His fierce opposition to Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton’s hostile
takeover bid for Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan in 2010 made him a folk hero of
sorts. More recently, he has been an ardent champion of pipeline projects that
would connect Canada’s crude oil to global markets.
REGINA — One of Canada’s most high-profile premiers who rose to national prominence for his down-to-earth style, sharp wit and, more recently, his willingness to lock horns with Ottawa is retiring from politics after a decade in office.
Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall, who is 51, said he made the decision at the end of June after talking it over with his wife Tami. “I think renewal will be good for the province. I think renewal and a different perspective will be good for the government. I think renewal will be good for my party as well,” he said Thursday.
“Whatever I do after this — and I currently have no leads or prospects — this job will be the honour of my working life.” Wall said he will stay on as premier and Swift Current member of the legislature until his successor is chosen in a leadership race.
Wall and his Saskatchewan Party have won three consecutive provincial elections, taking more than half of the popular vote each time. The party, which formed 20 years ago out of an alliance of disaffected Tories and Liberals, swept 51 of 61 seats in 2016.
Wall routinely places high in opinion polls ranking the country’s most popular premiers and his knack for the zinger soundbite has made him a national political figure. “I hesitate to use the term cult of personality, but certainly when you think of the Sask. Party today, you automatically go to Mr. Wall,” said University of Saskatchewan political scientist Charles Smith.
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