Saskatchewan Can Do Better

I read an article this morning that struck a nerve in me. Tiffany Paulsen’s article in the Leader Post (here) hit the nail on the head for me. Her exact sentiments have been rumbling around in my head for the past week. 

Last Thursday, when Premier Wall announced his upcoming retirement, I wrote an open letter to him, remembering the Saskatchewan I grew up in, where it has grown to, and thanking him for the hard work and dedication he has given to the people of this province. (Read it here.) 

As with all things political, I expected some engagement. I expected differing views. I had no idea that people would react with hate. With personal attacks and downright viciousness. 

Should I be shocked? Apparently there is still a healthy dose of “Old Saskatchewan” kicking around. Those who would rather vent and complain, attack and claw, rather than step up and create the change they would like to see.

I am not taking about the people who would like to see a change in government. That’s the great part about democracy – having differing views and holding responsible, adult conversations about them.

I am talking about the people who see a man, choosing to walk out the door, and taking that moment to take a swing at his back end as he is literally walking away. 

To those people, what exactly did you think your personal attacks would do? Make him leave politics? Wait. He already did that. Make him change the last budget? Pretty sure that petty name calling isn’t going to get you far in that. 

I wish we could all remember that these are real people we are dealing with. Just like every one of us. 

And if you think for one second that your comments were justified, I dare you to apply the same sentiments the next time someone retires from your work place. The next “Congratulations on your Retirement” card that is passed around the coffee room, stick to the same mentality. Because if you can comment viciousness on a letter to a retiring Premier, I can only imagine that you would also feel that “Get lost bag, you are a terrible nurse/teacher/lawyer/banker/whatever, and we can’t wait to see you gone”, would be an equally appropriate farewell comment for someone you disagree with in your workplace. I can’t wait to see their face when they open that card. 

So here is my plea. My call to action. 

If you can be anything, choose to be kind. 

As I tell my children, you cannot control others, you can only control yourself. So do better. Stop being mean and vindictive. If you want change, fair enough. Go create it. Stop attacking and start building. In Premier Wall’s words, it’s time for renewal in Saskatchewan. Let’s make this amazing province even better, starting with ourselves. 

An Open Letter to Brad Wall from a Young Saskatchewan Rancher

Dear Premier Wall,

Today you announced your impending retirement from politics, from the position of Premier of Saskatchewan, and my heart broke a little. 

Born and raised here in Saskatchewan, I never dreamed of a leader like yourself. I never dreamed of what Saskatchewan, as a province, was capable of. For myself, your time as Premier was a little like the blind being blessed with sight, as I never had the smallest vision of what was possible. A vision that, thankfully, you did have. 

You see, I grew up in a very different Saskatchewan than the one that my children know. In my formative years, Saskatchewan was quite literally the joke of Western Canada. The gap, as Canada knew us as then. 

It was not until you took our amazing province’s reins that I dreamed that we could ever become anything but a have-not province. A sentiment I can only imagine was shared by the majority of my classmates, by the way they fled Saskatchewan in droves after completing their education. Your leadership changed that. 

With the last decade, I have developed the type of puffed chest pride of our province that can only be likened to that of my pride in my children. I have shouted to the world that right here, right now, Saskatchewan is THE best place in the world to live. THE best place in the world to raise my children. THE best place in the world to farm, ranch, and feed the people of this world. For that I thank you. 

Thank you for bringing the people of Saskatchewan together. Thank you for ensuring my children’s prosperity here. Thank you for making the difficult, unpopular decisions that are best for our province in the long run. Before you, I never knew that politicians could make decisions based on what is right, rather than what gains votes. For that I thank you. Thank you for making the RoughRiders win (ok, I may be getting a little carried away…). Thank you for teaching me the word “Jackwagon”. 

Thank you Premier Wall for pouring your heart and soul into Saskatchewan, because as you have proved, we are worth it.  

Sign with gratitude,

Adrienne Ivey