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Brad Wall

Brad Wall

Bradley John Wall MLA (born November 24, 1965 in Swift Current, Saskatchewan) is a Canadian politician, leader of the Saskatchewan Party, and the current premier of Saskatchewan as of November 21, 2007.

Wall was first elected to the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan as the Member of the Legislative Assembly for Swift Current in 1999, and re-elected in 2003. He became leader of the Official Opposition Saskatchewan Party on March 15, 2004. He replaced Elwin Hermanson, who resigned after leading the party to defeat in the 2003 provincial election.

In the 2007 election, Wall led the Saskatchewan Party to a majority government in Saskatchewan with around 50% of the overall vote and 38 of the 58 seats in the legislature.

Political career

Wall's political roots are in the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan, working as a ministerial assistant to Graham Taylor, Minister of Public Participation, Tourism, Small Business, Co-operatives and Health, and John Gerich, Associate Minister of Economic Development. Wall ran unsuccessfully for the Progressive Conservative nomination for Swift Current in April, 1991.

Prior to his election, Wall was the Director of Business Development for the City of Swift Current. In 1999, the Saskatchewan Economic Developers Association (SEDA) presented him with the 1998 Economic Developer of the Year Award. He has also sat on a number of boards including being a founding member of the Southwest Centre for Entrepreneurial Development. Wall also started his own business, The Last Stand Adventure Company.

After becoming Leader of the Saskatchewan Party, Wall committed to a review of Saskatchewan Party policies. This policy review process reached its culmination at the Saskatchewan Party's annual convention in February 2005 and resulted in a complete revamping of policy and the replacement of old resolutions, including a resolution that called for "boot camps" for young offenders. New policy resolutions included calling for treatment for crystal methamphetamine addicts, a patient-first review of the health care system, the development of a comprehensive plan to recruit and retain health care professionals, the development an integrated addictions strategy for young offenders who are incarcerated, a comprehensive review of the justice system to restore trust and confidence in the system, the establishment of a Provincial Youth Justice Board to address youth crime, rehabilitation and restitution measures, support for victims of crime, the establishment of a University Research Chair in Occupational Health and Safety, and a review of the Workers' Compensation Board.

In September 2004, Brad Wall released The Promise of Saskatchewan: A New Vision for Saskatchewan's Economy, a plan to grow the province's economy. In the fall of 2006, Wall released a policy paper on behalf of the Saskatchewan Party caucus, "Getting Saskatchewan Back on Track: Addressing Saskatchewan's Labour Shortage."

Controversy

Wall's leadership style has generally been received as popular within the Saskatchewan Party caucus. However, his leadership was called into question at the end of January, 2006 when MLA Brenda Bakken-Lackey resigned from the party. Bakken-Lackey cited unspecified frustrations within the Saskatchewan Party caucus as being among her reasons for resigning, although she declined to elaborate for the media. This led to a by-election in Weyburn-Big Muddy, which was won by the Saskatchewan Party's former caucus researcher, Dustin Duncan. At the party's 2007 annual convention, Wall received the support of 98 per cent of convention delegates for his leadership.

In recent times, he has been more willing to discuss his employment under the Grant Devine government despite that period of time being removed from his official Saskatchewan Party biography. In the Saskatchewan Legislature's spring 2006 session, NDP MLAs revealed that Wall had worked in Gerich's office at the time when $15,000 worth of alcohol was allocated to the Minister's office. Wall admitted to the media of his partaking in the alcohol and knowing it was "wrong" and stated he considered it "an asset" to have learned from the government's activities.

On April 3, 2008, the provincial NDP released a video tape filmed during the 1991 Saskatchewan general election on the day of the leaders debate. The video showed Conservative MP Tom Lukiwski making homophobic remarks. Wall was also on the video using an exaggerated Ukrainian accent, making derogatory statements about former NDP Premier Roy Romanow. There were also comments made about then Liberal Party leader and future Lieutenant Governor Lynda Haverstock, which centred on her gender. Wall apologized later that day for his comments.

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