Skip to content

SaskParty reflects on successes as it moves to convention

The Saskatchewan Party will be holding a leadership convention on January 27, 2018 to select a new leader following the announcement by Premier Brad Wall that he is stepping down as premier and leaving political life.
premier brad wall

The Saskatchewan Party will be holding a leadership convention on January 27, 2018 to select a new leader following the announcement by Premier Brad Wall that he is stepping down as premier and leaving political life. While the party must move on and plan the election of its next leader, many in the province are still processing Premier Wall’s departure and his legacy.
The Assiniboia Times spoke with the Hon. David Marit, MLA for Wood River who is also Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, about Premier Wall’s achievements.
Marit is serving his first term as an MLA and was tapped last summer to join the Cabinet as Highways Minister. “I was honoured and humbled to be named to Premier Brad Wall’s Cabinet,” he said, surprised to be chosen.
The Wood River representative’s new post allowed him to work with the premier more closely and to see that he truly cares about the people of Saskatchewan. “That’s what made him so popular,” Marit noted about Premier Wall’s down-to-earth personality and family values. “He never forgot where he came from and who he was.”
Reflecting on how the premier’s leadership decisions have benefited the southern Saskatchewan region, he gives the example of the severe drought issues in the southwest back in 2007-2008. The SaskParty designated this a priority issue and had developed the Farm and Ranch Water Infrastructure Program. It alleviated pressure for towns and helped to capture spring runoff. The program is still in place and can be used during this drought year if needed.
Since 2007, the SaskParty has worked on building up infrastructure in the south. The highway network has been improved, new hospitals were built in Swift Current and Moose Jaw, and a new school was built in Gravelbourg, to name a few. Marit also listed a number of behind the scenes benefits that the public does not notice. Personal income tax was reduced, the corporate tax structure was changed and low income benefits were implemented.
Marit points out that under the premier’s tenure, the population grew to over 1.1 million residents. He attributes this achievement partly to the implementation of the graduate retention program to help young people stay in the province. And a lot of former Saskatchewan residents are returning. “That’s a great Saskatchewan story,” the MLA added. More jobs and an economic revival in key sectors such as oil and potash has also aided the growth. He commented on the building of two new potash mines.
The SaskParty has created the policies for economic growth and has allowed industry to drive itself. Few in the province realize that while the rest of the world was struggling after a global economic crash in 2008, Saskatchewan was experiencing an economic upswing.
Furthermore, the province under Premier Wall has been able to negotiate the recent global resource revenue crunch remarkably better than other countries and other provinces. While this past spring’s budget was a tough one, the SaskParty hopes that the public will also recognize that the government has a plan to get the budget balanced within three years.
Part of the SaskParty’s formula has been to diversify the economy, especially in agriculture. “We don’t sell our province enough to ourselves,” the Wood River MLA noted.
Other countries are certainly taking notice of Saskatchewan products. Saskatchewan offers global customers good prices and good quality products. “We are the number one customer for India,” Marit added.
The province is also a major manufacturer of tillage equipment. “The world is coming to our province now,” he noted. “We have three things the world wants – fuel, fertilizer and food,” said Marit, noting that the province grows safe food. Saskatchewan is an economically stable province in a safe country. This is attractive for long term investment by foreign buyers. As a result, producers are adding more value to their products. Looking back over the decade, it is amazing to see that provincial exports now total $20 billion.
The next step for the SaskParty will be to elect a new leader and build on this record. The new leader will be elected through a one-member, one-vote voting system. The party also released its campaign rules. A by-election would be needed if Premier Wall steps down as MLA.