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Brad Wall Says No To Tory Leadership

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REGINA — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is quashing any suggestion he'll take a run at the federal Conservative leadership following Stephen Harper's resignation.

"It's flattering when you hear people say that and it's humbling, it really is. But no, the answer is no," Wall said Tuesday in Regina.

"I think I have the best political job in Canada. I'm grateful to have this job. I'm going to work hard to try to renew the contract in a few months. I'd like to continue to do the job."

Wall faces a provincial election in the spring. He is seeking a third term.

Wall, who leads the small-c conservative Saskatchewan Party, said his government had a good relationship with Harper and the Conservatives.

But the premier added he's not disappointed with the results of the federal election. He spoke briefly Tuesday with incoming prime minister Justin Trudeau, mostly about balancing politics and family. Business and other issues will come later, he said.

"We have provincial interests that stand regardless of who the federal government is," said Wall.

"The prime minister, the outgoing prime minister Mr. Harper, said it yesterday — the voters are always right. And they are always right, so it's not for me or any of us to be disappointed in them. They've made their decision and now we're going to work with that decision."

Wall had said during the election campaign that the policies of the New Democrats were not in the best economic interest of Saskatchewan. He pointed directly to the NDP's opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership deal.

The premier believes the trade agreement is good for the province. He said he hopes the Liberals move forward with it.

"It's very crucial for agriculture in our province, for ag equipment manufacturing, for forestry, that we would be a part of the TPP. I'm encouraged that the prime-minister-designate has said that nationally they support and now they're going to work on some of the details."

The other issue for Saskatchewan is pipelines.

Wall has been a vocal supporter of the Keystone XL line, which would carry oilsands crude from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, as well as of the proposed Energy East pipeline.

The premier would also like to see more funding infrastructure, more funding for aboriginal education and a national inquiry into missing and murdered aboriginal women — something Harper rejected.

Those are the kinds of issues all the premiers could discuss with Trudeau at a first ministers meeting. Harper was often criticized for refusing to meet with premiers as a group.

Wall sounded cautious about any outcome.

"If they're meetings for the sake of meetings, I'm going to be a bit skeptical. But if they're based on a specific issue and they're results-oriented, that would be our objective."

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