'This is the new Saskatchewan': Brad Wall makes final speech before Scott Moe voted next premier
Premier-designate Moe elected at convention in Saskatoon
Brad Wall ended his final speech as premier on a message of hope for the Saskatchewan Party as his 10-year reign comes to an end.
Wall appeared teary-eyed when he spoke to the crowd at the leadership convention in Saskatoon on Saturday, just hours before the party was set to announce the results of a vote to name his successor.
"This is the new Saskatchewan and hope wins here," Wall concluded at the end of his address, which was met by a standing ovation.
Wall, 52, was acclaimed as the Saskatchewan Party leader in 2004. Three years later, he led the young party to a historic victory, becoming the 14th premier in the province's history. Currently the longest serving premier in Canada, Wall spent three terms and 10 years in the role.
Wall calls for party unity
Wall's skills as a communicator were on full display for members during his speech, which started when he walked onto the stage to a soundtrack of country music and stomping and clapping from the crowd.
He began by calling for unity after the "family competition."
He also boasted of the party's strong finances and 27,000-strong membership, which he said were indicators that the party is in good health, despite the public unpopularity of his government's last budget.
Wall also warned his speech would be of a more partisan tone than usual, telling the crowd of more than 1,200 the NDP was the only opposition — not rival candidates.
Final speech critical of NDP, feds
He blasted the NDP in both Saskatchewan and Alberta, saying both parties are out of touch when it comes agriculture and the resource sector.
At one point, he slammed the NDP's beliefs as an orthodoxy with "orange shag carpeting and lava lamps at the altar," when referring to the party's view on healthcare.
He also criticized the federal Liberal government and its plan to impose a carbon tax.
"We don't work for the feds," Wall said to lengthy applause from the audience.
"This party works for the people of the province of Saskatchewan."
5 candidates make final pitch to voters
The five candidates running for Wall's job — Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Ken Cheveldayoff, Alanna Koch, Scott Moe and Gord Wyant — made their final speeches to voters at Praireland Park in Saskatoon.
Scott Moe was announced the winner at about 7 p.m. CST.
Before voting closed, each candidate took to the stage to make a roughly 10-minute one-last pitch to members.
Of all five candidates, Cheveldayoff, who is a Saskatoon MLA, received the most audible and visible show of support, followed by Koch and then Moe.
In comparison, Beaudry-Mellor has the smallest crowd of supporters gathered.
Cheveldayoff was welcomed onto stage by his brother and general manager of the Winnipeg Jets, Kevin Cheveldayoff.
In his speech, he spoke directly to the "grassroots" members of the party, highlighting their importance in the leadership race. Their support is more important than endorsements, of which he has nine — mostly backbencher MLAs, he says.
Deputy premier supports Moe
In a somewhat surprising move, deputy premier Don Morgan, who until the moment had not offered any endorsements, introduce Moe and offered his endorsement.
Moe focused his speech on his promise to grow the province's population, expand its exports and continue the fight against the federal government's plan to impose a carbon tax.
In her address to members, Koch says she wants to "build on the legacy of Brad Wall."
She touched on her plans to diversify the economy and balance the budget in three years, while also focusing on people, including teachers.
'Renew' and 'rejuvenate' common themes
Wyant, Beaudry-Mellor and Cheveldayoff spoke of the need to "renew" and "rejuvenate" the party.
Wyant reiterated his message of the party being a big tent party where some members no longer feel welcome.
Beaudry-Mellor also spoke of inclusion. She told the crowd the party is vulnerable in cities, but its economic and business policies are strong.
Reporters Adam Hunter, Stephanie Taylor and Alex Brockman will be live-tweeting from the convention floor starting at around 2:15 p.m. CST. Follow them here or scroll to the bottom of this page. On mobile? Click here.
Below are brief profiles on the five candidates in the running — in alphabetical order.
Beaudry-Mellor launched her campaign on Aug. 15. From 2016-2017, she was the minister of social services and the minister responsible for the Status of Women Office. She has been the MLA for Regina University since 2016.
Before entering politics, Beaudry-Mellor was an instructor in the department of politics and international studies at the University of Regina. Beaudry-Mellor has said that she is the most urban of all the candidates and does need to improve her relation with and understanding of rural Saskatchewan.
She has said that she will make insurance premiums PST exempt if elected. Insurance premiums were subject to PST — which was raised from five per cent to six per cent — following the 2017-18 provincial budget.
When it comes to the budget, Beaudry-Mellor set herself apart from the other candidates by saying she would balance the budget in five years instead of three, as outlined in the most recent budget.
She is also the only candidate to come out in favour of legal marijuana, saying that as a party that advocates free enterprise it should embrace legalization. But when it comes to marijuana and alcohol Beaudry-Mellor has said that a zero-tolerance policy for impaired driving may be the best option.
No current or former MLAs, MPs or elected officials have endorsed Beaudry-Mellor. On her Facebook page, a series of endorsements from citizens is offered instead. During her campaign Beaudry-Mellor raised $50,968, the lowest of any of the candidates still in contention.
Cheveldayoff, who has been a Saskatchewan Party MLA since 2003, tossed his hat in the ring on Aug. 28. First elected as MLA for Saskatoon Silver Springs, he was most recently re-elected in 2016. During his time in government, he has been responsible for 11 different portfolios including crown corporations, trade and First Nations and Métis relations. Most recently he was the minister of parks, culture and sport.
During his campaign, Cheveldayoff has said that he is the only candidate with strong ties to rural and urban Saskatchewan.
When he announced his intention to run he said that the Global Transportation Hub should be sold and run by the private sector. The inland port outside of Regina has been run by the province since 2009 and has come under some controversy.
In terms of balancing the budget, Cheveldayoff's policy is to stay the course outlined in the 2017-18 budget, which allots three years for the government to balance the books.
He has also said that he takes "great exception" to the legalization of marijuana and said he is the candidate most against legalization, saying that legal age should be, at the bare minimum, 25.
In terms of endorsements, Cheveldayoff has received nine from current MLAs and one from a former MLA. He's also received the support of former leadership candidate and former Conservative MP Rob Clarke.
Conservative MP Brad Trost also endorsed Cheveldayoff, as did an anti-abortion organization RightNow.
Cheveldayoff raised the most money of all five candidates bringing in $276,547.
Alanna Koch joined the race on Aug. 28 and is the only candidate running who has never held public office or taken part in an election as a candidate. Prior to running, Koch was deputy minister to the premier from 2016-2017 and the deputy minister of agriculture from 2007-2016. Before working as a civil servant, Koch was involved with numerous agricultural businesses and organizations.
Koch is seen as having strong ties to rural Saskatchewan, given her experience in agriculture.
She has said that she would take the province out of deficit in four years instead of three. She has also said that if elected she would immediately review the insurance tax. Koch has also stated that she would like to lower the PST, reintroduce mandate letters for ministers as well as making ministries more accountable.
Premier Wall's parents have endorsed Koch's candidacy, as has MLA and former deputy premier Don McMorris.
Dan D'Autremont, who was one of the original eight founders of the Saskatchewan Party, and Elwin Hermanson, the first person to lead the party, have also endorsed Koch.
Koch brought in a total of $261,145 for her campaign through fundraising.
Scott Moe, who has served as an MLA for Rosthern-Shellbrook since 2011, announced his bid for party leadership on Sept. 1.
Moe has served as the minister of advanced education and prior to running, minister of environment.
Moe has committed to balance the provincial budget by 2019 and vowed to bring back PST exemptions on crop, life and health insurance. During his campaign, he also announced his plan to to funnel an additional $30 million to education funding.
With respect to marijuana, Moe has said he feels the federal government has not given provinces enough time to meet the deadline set for summer 2018.
He has also stated that raising the population of the province to 1.5 million by 2030 is key goal as well.
The day Moe announced his campaign outside Saskatoon, 21 current MLAs were with him and have endorsed him. Since then, an additional MLA has endorsed Moe bringing to the total to 22.
Among those endorsing him are Bronwyn Eyre, minister of education, Donna Harpaurer, minister of finance, and Dustin Duncan, who is the minister of environment and responsible for the GTH.
Moe raised $225,265 through fundraising during his campaign.
On Aug. 25, Gord Wyant joined the race. He was elected to the legislative assembly in 2010 when he won a byelection held in the constituency of Saskatoon Northwest. In 2000, he was elected as a trustee for the Saskatoon Public School Board, then as a city councillor from 2003-2009.
As an MLA Wyant has been the minister of justice and attorney general as the minister responsible for Saskatchewan Power Corporation.
Wyant, like three other candidates, vowed to balance the budget by 2019.
During his time as minister of justice, Wyant wrote a letter to the federal government asking for more time to get ready for marijuana legalization. He said he has concerns about the legislation and also feels the legal age should be 25, and that age 19 isn't suitable.
Wyant has said that if he is elected he will establish an investment tax credit program to encourage local investors to keep their money in the province. Also, as Saskatchewan continues to grow Wyant said he will work with the federal government to make sure a proportional amount of federal dollars is spent on local infrastructure.
He is the only candidate to commit to a public inquiry on the GTH land deal.
Wyant has received five endorsements from current and former MLAs including June Draude and Rod Gantefoer, who were founding members of the Sask. Party. He's received endorsements from current Minister of Agriculture Lyle Stewart and former minister Bob Bjornerud. Wyant also received an endorsement from former Conservative MP Carol Skelton.
During his campaign Wyant raised $220,500.
With files from CBC's Stephanie Taylor