The man who could have been premier

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September 25, 2014 11:24 AM

Earlier this week, Lloydminster MLA Tim McMillan began cleaning out his office in Lloydminster. McMillan announced last week that he was stepping down from provincial politics to take on the role of president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. - File Photo

Many speculated that he was the natural successor to Brad Wall, whenever the premier steps down.

He had a young family, a resumé to envy and made an effort to connect with constituents whenever he could.

Lloydminster MLA Tim McMillan announced last week that he was stepping down from provincial politics to take a position with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) in Calgary, Alta.

After seven years in office, McMillan said that looking back, he like anyone else who runs for public office, had big dreams about the things that you want to see changed.

“It’s had been an amazing seven years for our province, and I would say that it exceeded my expectations,” he said. “For Saskatchewan to now be a leader in Canada economically, to keep up the record oil production and exports and grain production, it has been amazing.

“Not that our government caused that to happen, but it certainly has been something that this government has worked towards and has enabled the people of this province to do.”

On the big picture issues, McMillan said that the time in office has far exceeded his expectations.

“On the more specific things, there as well, it has been very rewarding to serve the people of the constituency of Lloydminster,” McMillan said, adding that the province has seen substantial growth since being elected in 2007.

“Lloydminster has seen more growth and more economic development,” he said. “I was speaking with my office staff earlier, and we had reminisced about the growth Lloydminster had seen in the last two decades. It has been growing almost exclusively on the Alberta side of the city, but in the last seven years, we had actually outpaced the Alberta side of Lloydminster with the growth on the Saskatchewan side of the city.”

Getting into politics, McMillan said was about the direction that he saw the province going in under previous NDP governments.

“My reason for getting into politics was more of a global issue. I grew up just outside of Lloydminster, on the Saskatchewan side, and even as a kid you could see the disparity,” he said. “We would drive into Lloydminster in our farm truck and it wasn’t very shiny and didn’t have too much chrome on it and you could see a lot of Alberta licence plates and fancy trucks.

“You could see the growth that was happening on the Alberta side and not the Saskatchewan side. It stuck with me my whole life, and when I went to university outside of the province, I continued to follow the changes in Saskatchewan and how we kept electing NDP governments in the province. I always found that frustrating.”

McMillan said that he found it more frustrating when he came back to the region to start his own oil company.

“So, when I moved back to Lloydminster to start my own company, another NDP government was elected, and that was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

“I thought that Saskatchewan, could do better, and we could be a great province. We had economic potential that we were not reaching.”

Back in July, McMillan was nominated for the 2016 general election as the candidate for the Saskatchewan Party.

“To be a part of this Wall government for the past seven years – and early on to do the tax reductions and lower small business tax and income tax and make our priority in building infrastructure – has been one of the most rewarding professional jobs I’ve had in my life,” McMillan said.

“To leave now, there is so much potential and so much to come to our province.”

McMillan added that he is finding it difficult to leave at a time when the province is growing.

“It feels very good right now that things are going good in the province of Saskatchewan, and it would be very difficult to leave if that wasn’t the case.”

McMillan said that interacting with people as an MLA is probably the biggest thing he will miss about he job.

“As an MLA, you get to work with community leaders and in my seven years as an MLA, I have had the pleasure of working with three mayors in Lloydminster,” he said.

“Working with community leaders who are contributing to their community and the province, is a great thing to be a part of.”

McMillan said that he would miss the people of Lloydminster, whether they lived on the Saskatchewan side or Alberta side.

“I didn’t know if I would like it at first, when I got into politics, when I would be at a grocery store and someone wanted to talk to you about politics or things that were going on,” he said. “I thought that I wouldn’t like it at first but it really was the most fulfilling part of the job.”

McMillan joked that at first it took longer for him to go shopping but, “It’s great to see people engaged in their province.” Many had speculated that with the portfolios that McMillan had during his time in cabinet, Wall was grooming him to be a natural successor to the premier’s chair. McMillan said that it’s nice to hear people think highly of him, and what he has accomplished in his seven years.

“It’s great to hear that people thought I had the capacity to take on a challenge of that nature,” he said.

McMillan officially takes over the role as president of CAPP on Oct. 1, and on that day the Lloydminster constituency office will be closed until a new MLA is elected.

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