Campaign trail begins as Wall selected as first SaskParty candidate

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Premier Brad Wall kicked off a long series of SaskParty nominating meetings by being acclaimed on March 20 as the party's nominated candidate in the Swift Current constituency.

Saskatchewan Party leader Premier Brad Wall has kicked off a busy series of SaskParty nominating meetings by being acclaimed on March 20 as the party's nominated candidate in the Swift Current constituency.

Wall continued his tradition of begin the first nominated SaskParty candidate as the SaskParty begins to get organized politically for the next provincial election expected in 2016. The SaskParty will be holding an additional 60 nominating meeting across the province this year, including a scheduled 10 during April.

First elected in 1999, Wall will be seeking his third mandate as Saskatchewan's Premier, and he highlighted there is still work to be done both in Swift Current and in Saskatchewan.

"Really we've got to make sure we get that long term care centre built and completed here. This is going to be a special place. We've had the front line staff involved, in part by the way because of LEAN, which has gotten some attention lately. We've had the front line staff helping to design it. I think it's the right size in terms of beds," Wall said on Thursday after his nomination meeting at the Home Inn and Suites.

"I think there's some other important developments in healthcare that can happen here. There are other important infrastructure project I'd like to be a part of as the MLA working with the City of Swift Current. There are some Economic Development related things that might come down the road, I'd like to be a part of those as well."

Wall also pointed to the growth opportunities in the Southwest he would like to see continue.

"I think there's still a great deal of opportunity in the oil and gas side in the Southwest. Some of the new technologies are really opening up these fields that have already been producing for a long time, but tighter plays that can perhaps even produce a little bit more in the right conditions," Wall said during in nomination meeting address. "Agriculture is a rock star in the economy today - if we could just get the grain moving to port to our customers. And that'll come. But we've seen agriculture and the ascendancy here not just because of commodity prices, but farmers and ranchers are just getting better and better and better at what they do. The best in the world and that means yields are better and our production's better. So I'd like to be a part of creating the right environment for agriculture to continue to lead as it is."

Wall's nomination meeting came a day after the provincial budget was tabled, and he reflected that his government continues to pave the way for growth in Saskatchewan.

"I think the province is on the right track now. Credit the people of Saskatchewan, but the province is on the right track. We want to do what we can to create the right environment for growth. But also remember that the reason for growth in the first place is so that we can have a broad enough tax base to invest in people, to improve quality of life. And that will be the formula that we're going to work on until the people say that they've had enough of us."

"Some even said about the budget it seemed a little boring and predictable. And I said that's a good thing. If steady growth is becoming predictable and the norm in the province, I'll take it. If balanced budgets are the norm, but ones that still make strategic investments in people and healthcare and education and the disabled, if that's the norm, I'll take it. "There's probably not going to be a lot of new. If people are thinking that the Saskatchewan Party is going to promise a completely different set of ideas, they might be disappointed."

This was also the first Saskatchewan budget presented with a summary focus, as recommended by the Provincial Auditor

"The Auditor has wanted us to go to this, and now we have and I think people are realizing well that's a lot of information. We've got to make sure we're reporting the specifics so they'll know are we managing the money like we should be and how much is going into these specific areas."

"Obviously that's a bigger picture, but maybe not as clear on the specifics of is money coming into the government equal to going out. In other words is the operational account balanced."

Wall told the crowd of 50 people at his nominating meeting that Saskatchewan's growth agenda is reflected in the fact the province has grown to a record 1,117,503 population, and many other economic and manufacturing benchmarks are trending upward.

"I hope we're not becoming numb to these statistics. I hope we're not getting complacent because we've seen all of this growth in all of these categories for a long time. And I hope we're not getting too impatient with some of the challenges of growth."

He also explained that government has a responsibility for setting the right tone for growth. The SaskParty has taken steps to make sure Saskatchewan's labour legislative environment is competitive with other jurisdictions, and Saskatchewan's regulatory environment also needs to be competitive. There is also a growing importance to developing the province's innovation and knowledge economy.

"The cornerstone of our growth plan is fiscal probity," Wall highlighted. "The most successful economies, whether they're sub national, provincial or a state or a country, are those economies whose governments, whatever their stripe, execute the fundamentals of fiscal responsibility. Don't borrow to pay for your operating costs. Deficit financing is sometimes recommended by economists. They'll say 'well, you might need it to do stimulus.' The problem is, it isn't economists that have to balances the books later on, it's politicians."

"It's best to avoid the temptation in the first place and not borrow to pay the operating bills of the government. Fiscal responsibility."

"If you saw the budget yesterday, that was a hallmark of the budget we presented. There were no tax increases. We balanced the budget because we made some difficult and challenging decisions on the expenditure side."

Wall, who noted in his address to the audience that he had aspirations to represent Swift Current politically since he was in grade school, does not want to play a different political role.

"I have the best job in Canada. People have been saying 'well, would you ever want to run in federal politics?' And I say to them, only a little bit glibly, I kind of mean this, they should be asking Jason Kenney, Stephen Harper and Jim Prentice, why they aren't running to be the Premier of Saskatchewan. Because this is the best job in the country."

Organizations: Saskatchewan Party

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Swift Current, Canada

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Recent comments

  • Paul
    March 28, 2014 - 11:57

    History has always shown it will be the NDP that comes back to clean up the mess left by PC governments before them and it will be that way again. You don't have to believe it for it to be true.

    • Dale Wilson
      March 28, 2014 - 20:28

      Yep, and you writing something doesn't make it true either.

    • Hensel
      March 30, 2014 - 13:34

      Dale, Brad Wall claims year after year he's posting surpluses. His own auditor disagreed. She was chased away to Ontario. That said, by Wall saying the Sask Party was posting surpluses, despite the Provincial Auditor saying he'd posted only one, his first year, inherited from the NDP, the media, and "yes" men like yourselves all seem to have bought it. IF Wall does deliver on his razor thin $70 million SUMMARY surplus it will be only his second in two terms in power. Perhaps that NDP royalty review wasn't such a bad idea? Even a one to two percent rise in royalties would erase half of Wall's deficits. Don't believe me? Check the Saskatchewan Provincial Auditor. Who states Saskatchewan ran a large deficit last year, and the year before! Also, ask the media, why they cover the budgets with such fan fair, but all but ignore the "year end" provincial audit, that always shows Wall was anywhere from $100 million to $2 Billion off (his first "real" budget, second year in office, that he did without NDP help, he predicted a $1 Billion surplus... at year end, the Auditor pointed out it was really a massive $1 Billion DEFICIT!!)

  • Hensel
    March 26, 2014 - 00:34

    One area that Saskatchewan struggles in that Wall has been able to avoid is crime. Despite a lot of Manitoba bashing, Saskatchewan has the highest total and violent crime rate of any province, and has held this title for each year Wall has been in power. I'm not expecting miracles, just a lower crime rate than Manitoba! Saskatoon and Regina are both in the 10 worst cities for violent crime in Canada, both worse than Winnipeg, with the places fairing worse, often small, non provincial class cities (Grand Prairie, Prince George) while major cities (Calgary and TO) had far, far lower crime rate. In fact, Saskatoon leads all of Canada in aggravated assault. Now that has to be a bad thing! Try Wikipedia for a bit of historical perspective. So Mr Premiere, Alberta has violent spots, but what is YOUR solution to YOUR province being violent and crime ridden over all?

  • Hensel
    March 26, 2014 - 00:30

    Step 1: Switch to the Summary Financial Statement every other province in Canada uses Step 2: Run your second real/summary annual surplus in 8 years in power. Maybe we'll forget the 5 or 6 straight deficits in the middle? It is important that so far, Brad Wall has only posted on true summary financial surplus, in the one budget he inherited from the NDP, and that using his now industry best accounting practices, and as the auditor has been telling us for years, every year since Brad Wall and the Sask Party have ran deficits. No different than the NDP, but if both parties run deficits they can fudge to surpluses, might as well go with the NDP for some social programs and workers rights, and actually spent less because of fewer White Elephant projects. And Cam Broten seems more center-right than the previous NDP. Meanwhile, Brad Wall set spending records, even after inflation... right up until a couple years pre election, when suddenly he holds the line on huge mega projects for no one and reports his first real "summary" budget. And I'll believe his small surplus when I see it - at year end - but perhaps like his first BIG deficit, his second year in power, when he lost $1 BILLION in deficit, the media will likely forget to tell us about it. Focused on covering this budget, which is merely a prediction. Demand more of your media. Demand year end coverage and less press for "predictions" of population or budget!

    • Brian Mouland
      March 27, 2014 - 19:43

      Get over it NDP will get creamed again Ace