began a spending spree that would make Toronto and Vancouver blush with shame.

    Attempting to outspend cities with budgets in the three-to-five billion dollar range, is not only the stupidest thing Regina and Saskatoon Council members have ever done but it has now created billion dollar, plus, deficits that starting in 2018 will officially become a Recession, followed two years later by what will inevitably become an official economic Depression that makes the Dirty-30s look like a family outing to Disney World to take the edge off the daily grind; this will drag the rest of Canada down with it.

    So go ahead and vote pretty-boy or girl, depending on your choice of economic lever to destruction – but while the party insiders climb over each other in an attempt to reach the coming vacant top of the pile, real economic change will die a horrible death at the feet of who hates the other party more.

    Neither GTH nor the impending Wall/Boyd discussion is the future problem of Saskatchewan – and unless politicos and pundits wake up and grow up, they’ll be increasingly talking to future residents of Ontario, BC and Quebec.

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