Brad Wall, Cam Broten ponder potential Christmas gifts for each other

Premier Brad Wall and Saskatchewan NDP Leader Cam Broten have great memories of gifts of Christmas past.

Sask. Party, NDP leaders remember their best and worst gifts ever

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall (left) and Saskatchewan NDP Leader Cam Broten (right) share Christmas memories in 2015. (CBC)

Dreams of becoming a world-class curler, sneaking a peek at a wrapped Christmas gift only to find guilt in a box, and some cheeky present ideas for political rivals.

Those are just a few things Premier Brad Wall and Saskatchewan NDP Leader Cam Broten shared with CBC's Stefani Langenegger in a pair of year-end interviews

As families gather to celebrate Christmas, many people will fondly reflect on their best and worst Christmas memories. Wall and Broten did exactly that this week:

What is the worst Christmas gift you ever received?

Brad Wall explains how his dream of becoming a world champion curler transpired into receiving a bad Christmas gift. 1:11
Years ago in Swift Current, Sask., a young man had not yet realized his dream of becoming a future premier. For Brad Wall, his dream in Grade 7 was to become a world champion curler.

"I was going to take curling in Grade 7 and needed, therefore, the most expensive curling gloves — because how could I show up at the curling rink without curling gloves?" Wall said.

I got paint-crusted curling gloves that Christmas as well. Worst ever.- Premier Brad Wall

Despite his dad's warning to wait two weeks — a common piece of advice he told his son — because "you haven't really even tried it," Wall rushed out to a sporting goods store and bought the curling gloves with his own money.

"I didn't wait two weeks," Wall said. "I nodded at his advice and got down to Hall's (sporting goods store) and bought these gloves. I curled the two times in school and then never again."

That one indulgent Christmas gift to himself came back to haunt Wall for four more years.

"My dad would continually wrap these up every year and give them to me," he said. "And it was never from him. It was always from, 'To Brad, from your conscience.'

"Once we got a snowmobile and I was re-painting the snowmobile and used the (curling) gloves to not get paint on my hands. I thought I had put them away so they could never be used again. I got paint-crusted curling gloves that Christmas as well. Worst ever."

For Broten, it wasn't a 'worst gift ever' that came to mind, but a time when he was taught a valuable lesson about being sneaky.

"I was old enough to be left home alone, but not that old," Broten said. "So I was in the house and it was before Christmas, so the tree was set up and all the presents were under the tree."

I don't know if I've ever told mom and dad that so, mom and dad, I'm sorry for that.- Sask. NDP Leader Cam Broten

There was one present in particular that caught the future NDP leader's eye.

"I thought, 'Well what could this be?' So I lifted it up and it was sort of heavy. And I looked at the taping of it."

Broten noticed a weakness in the wrap job and decided he could take off the tape and slip the box out of the wrapping paper without anyone noticing. 

"No one was around and I cut the tape," he said. "I pulled the box out, opened up the lid, and it was a new Bible that my parents were giving me," he said, laughing. He immediately thought, "OK I get the message." 

"(I) closed the lid. Put it back in the wrapping. Put the tape back on and I opened it up on Christmas Eve," Broten said. "I don't know if I've ever told mom and dad that so, mom and dad, I'm sorry for that."

What is your favourite holiday tradition?

What used to be a head-scratcher for Wall has now become one of his favourite parts of Christmas.

"The Mennonite tradition is a bowl instead of a stocking," Wall said, describing his mom's side of the family. "Everyone else was getting stockings and we had giant Tupperware bowls full of peanuts and batteries and whatever else. I was like, 'Could we not just have stockings?' "

The Wall family did switch over to stockings for a while, but then his mom brought back the bowl tradition.

"She still does that. She still has bowls out so I really like that," he said. "And the Mennonite baking that happens. There's something called sour cream cookies."

Broten took a few seconds to think about his favourite Christmas tradition before realizing he may have started a new one with his children this year.

"This year, we did a secret Santa thing for a girl in Saskatoon who might not have a whole lot at Christmas," Broten said. "When you've got a family and you've got people to love and people to hug, that's a good thing. And you should be thankful for that. But you should also think of ways to extend that warmth to others in the community."

A gift for your political rival

Premier Brad Wall, left, and Opposition NDP leader Cam Broten, right. (CBC)

While Brad Wall and Cam Broten frequently go toe-to-toe at the Saskatchewan Legislature, both are husbands and fathers with jobs aimed at helping people who live in the province. When Langenegger asked them to consider a gift for each other, both leaders showed a generous, but also tongue-in-cheek spirit.

A full-time appointment so that he doesn't have to bother with politics anymore.- Brad Wall on a gift idea for Cam Broten

After taking a few seconds to think about a gift for Broten, Wall said he would consider giving his political rival a "really good appointment."

"A full-time appointment so that he doesn't have to bother with politics anymore," Wall said. "He could just come and help us — help the government out in some way. That might be a good present. That would sort of be a present for both of us."

In the same vein, Broten didn't waste his opportunity to throw a political jab.

"I know that he loves Coke Zero, so maybe a flat of Coke Zero," Broten said. "He's also, of course, a big country music fan. So maybe an iTunes card so he could choose his favourite music."

An iTunes gift card is a kind gift for the premier. However, Broten's Coke Zero gift idea wasn't lost on a seasoned political reporter like Langenegger.

"I think the Coke Zero is a dig, right?" she said.

"Uh, it's a fun one," Broten said with a chuckle.

"What are you referring to?" Langenegger asked.

"Well, there was a ... Mr. Wall has been using travel scouts for his international trips that don't, uh, deal with the fine detail of a trade agreement, but just sort of check out the hotels and make sure that there's Coke Zero on ice in his rooms," Broten claimed. "So, to me, that's not really necessary and that's a definite waste of money when these trips are $40,000 a pop."


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