REGINA - Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is putting innovation on his to-do list for 2012, while the Opposition New Democrats plan to rebuild.
Wall says the new year is about looking to what's next for the resource-based economy.
"We have a lot of resources, so there's no immediate danger of us running out, but we should be planning for future generations and building the economy of today," Wall said in a year-end interview with The Canadian Press.
Wall said that innovation includes clean-coal projects, also known as carbon capture and storage. Last April, the Saskatchewan government gave the green light to a long-planned, $1.2-billion project to rebuild one of its old coal-fired power plants to pump its greenhouse gas emissions underground.
There's also more work to be done on the global food security institute the Saskatchewan Party campaigned on in the November election. The institute would focus on expanding the food supply and ensuring that food gets to those who need it most.
"This can form the basis of the next economy for the province, of an innovation agenda, of research and science and commercialization of technology in those areas: food security and energy security," said Wall
"I think you're going to see some developments in that regard from our province and I'm looking forward to that."
But there will also be challenges for the year ahead, the premier said. Global economic uncertainty means things could be tighter financially for Saskatchewan.
"We're seeing that while potash sales are strong, we're seeing them...tighten up a little bit there. We know that world economic uncertainty doesn't help the price of oil, for example, so we need to be prepared for a tightening revenue situation possibly...."
By all accounts, 2011 was a good year for Wall. He started the year garnering acclaim for helping thwart a foreign takeover of Saskatoon-based Potash Corp., yet his stance didn't discourage industry investment.
Wall capped off the year with a landslide election victory that saw his party take 49 of the 58 seats in the legislature.
The rout came at the expense of the NDP, which was left in tatters after it lost support across the board, especially in the cities of Regina and Saskatoon. Leader Dwain Lingenfelter lost his seat and resigned.
The party has turned to veteran politician John Nilson to lead it through the turbulent times.
"I think that we ended up with a situation where we learned many things, and so we're mulling over all of the results of the election and looking at what kinds of things we need to do as a New Democratic Party over the next four years," said Nilson, who is acting leader for the foreseeable future.
Nilson said there was some apprehension about how the nine remaining New Democrats would carry out Opposition duties heading into the legislature's fall sitting. But that turned to optimism by the time the sitting ended and they're now excited about the next four years, he said.
The big challenge for the party in 2012 "is to regroup."
"I think it's a longer-term process, but you have to start somewhere."
The NDP will determine the timing and rules for a leadership competition in late February or early March.