Thursday marked Premier Brad Wall’s final day in the Saskatchewan legislative assembly before he retires from politics in January.

At the end of question period, members of Wall’s Saskatchewan Party and the opposition NDP stood to pay tribute to the outgoing premier.

Deputy Premier Don Morgan told stories of pranks pulled by Wall during their time in office together.

“You will be missed,” Morgan said to Wall at the end of his speech. “Every one of us regards Brad as a friend. To him, I say, ‘Thank you, and don’t be a stranger.’ To all of us, he’s been not just a colleague, but also a friend. He knows who has health issues, who is dealing with aging parents, who is dealing with children. He cares, and it shows.”

NDP interim leader Nicole Sarauer also spoke about her time serving across from Wall.

“No matter what one thinks about his politics, and no matter how one feels about some of the decisions he’s made along the way, I think we can all agree that the personal commitment and dedication the premier has shown, and the sacrifices he has made for our province, are worthy of respect and gratitude.”

Wall was elected as leader of the Saskatchewan Party in 2004 and led the party to victory in 2007. He has served as premier of Saskatchewan ever since.

Sarauer added in her speech he was a worthy opponent in her time in politics.

“After a decade in office and even with the economy coming down from the boom years, he is still the most popular premier in our country,” she said. “So I think he’ll understand that it’s fair to say there are many in our party who are not too sad to not see the premier go on to other things.”

Wall was emotional during his speech, thanking the legislative assembly and speaking about what he felt were his successes as premier, including bringing more newcomers into the province and creating the graduation retention program to keep people in the province. He likened his departure — giving up his titles as MLA for Swift Current and premier of Saskatchewan — to a transaction.

“I’m excited by the prospects that will follow,” Wall said while wiping away tears. “I am profoundly grateful for what I give up in the transaction today. But, I am even more grateful for what I get back. As for either side of this transaction, what I might give up and what I know that I gain, I have not, and I still do not, deserve any of it.”

Following question period, Wall told reporters he was “feeling okay” about his final day at the legislature.

“It’s an amazing room and some of the best memories of my life were made there,” he said. “It really is an honour to hear the speaker say, ‘I recognize the member for Swift Current. I recognize the premier.’”

Wall will serve as premier until a new leader of the Saskatchewan Party is elected on Jan. 27 in Saskatoon.