‘Mr. Saskatchewan’ Brad Wall steps up as oil economy’s chief defender – by Claudia Cattaneo (Financial Post – February 24, 2016)

http://business.financialpost.com/

The oil crash has been rough on political leaders, but not Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall. If opinion polls prove accurate, the two-term premier and his Saskatchewan Party are sailing toward another solid majority in the April 4 provincial election.

Wall, 50, remains wildly popular despite his oil-producing province’s economic slowdown and deteriorating government finances. Similar conditions contributed to the defeat last year of conservative, oil-industry supportive governments in Alberta and in Ottawa and are even poking a hole in Wall’s narrative that “Sask. Party times are good times” — as Regina Leader-Post columnist Murray Mandryk recently put it.

“It is pretty interesting to watch how Mr. Wall’s popularity continues to defy the odds,” said Quito Maggi, president and CEO of Mainstreet Research, which has done polling in the province.

After eight years in power, “it hasn’t diminished. He seems to have a real knack for being focused on the things that the people in Saskatchewan see as priorities, rather than being sidetracked on pet projects … In terms of his election, it’s virtually guaranteed.”

A poll by the public research firm conducted for Postmedia News Feb. 11 of 1,477 Saskatchewan residents shows 49 per cent of respondents said they would vote for the Saskatchewan Party, 28 per cent said they would vote for the NDP – headed by Cam Broten — and six per cent said their ballot would go to the Liberals; 14 per cent were undecided.

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