The man was a formidable political operator, no doubt. But what to make of his legacy?
My own views are less than rosy. Wall comes with more than a bit of historical baggage. His views of the forthcoming national carbon tax are nonsensical. His understanding of Equalization is woefully incomplete. His slipperiness in election timing is outright deceitful. And the GTH land deal stinks like the worst of the Devine years.
What really irks me, however, is the messianism—common in many parts—that argues Wall single-handedly propelled Saskatchewan out of the doldrums and onto the path of wealth and prosperity.
Like this person, for example:
I've put the full text below, but the nut graph is here:
It’s tempting to dismiss such hagiography as the the ravings of a superfan. But the sentiment is not limited to a zealous fringe. The sheer popularity of the idea is what I find disconcerting.
And, of course, that it's wrong.
A quick glance at the data dispels the unbridled adulation. True, Wall presided over a marvellous boom time for the Saskatchewan economy. But there's nothing here to suggest a significant departure from the early 2000s trend.
In short, the conditions (both global and domestic) were well in place long before Wall took over. Given these were NDP years, I would have hoped Wall’s supporters would be much more agnostic when it came to the role of political leadership and the fate of the province.