Premier Brad Wall, centre, with Del Mondor, right, and Bill Body, left,  walking through the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show in June, 2015.  Photo by Brian Zinchuk

 

Former Premier Brad Wall will be inducted into the the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Hall of Fame at the Saskatchewan Oil and Gas Show on June 5. Here is his biography:

Brad Wall was born in 1965 in Swift Current, where he grew up. As a young man he worked for a local FM station. He received an honours degree in Public Administration from the University of Saskatchewan in 1987. In 1988 He became a political staffer in the Grant Devine-led Progressive Conservative government.

After the change in government, Wall started a communications consulting business working in economic development, business communications and tourism. He also started and operated a ranch-based tourism adventure business called the Last Stand Adventure Company.

In 1991, Wall married Tami Kildaw of Prince Albert. They met at the University of Saskatchewan.

He was first elected as the MLA for Swift Current in 1999. Wall became leader of the Saskatchewan Party and Leader of the Opposition in 2004.

In 2007 Wall was elected to government as premier, defeating an NDP government that had been in power for 16 years. Subsequent elections in 2011 and 2016 were won by a larger number of seats.

He campaigned on the idea that Saskatchewan needed an attitude adjustment – that this province could be so much more, if it chose to. His speeches talked of celebrating success, not looking down on it; a province of growth, not just maintaining what we have. He spoke of how young people could find a future here, and how this province need not remain stuck at one million people.

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One of his early acts as premier was to bring about the New West Partnership, meant to improve trade and labour mobility between Saskatchewan, Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia. It made doing business, including in the energy industry, easier between those jurisdictions.

When it came to energy, Wall came to power just as the Bakken Boom took hold. In 2008, the province saw more than a billion dollars in Crown land sales, and an oil boom that lasted until late 2014.

The Saskatchewan Party energy policy under Wall was that of rock-solid stability, built on a royalty structure established by the previous NDP government. It was that stability that saw Saskatchewan attract billions of dollars of investment in oil when those same dollars were being scared away from Alberta due to regulatory uncertainty in that province, particularly with respect to the possibility of Alberta hiking royalties.

Indeed, Wall’s energy minister for the first part of his administration, Bill Boyd, often gave the same speech. That speech was essentially this: “The Premier has instructed me to say, ‘Thank you.’ Thank you for the jobs, thank you for the investment, thank you for the taxes and royalties. And we’re not touching a thing, when it comes to royalties.”

And under that regime of stability, Saskatchewan saw drilling activity surge to over 110 drilling rigs during winter drilling seasons. Oil production grew to a peak of 536,000 barrels per day in December, 2014.

Wall came to power just as critical decisions needed to be made with regards to the power generation future of this province, at that time heavily reliant on coal-fired power.

Back in 2013, then-Premier Brad Wall, centre, took then-US Senator Heidi Heitkamp, left, on a tour of the Boundary Dam Unit 3 Carbon Capture Project. Ten years later, the US decided to adopt carbon capture wholesale for its coal fleet. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

In 2011, the ultimate decision on whether to go ahead with the $1.6 billion Boundary Dam Unit 3 Carbon Capture and Storage project fell to Wall. And he chose to pull the trigger, as it were.

It led to the building of a world-leading carbon capture facility that for many years after was toured by politicians, researchers and executives from around the world, tours that continue to this day.

It was a bold decision that unfortunately was not replicated by others in the coal-fired power generation business. But in 2024, the United States Environmental Protection Agency brought in new rules for blanket carbon capture and storage on coal-fired power in that nation. One of the foundational examples cited by the EPA was Boundary Dam Unit 3 project.

The Weyburn Unit makes use of carbon dioxide from the BD3 project. Photo by Brian Zinchuk

The carbon dioxide from that project has been used in the Weyburn Unit for enhanced oil recovery, extending the life of that oilfield by many years as a result, increasing oil production while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Wall was one of the leading advocates for pipeline construction to tidewater at a time when pipelines were coming under harsh criticism. Such export pipelines would broaden markets for Saskatchewan and Canadian oil, increasing prices, and through them, royalties, taxes and employment. He frequently travelled to Washington to meet with Congress and administration officials to promote the Keystone XL pipeline.

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During the decade he was Premier, the employment sector grew by 60,000 new jobs, and provincial population growth reached its all-time high, growing by 160,000 people.  The Wall government’s growth plan reformed labour legislation, income, property and small business tax reductions and regulatory environments to ensure fairness, sustainability, and economic competitiveness.  Tax reductions removed over 100,000 low income people from the Saskatchewan income tax roll. During these years Saskatchewan reduced its operating debt by almost $1 billion and earned its first ever AAA credit rating.

Brad Wall

 

During his tenure as premier, Wall did something most politicians in the rest of Canada wouldn’t. He stood up for and celebrated our energy industry.

And during nearly all that time, he was consistently held the highest approval ratings among Canadian premiers. Wall served as premier until 2018, retiring from public life after 18 years.

Since his departure from public life, Wall keeps himself busy by operating his own consulting business and acting as a special advisor to the national law firm Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt LLP.  He is a member of various private sector boards, several of which are in the Saskatchewan energy sector. That includes Whitecap Resources, Helium Evolution and uranium explorer NexGen Energy. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Canada American Business Council, the Fraser Institute and is Co-Chair for the Canada-ASEAN Business Council.  He recently chaired the fleet replacement committee for Stars Air Ambulance.

Brad Wall

Brad Wall spends more time on horses these days. Submitted

He also has been known to ride a horse or two, now residing in Cypress Hills with his wife, Tami. They have three grown children – Megan, Colter, and Faith. He is a ‘silent’ partner in a yearling ranch operation with his son near Battle Creek Saskatchewan. Wall may or may not own Waylon Jennings’ 1973 Eldorado, and occasionally cheers for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

 

Tickets to attend the awards banquet can be obtained at oilshow.ca

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