Top 5 Saskatchewan Political Stories of the 2010s
5. Carbon tax fight
When the Trudeau government unexpectedly announced in front of every environment minister in Canada that it was forcing a carbon tax on all Canadians, Scott Moe (Saskatchewan's environment minister at the time) walked out of the meeting protest. At a national premier's meeting a few weeks later, Brad Wall said Saskatchewan would not sign on to any climate plan that included a carbon tax.
Years later, the fight over the Trudeau carbon tax continues. The Supreme Court of Canada will hear Saskatchewan's argument against the carbon tax in 2020.
4. King Ralph is dethroned
The latter half of the 2010s saw Justin Trudeau elected as Prime Minister in a sweeping mandate in 2015...but he and the Liberals did not receive the same support in Saskatchewan or anywhere else in western Canada. After four years of Trudeau policies that seemed aimed at Saskatchewan's oil and gas economy, no Liberal was safe in Saskatchewan in the 2019 election - including Ralph Goodale, the longtime MP for Regina Wascana.
In the election, Goodale was handily defeated by Conservative candidate Michael Kram, beating him by over 7,000 votes (Goodale defeated Kram in 2015 by 10,000 votes).
Goodale's unwavering alignment and support for Justin Trudeau was finally the straw that broke the camel's back.
3. Brad Wall retires
Everyone knew it had to end at some point, but when Brad Wall announced on August 10, 2017 that he would be retiring from politics, it sent shockwaves.
First elected as MLA for Swift Current in 1999, Wall became leader of the Saskatchewan Party in 2004 and then became Premier in 2007 after defeating the incumbent NDP government.
His constant focus on growing the province and its economy as the means to improve the quality of life for people resulted in tremendous electoral gains in Regina and Saskatoon - areas where the Saskatchewan Party had previously struggled to break through. His affable, self-deprecating and good-humoured nature also endeared him to voters across the province - even when he accidentally cursed the Roughriders by taunting Blue Bomber fans in advance of the Banjo Bowl.
2. Decade of darkness for the NDP
Six leaders (three permanent, three interim) and two historical, devastating electoral defeats: the 2010s were not good for the Saskatchewan New Democrats. Once known as Saskatchewan's governing party, the NDP spent the decade consistently at odds with what the public wanted in its political leaders, and the election results in 2011 and 2016 proved that.
Dwain Lingenfelter was an especially unpopular leader for the NDP and he resigned after losing his seat and the general election in 2011. Cam Broten fared no better in 2016 when the Saskatchewan Party knocked him off in his constituency; he resigned a week after the election loss.
Overall, the 2010s were a decade of darkness for the NDP. Based on how new leader Ryan Meili has fared, the next decade doesn't look too bright, either.
1. Saskatchewan Party's success
While the NDP suffered, the 2010s were a decade of success for the Saskatchewan Party. With landslide election victories in 2011 and 2016 and with substantial success in urban seats, the Saskatchewan Party is now the province's natural governing party.
In addition, after a hard-fought leadership race in 2017 it looks like the party has surfaced from it united; Scott Moe's leadership is widely supported in the party and candidates and volunteers will work diligently to re-elect the Saskatchewan Party for a fourth straight time in October 2020.
Will the Saskatchewan Party be as successful in the 2020s? A strong, concerted, and continued effort in both Regina and Saskatoon would guarantee it.
Honourable mentions: BHP Billiton's failed takeover of PotashCorp; 2017-2018 Saskatchewan Party leadership race.
Dale Richardson is the Founder and Director of 306 Media & Communications, a Saskatchewan-based agency specializing in political campaigns & communications, digital advocacy & advertising, and media relations.