Weyburn-Big Muddy MLA Dustin Duncan gave his farewell remarks in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly Wednesday afternoon. After serving as the MLA for the past 18 years, he will not be seeking re-election when the next vote is held. While he will still officially be MLA until the writ for the election is dropped, this week is the last week of the spring session of the Assembly and will be the last time the MLAs sit before the election is officially called.  

Here is the transcript of Duncan’s speech, where he thanks the people of the constituency, his colleagues, and his family for their support since he was first elected in 2006: 

"Mr. Speaker, I rise for the final time as the member for Weyburn-Big Muddy, and I do so with nothing but a heart full of love and gratitude. These past 18 years have been and will be among the greatest honours I will ever experience to be a member of this Assembly and of this government. We have done so much together, imperfect as we have been and, most assuredly, as imperfect as I have been. 

But, Mr. Speaker, I won't devote my remaining moments in this Chamber to recount projects that we have built, though there have been many, including in my constituency, nor the policies that we have pursued, though they have been significant. No, Mr. Speaker, projects and policies and plans will have to wait until another day. This afternoon, I'm going to devote this time on the people—the people I worked for, the people I worked with and the people I love the most. 

In doing so, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to name some individuals. That's right, Mr. Speaker, I'm going to name names. But of course, the danger in that is I'm going to forget someone or I'm going to leave someone out. 

The error is mine, not theirs. In 2006, the good people of Weyburn-Big Muddy took a chance on a 26-year-old—for lack of a better word—kid, who had a lot to learn about them and even more to learn about himself. I will always be grateful to the constituents for that. 

I cannot thank them enough. They have rooted for me. They have encouraged me and confided in me. 

I've always felt that, even those who may have been against me politically speaking, I've always felt that they were pulling for me. I think that they knew if I did well, that the constituency would as well. I've always thought that as the people I represent gave me their support, that I would in return always do my best, work my hardest and hopefully in a way that reflected the dignity in which they lived their lives day in and day out, and that at the end of it, they would see the fruit of our labour and consider it a fair trade. 

The people of Weyburn-Big Muddy have held up their end of the bargain. I hope they think I have as well. Along the way, I was supported by the most incredible people, constituency executive members and campaign volunteers, all the way back to that by-election and that first nomination in 2006 that preceded it—people like Marilyn and Garth, Earl and Karen, folks from out west like Blair, Morris and Mike, Dick and Herb, Chairman Murray, Dale and Davin and that entire family—Phil, Mike, Jeff, Pat, Rob, John, Brenda, Dan Cugnet, who's here today, and my most recent campaign manager for the last three elections, my Aunt Donette. So many people who put up signs, knocked on doors, travelled through the constituency with me, who gave me their support. 

I know I'm missing a few, but thank you to them all. Over the years, we lost a couple of really important members of that team, and I just want to say a few words about each of them. First, Ken Cugnet. 

It's a lot harder with Dan here. Kenny was a pillar of the oil industry, and when I was just starting out, he and Dale Mainil took me around to meet members of the business community and conferred upon me a bit of credibility that I didn't yet own. Bill Giblett. 

Bill was a wonderful man from Bengough, who served for many years as the Reeve of the R.M. and countless community activities. He and his wife, Joyce, opened their home to me on more than one occasion. It seems that they always knew when I needed a rest or maybe just another cup of coffee, and they were always there for me. 

Grant Brooks. Mr. Brooks was my geotrig teacher in high school, and despite that, and despite my rather poor showing in his class, he was one of my most enthusiastic supporters, always with a smile on his face. Ross Beaubier. 

The Bobiers and the Traceys, my mother's family, go back at least three generations in Halbrite. I sure miss Ross's friendship, his encouragement and all that he poured into my life. To all of our friends back home, Ryan and Kim, Schmitty, Mark Schmidt, my oldest friend in the world, and to new friends, Kelly and Jeremy, Aaron and Stu, Janelle and Marco and so many others, we're looking forward to hopefully having more time to connect and reconnect with old friends and new. 

Thank you all for your support over all these years. To the people of Weyburn-Big Muddy, I just cannot begin to thank you enough. That's a bit about the people I got to work for, the people that I got to work with. 

I think many of you have heard me say that after a school trip to this building in about grade 2 or 3, I went home that night and I told my parents I knew where I was going to work someday. To say that this has been a dream only begins to describe it. This is such a special place to work. 

I was reminded of that today when I was on my way to work after dropping the boys off from school and crossing over the bridge and just taking a glimpse at the building, amongst the trees and the flags that were waving, and just realizing that it is as grand as it has ever been in my mind. It's the people who make it that way, from the cleaners, the cafeteria staff, everyone in legislative and member services, the Parliamentary Heritage Program, the security staff, the guys in IT who are doing the audio and visual — thanks for showing my good side — to the table clerks and all who support you behind the scenes. To Hansard, the building management, Steve, Jeff and Ralph, I want to thank Steve especially for helping me first overcome my dislike of asymmetrical office furniture, but especially for a gift that he gave today over the last 24 hours. 

I also want to thank the member from Rosetown-Elrose. Earlier this spring session, during an evening sitting when I wasn't sitting, I picked the kids up from home and we came and sat in the gallery to watch a couple of minutes of the proceedings. Then we toured around the building. 

Going back to my office, I have a lot of artwork on the walls that my kids have done, and one really massive picture that hangs over the couch that the kids have painted a couple of years ago for me. Ephraim was especially disappointed when we were leaving the building that while he was I think happy that it was in my office, he saw all this other beautiful — and some not so much — artwork hanging on the walls of this building, and he was to the point where he was in tears that his artwork wasn't hanging in the hallways of this building. I said, well, maybe someday it will. 

I told that story just yesterday to the member from Rosetown-Elrose, and he went and talked to Steve yesterday. That painting, for at least a day, is hanging outside my office on the hallway. I can't thank my friend from Rosetown and Steve Bata enough for making that happen. 

To the librarians — and I even have an exclamation point — thank you for all your help over the years. It is a toss-up whether my favourite room in this building is this room, the Chamber, or the library. Who am I kidding? 

It's the library. To the public service, led by a tremendous individual in Raynell Wilson, thank you, Mrs. Wilson, for all of your help. I have worked with and have been supported by the most remarkable women and men of the public service. 

I owe them my thanks and my appreciation, and there are far too many of them for me to name, but I thank them all for their help over the years. Thank you to the government caucus staff — Ange and the team and John before her, in my view, the caucus staff are the unsung heroes of this place. To all of the ministerial staff, I am continually reminded of and inspired by the dedication and professionalism that each of you bring to this government. 

I have been surrounded by great staff over the years, more chiefs of staff than I can count. There are a few people that are here today — Bradshaw, Morgan Bradshaw, one of my chiefs. Dale Richardson, thanks for being here, Dale. 

Dale was a ministerial assistant to my office in health. I don't think he's here today, but I do want to mention Graham Stewart. Graham door-knocked for me in the 2007 election. 

I didn't know Graham, but I knew him by reputation only for the fact that he had built fence for the cognates, and that was all the seal of approval that I needed. Mitch Graw, who stands 10 feet tall in the most difficult of situations. My current staff, Mr. Speaker — Dawn, Cindy, Linda, Robin and Mike — I regret that our time is going to be too short together. And David Keoghan. I was told by the Premier to call you Chicken Coop. David was actually a summer student of mine about 10 years ago, and I'll say this, Mr. Speaker. I have been so impressed with these individuals that I get to work with, and in particular I have witnessed David in a room full of some of the most influential businesspeople, not just in this country but globally. There are times where I think I should be staffing him, not the other way around. I just appreciate all of these folks so much. 

To people in the Premier's office who have been such great support over the years, I especially want to point out Rhonda and Lana and Ruth before them. Oftentimes, when I have a school trip, a school group that comes up from my constituency, or if I know the teacher from a different constituency, I'll join them on that tour or maybe just constituents that come up. After the tour ends, with the approval of the ladies in the Premier's office, I will have arranged for the tour to come in and see the Cabinet Room. 

Sometimes when he's not there, the Premier's office as well. You might not have known that. You cannot imagine the looks on these kids' faces when they think they've toured the building. 

Then you say, well, come with me, and you get to show them into the Cabinet Room and sometimes the Premier's office and how wide their eyes get. I want to thank Rhonda and Lana for that and for the lemon tea that they always make sure that they have on hand for me. Mr. Speaker, people like Shannon Andrews, Julie Leggett, Reggie Dunlop, Drew Dwernychuk—another former chief of staff of mine, a heck of a job, Brownie—Cathy Young, and I do want to mention that I know the Minister for Advanced Education mentioned Joe Donlevy. I do want to say a couple of things about the late Joe Donlevy. Mr. Speaker, he was a character, and to this day I still don't know everything that Joe was trying to tell me. He would say things like, if you don't like the answer, change the question. 

Or if you had a project, you were working on something, he'd say, well, just take that thing and bolt it onto the side. You'd be like, I don't know what that means, Joe. I think one of my favourites is one time Cam Baker, who was my chief of staff, we were standing in the hallway and Joe was walking down the hallway and came to us. 

We awkwardly made some small talk with Joe about some environment issue that Joe really had no interest in. Then Joe looked at me and he said, I just got off the phone, Weyburn's good, and walked away. I thought, what does that even mean, Weyburn's good? 

Was Weyburn not good? Was there an issue that I didn't know about? Who would he be on the phone with from Weyburn that would know that Weyburn was good? 

Maybe I should know that person, Mr. Speaker. There are so many people in a variety of roles inside and outside the building who I have known and worked with, really, for 20 years, going back to when I was on the staff in the Opposition Office. We had a lot of fun in Opposition. 

I was just reminded the other day of a name that we had given ourselves in the research office, in that very small but mighty research office. We called ourselves the CACPAC. It was led by T2. 

There were people like me, Will Shen, and I think Bill Cooper was there at the time, and James Saunders, who, by the way, James applied for a job that I applied for, and he actually got the job. I'll just say this. We are better as a government for the fact that James got that job and I didn't get that first job. 

We called ourselves CACPAC. We named ourselves, unofficially named ourselves, for a prominent social activist who, at the time, was running for Regina City Council. So if you're wondering where CACPAC comes from, we were the Citizens Against Conway Political Action Committee. 

The more things change, the more things stay the same. 

I'm grateful to be associated with people like James Saunders and Patrick Bundrock and everybody who has worked at the party office and the work that they do. Mr. Speaker, and Reg Downs. I have been blessed to work alongside and to know Reg for the last 20 years. I think he's a genius, but I think the thing that I will remember the most is that often in big events, like when caucus gets together to kind of recap the budget and Reg will kind of give the final, like, here's the messaging around the budget. And you can tell by the way he gets choked up, the pride he has in what we're doing as a government, but more especially the pride he has in this province. 

There is nothing that gets me choked up more than watching Reg Downs get choked up. Sorry if only staying for 18 years has been a disappointment, Reg. Finally, to Marcie Swedberg, the constituency assistant for 25 years who I've had the great pleasure of working with these past 18. 

The timing of my leaving is perfect, as I have always said that I would not do this job without her, and as it turned out, and I mentioned yesterday when she was here, Marcie had already been planning to retire this year. She and her husband Blair have been a constant source of strength for me. She and I hope she doesn't mind me saying this, she's been like a second mother to me, always making sure that I'm up to speed on issues in the office, but more than that, always making sure that I'm mindful of everything from highway conditions to the condition of my heart. 

I said it yesterday, I could not have asked to work for a better boss than you, Marcie. You have served the people of Weyburn-Big Muddy with great distinction. To my caucus colleagues of today and days past, people who don't live this life probably can't understand how close the bonds become. 

There is nothing like it. We are a family. We have shared great victories and witnessed each other's defeats. 

We have celebrated new life, the birth of children and grandchildren, weddings and graduations, Olympic medals. We have bared each other's grief, and we have mourned our very own. We have cried together, but boy, have we laughed. 

Colleagues, for the times that I could be the cause of those laughs or to put a smile on your face, you have no idea how happy that has made me. I'm going to miss that. I want to thank my colleagues for their support over the years, in particular the member from Batoche, Indian Head-Milestone, Saskatoon-Southeast, Saskatoon-Willow Grove, you, Mr. Speaker, and the member from Humboldt. You recall, as I mentioned, in 2006, before being elected, I worked in the caucus office. To these members and those who were elected at that time, not only did you help get me elected, but you welcomed me with open arms. I never for a moment felt like a junior member, and that is something I will never forget. 

I especially want to thank the member from Humboldt, the Deputy Premier. I was on a road trip staffing a group of MLAs that included her. We were going to Yorkton, and that's where I first met the member from Yorkton. 

Then we went to Tisdale, and I met the member from Carrot River Valley. The group was going on, I think, to Prince Albert, but the member from Humboldt and I decided we were coming back to Regina early. At that time, there were some meetings in Weyburn, and I got a phone call—I think I was in Yorkton at the time—from a member of the Executive back home, saying that I should come down and meet the Executive. 

There were some people that thought I should look at the nomination, and I shared that with Amanda. Then on the drive home, I got up the courage to share that with the member from Humboldt Now, my memory may be wrong. She could have been saying, well, that's a terrible idea, but I don't think that's what she said. 

I remember the member from Humboldt saying, you should do it, and she doesn't know how much that encouragement meant to me. One of my favourite quotes is the Teddy Roosevelt quote called The Man in the Arena. I'm not going to read the whole thing, but in part, it says, It's not the critic who counts. 

Credit belongs to the man, and I would add, parenthetically, the woman who is actually in the arena with the people I have served with. The member from Rosetown-Elrose is like an older, older brother to me, but he is like a brother. Mr. Speaker, my friend from Meadow Lake, who I first met at a political youth convention—not just a youth convention, a youth policy convention in university—but I will say this. In 2015, in the middle of session, when I was a health minister, members will recall that I needed to be away from the House for a little bit to take care of some personal matters. When I came back, the members from Meadow Lake and Nancy Heppner were the first people to put their arms around me and welcome me back. I won't forget that. 

My seatmates, people like the Justice Minister, the member from Yorkton, who always had my back when we were health ministers together, my new and great friend, the member from Melford, who I think saw in me a guy who knew how to play checkers but encouraged me to learn how to play chess. Really, all of you colleagues, I could not have handpicked better people that I'd want to be in the arena with. Finally, to the two premiers that I've been honoured to work alongside and who I am blessed to call my friends, I want to share really quickly just a couple of stories. 

One thing about Brad Wall. When I was Environment Minister, Brad first tasked me, and he said, you know, I have three priorities, and I don't remember exactly what they were, but it was something like clean air and clean water, and then the third one might have been a water strategy or something like that. So I would get working on some things, and I would bring something to Cabinet, and he would get a little bit, I think, exasperated with me, because it would be something that I was working on that weren't necessarily those three things. 

And it was, I just wanted clean air and clean water and a multi-material recycling program, and that was never on the three list. And then the next time I would bring something to Cabinet, he would say, I just wanted three things, clean air and clean water, and the third thing was something entirely brand new. I may be exaggerating, that may have been exaggerated, no, apparently it's not, but the three things have become a bit of a running theme around our offices. 

And both Premiers, I will say, developed a pretty good habit of maybe surprising me with announcements. Maybe not necessarily that the thing was being announced, but just that it was being announced either on the radio or maybe in a speech. We didn't know neither. 

But, Mr. Speaker, I will always be indebted to Brad Wall for the faith that he placed in me and to the Premier from Shellbrook for the trust that he gave me. I'm going to miss you all, colleagues, maybe even some of you across the way. And finally, Mr. Speaker, to the people I love the most. As much as I have been honoured to represent the people of Weyburn-Big Muddy over these past 18 years, I'm also mindful that in some ways I'm standing here representing my family. I come from pretty inauspicious beginnings. Around the time of my first election, we had a Duncan family reunion where a couple of distant cousins told of going to Keith Hall, the largest estate in Scotland where my great-grandfather was born, and upon doing some digging while there, found out that James Duncan wasn't born in Keith Hall, but behind it, where all the other servants lived. 

Mr. Speaker, 150 years ago, Duncans were but humble servants, and I've tried to remain that way to this day. In some ways, I have performed these duties with them in mind—aunts and uncles, cousins and in-laws, especially Amanda's late father, Alan, and her mother, Donna, one of my many, many prayer warriors. And my grandparents, three of four of whom I was blessed to know, two of whom were alive to see me elected—that's my grandma, Grandpa Tracy, and the one that remains, Grandpa Tracy. 

He's 95 years old, living in special care home in Weyburn, who has been to this building, I think, twice in his life, the second being my first swearing-in in 2006, and the first time being when the NDP introduced Bill No. 42 in 1973 that decimated the oil industry. It's the only political thing I'm going to say today. 

Grandpa's memory is still pretty good, although from time to time he has to distinguish me from the other grandsons by asking if I'm the politician. We're going to have to work on something new, Grandpa. My brother and my sister and their families have supported me from day one. 

Rumour has it that on the night of the 2011 election, the Tommy Douglas statue in Weyburn was wearing a Dustin Duncan campaign shirt, and that my brother may or may not have been involved. I can neither confirm nor deny this. Thanks Dallas and Megan for all your support. 

A word about my parents. One of the most surreal moments was in 2017, as Minister of Energy and Resources, to be in beautiful St. Andrews-by-the-Sea at an FPT on behalf of the people of this province, knowing that somewhere in southeast Saskatchewan my dad was at work, helping to move the oil that we produce in this province for the very same company that he started in 1976 with not much more than a grade 8 education. Upon my election in 2006, the very first words I said to our gathered supporters in Weyburn were, not too bad for the son of a truck driver from Halbrite. 

I love you, Dad, and I hope that I've made you proud. Mr. Speaker, our parents did the best with what they had, and my mom made many sacrifices along the way. By the time she was 19, she had a snot-nosed toddler — that would be my aforementioned brother — and a sweet, sweet, precious babe on her hip, and Megan would come along into our lives a couple of years later. 

Could she have imagined that that baby would someday have a desk 26 inches away from the Premier of Saskatchewan? Mom, this season has come to a close, so you can stop worrying, although I'm going to be unemployed in a couple of months, so you might worry about that. But thank you for all your love and support. 

Mr. Speaker, I cannot begin to describe the role that Amanda has played in my life. The bride of my youth, literally. This July, we will celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary. 

These past 25 years have not been easy. I haven't made them easy. But I am incredibly fortunate that she refused to allow me to settle for anything less than my best — for myself, for her and for our family. 

Proverbs asks, Who can find a virtuous and capable wife? She is more precious than rubies. And she is. 

She has given me so many incredible gifts, but I think the four that mean the most to me are — well, three of them are sitting next to her. And the fourth is that she has allowed me to be fully known and fully loved. Thank you, Amanda. 

I love you, and I'm ready and excited for what's next for us. In closing, Mr. Speaker, I have a confession to make. When I first arrived here, or even in the years before that happened, when standing here was but a dream with equal parts hubris and naivete, I thought maybe someday I could make a speech that would be remembered. 

I'm a student of history, and so those are the sorts of things that interest me. But with a lot of experience and maturity, I'm content in the knowledge that not much of what I've had to say over these past 18 years will be remembered by many, including me, not more than five minutes after I walk out these doors, and I'm okay with that. But I'm so grateful that what I'm going to say in the next few minutes will be recorded by Hansard so that its intended audience — and it's only an audience of three — can go back and read these words whenever they need encouragement or direction, or maybe just to get a glimpse of the kind of person their dad wants to be. 

In our home, we try to make a practice to speak words over our children, the things that we believe for them and in them, and the things that we want to come to pass. And so, to our three. One. 

Jack Alexander, you are the head and not the tail. Ephraim Henry, you are the head and not the tail. Penelope Nala, you are the head and not the tail. 

Two. Honour your mother. She has made so many sacrifices for you and for us. 

She has put aside her desires and ambitions. And she is so full of wisdom, and if you pay attention, you'll hear it from her. Like when she reminds us that there is no joy because there is no sacrifice. 

Why does she make these sacrifices? Because she wants you to know joy, not just happiness. Happiness is fleeting. 

Joy is eternal. Honour your mother. 

Three. I hope and trust and pray that each of you will find a partner to share your life with like I have found in her. And when you do, share everything with that person. Your hopes and your dreams and your fears and your failures and the things that bring you shame. 

To be 99% known is to be unknown. To be 99% known is to be unknown. 

Four. Never ever be afraid to ask for help. Asking for help is never a sign of weakness. It's always a sign of strength. 

And I wish, I sure wish I would have learned that sooner. 

And last but first, love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. He is never against you. He is always for you. And so will I be. 

Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Thank you. Thank you."