August 26, 2015 8:57 pm
Updated: August 26, 2015 11:54 pm

Sask. premier squeezing into federal election debate


REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said he isn’t ready to throw his support behind a federal party leader during the 2015 election campaign, but he is pushing an agenda.

First, Wall wanted to talk about the equalization formula; then he tried to inject crop science/genetic modification – and the economy – into the conversation.

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To some, it may appear like Wall is already taking sides, but the premier said he isn’t endorsing anyone just yet.

“We’ll do our best to evaluate them through the filter of, ‘What’s best for Saskatchewan?’ ” Wall said. “Then we’ll make all of that public and people can make up their own minds.”

Provincial counterparts

Premiers across the country are getting involved in their own ways. Alberta’s Rachel Notley found herself a target of Conservative leader Stephen Harper, who suggested in French that her NDP government has been a disaster since being elected in May.

Out east, Ontario’s Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne picked a fight with Harper over pension funding – and is making no secret her support for Justin Trudeau.

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne at a campaign event in Toronto on August 17, 2015.

File / Global News

Political watchers say that’s a risky move.

“Premiers don’t necessarily like to tread in that water,” said University of Regina political scientist Ken Rasmussen. “Most take a higher road and say … ‘We’re out to protect the interests of our jurisdiction.’ ”

Harper support?

Wall isn’t exactly mixing it up with the federal leaders, though some comments on the economy sound similar to a familiar line from Harper.

An excerpt of Wall’s response Tuesday to why he wants more discussion about the economy during the campaign: “We’re in some times of worldwide instability right now.”

Harper, on why the economy is the most important issue: “Because we’re living in an unstable global economy.”

Conservative leader Stephen Harper shakes hands with Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall at a federal funding announcement in March 2015.

Liam Richards / The Canadian Press

Even if he is a Conservative-leaning premier, Wall says he won’t campaign on anyone’s behalf when the October 19 election nears.

Rasmussen suggests it may lead Saskatchewan voters to, essentially, read between the lines.

“I think (Wall will) support certain policy positions as being favourable, as opposed to any particular party.”

© 2015 Shaw Media

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