Saskatchewan Premier and Swift Current MLA Brad Wall's retirement announcement on Thursday was certainly the talk of the province. But it was a move that didn't come out of nowhere.
A decade is a long time in politics, and Wall has been premier since November, 2007. He's fronted the now-governing Saskatchewan Party in Regina since 2004, and been the MLA for Swift Current since 1999.
Wall, who will step down from both the positions of premier and MLA as soon as a new leader is selected, said when he became premier he figured 10 years would be a lot of time to hold office.
"I'd always thought that, if I had the chance, I'd be honoured to serve for 10 years - which is kind of rare - and that that might be the time for re-evaluation," he said.
Wall said in the day following his Facebook announcement, media reports reminded of sharing that sentiment during his swearing in a decade ago with then-Lieutenant Governor Gordon Barnhart.
"I was reminded in some media reports in the last 24 hours that the lieutenant governor who was in place when I first became premier - Gordon Barnhart - was interviewed [Thursday] and said I told him that way back when, when I was sworn in, that if I could get a chance to serve 10 years it would be important to evaluate at that time."
Nicole Sarauer, interim leader of the opposition New Democratic Party, said in a press conference Thursday that the NDP knew the move would be coming at some point - they just weren't sure when.
"We knew that eventually he was going to step down, and although maybe the timing was a bit surprising for everybody, we knew that this was going to happen," she said. "Especially with the feedback that I know we've been receiving, and I'm sure the government's been receiving, about some of the decisions they've been making in particular. It's not overly surprising."
The last budget - which Wall called "very difficult" was the first in a three-year set aimed at bringing the province to a surplus in 2019-20.
The Saskatchewan Party had over 62 per cent of the popular vote in the 2016 election, but recent polls have their popularity under the 50-per-cent mark.
Wall's retirement in the coming months gives the Saskatchewan Party ample time to find its new face for the 2020 election.
"We want to give a lot of time for the new leader. They'll have three years to connect, maybe make a few adjustments to put their stamp on things, and I think it's important to give that time to a new leader, and that's why I've made the decision," said Wall, adding the move was also influenced by him wanting to spend more time with his family.
Swift Current is expected to have a by-election following Wall's departure from Legislature. Wall took over the riding from the NDP's John Wall (no relation) in the 1999 election.
Interesting times in politics are certainly ahead in Swift Current and the province of Saskatchewan.