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Five memorable moments from retiring Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall

The Canadian Press
Five memorable moments from retiring Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall recently announced his retirement from politics. He was notable for standing up for strong construction initiatives such as pipeline projects. -

REGINA, SASK. — Brad Wall, who has served as premier of Saskatchewan for nearly a decade, has announced his retirement from politics.

The leader of the province’s right-leaning Saskatchewan Party, Wall was notable for standing up for conservatism and sometimes clashing with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government as a result.

Here’s a look at some notable moments of Wall’s decade-long career as premier:

 

Criticizing Federal Carbon Tax

Wall has been one of the loudest critics of the federal directive for all provinces to institute either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system.

Trudeau made the announcement in October 2016 while provincial environment ministers were in a climate change meeting, and Wall wasn’t happy about it.

"This meeting is not worth the CO2 emissions it took for environment ministers to get there. The level of disrespect shown by the prime minister and his government today is stunning," Wall said at the time.

Wall said the tax would "kneecap" the struggling Canadian economy, and argued the focus should be on technological solutions for emissions like carbon capture and storage.

He has since said he is willing to take the federal government to court over the issue.

 

Standing Against PotashCorp Sale

When a foreign company tried to purchase Saskatchewan’s PotashCorp in 2010, Wall was vehemently opposed.

He called for the Conservative federal government, led by Stephen Harper, to "stand up for Canada and defend Canada’s national strategic interests" by keeping Australian-based BHP Billiton from taking over the company.

He pushed his case in a stirring speech at a Regina Chamber of Commerce luncheon in October 2010.

"We say yes to the national interests of our country. We say yes to fulfilling the potential of our province and our nation. We say yes to controlling the resource and our future. We say yes to Canada’s century," Wall implored. "That big hope and grand vision requires, on this occasion, a modicum of courage and one little word — no."

The deal was averted in the end, a move the Conference Board of Canada said saved the province from $2 billion in lost revenue over a decade.

 

Calling to Halt 25,000 Syrian Refugees

Wall made waves by asking Trudeau to reconsider his plan to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees, citing security as a main concern.

His comments came in November 2015, on the heels of a series of terrorist attacks that took place during a single day in Paris.

Wall said the large number of refugee claims to be fast-tracked by the end of the year could undermine refugee screening.

"Surely we do not want to be date-driven or numbers-driven in an endeavour that may affect the safety of our citizens and the security of our country," said Wall.

 

A Stalwart Supporter of Pipelines

There was at least one thing about U.S. President Donald Trump that Wall could be pleased about: his support for pipelines.

President Barack Obama rejected the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of oilsands bitumen from Alberta to Texas. Trump overturned the decision, granting approval to the pipeline.

Wall said the decision was a win for both countries and said it will bring over 2,000 jobs to Saskatchewan.

Wall passionately defended pipelines as the safest way to transport oil throughout his time as premier.

 

"Disbelief" Over Khadr Settlement

Wall was one of many to chime in with disapproval over the Trudeau government’s reported $10.5-million settlement with former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr.

"For Omar Khadr, there ought never be an offer to ‘settle’," Wall said in a Facebook post.

"Some things are worth the legal fight."

Khadr, a Canadian citizen, was 15 years old when he was captured by U.S. forces in Afghanistan. He spent 10 years in Guantanamo Bay after allegedly killing an American Special Forces soldier during a fierce firefight at a compound in Afghanistan in July 2002.

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