The case for a Wall in Canadian politics
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall speaks at the Saskatchewan Legislative Building in Regina, Friday, July 24, 2015. (Mark Taylor /THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Published Friday, March 4, 2016 10:35AM EST
He may have the unassuming look of a country dentist, but the shrewdest mind at the First Minister's conference belongs to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.
Now campaigning for a third term as Canada’s most popular premier, Wall refused to hold hands around the kumbaya table and chant sunny rhymes in politically-correct unison with his fellow premiers.
His province’s economy is wobbling and he believes a carbon price would knock it further off balance. After a string of balanced budgets, the books have dipped back into the red as resource and commodity revenue falters.
And Wall is unhappy that Ontario and Quebec support a further review to delay an Energy East pipeline which would serve as an economic stimulant and energy export booster without taxpayer assistance.
But he’s more than just a maverick in defending the interests of his province.
In an era of The Donald Trump-ism when voters are rejecting plastic politicians infused with talking points and embracing leaders delivering straight undiplomatic talk, Wall stands out.
He is the loudest and proudest conservative voice in the country, backed by charisma which doesn’t hint at arrogance and an enviable resume of running a government for eight years which has yet to unleash a major scandal.
That’s why it has become almost a rite of interviewing Wall to ask about his federal Conservative leadership ambitions.
He insists his only career objective is to take the Power Play host job away from me and actually wrote me once inquiring about the size of my office and its view of Parliament Hill. Short answers: Small and none.
But sources say a Wall candidacy, while implausible, is not impossible.
Three big steps lie ahead.
He must win the April election and continue the Saskatchewan Party’s legislature domination.
He must immerse himself in French language instruction and emerge conversationally bilingual.
And he must be convinced he'll win the leadership and the next election.
If that happens, Justin Trudeau’s worst nightmare is primed to take the stage at the May 2017 Conservative leadership convention.
If the Official Opposition can build a Wall of support across the country, sunny ways could return earlier than expected to blue Conservative skies.
And that's the Last Word....