When out on his motorcycle, Gord Wyant prefers the back roads to the easily traveled highways.
“All the state roads go through the small towns and that’s where all the colour is on a motorcycle trip,” Wyant explained.
In fact he recalled stopping at a bar for a beer last summer during a journey through Nebraska.
“As we walk in the owner is holding a gun on us, and he says: ‘are you guys armed?’ We say ‘no’ and my friend answered: ‘we’re from Canada.’ He put the gun away,” Wyant said with a laugh.
Turns out the bar owner was still a little nervous after he’d been robbed a few weeks earlier by a couple of guys on motorcycles.
“So we sat down and spent about three hours with the guy and he was a Vietnam veteran and he started telling us the stories of his experiences in Vietnam and it was really cool,” Wyant said.
“Those are the types of experiences you get.”
It isn’t a tale you might expect from the province’s former justice minister and attorney-general.
First elected as MLA for Saskatoon Northwest in a 2010 by-election, Wyant is a lawyer and was made Queen’s Counsel in 2009.
That’s a very different profile than you might expect seeing him on his motorcycle with riding gloves and a leather jacket. But Wyant’s love of motorcycles started when he bought his first bike at 16 and it has been a passion ever since.
“It’s just great being out on the road, there’s really nothing like it,” Wyant described.
Much like a job interview, Wyant was asked about the qualities he possessed that would shape the sort of premier he would be.
“I think my greatest strength is my ability to listen. I spend a lot of time listening to people and thinking about what they have to say. That has been one of the great advantages about this five-month campaign and going out and listening to people and just connecting with them,” Wyant said.
He said he still has trouble when it comes to waiting for results.
“I don’t have a lot of patience with the glacial pace of change, especially in government. When you need to help somebody, you want to make sure you can get that done as quickly as possible. It’s a frustration for me.”
Wyant said his breadth of experience makes him stand out from the other candidates. He has served as a school board trustee, a Saskatoon city councillor and on various public and private boards stemming from his time as a lawyer.
Some might be surprised to learn of another of Wyant’s obsessions.
“I’ve always been just intrigued by silent auctions, and I‘m not sure I ever get a very good deal when it comes to them because once you become fixated on something, you’ll pay whatever you want for it,” he said.
He admitted to having a hard time finding a bid he wouldn’t make.
“I do have a sign in my garage that says, ‘my greatest fear is when I die my wife will sell all my stuff for what I told her I paid for it,’” he said with a laugh.
There may be a number of history books up for grabs in that sale. Asked what historical figure he would want to share a meal with, Wyant answered John F Kennedy, specifically to ask him questions about the Cuban Missile crisis.
“I am a student of history, I just think it was fascinating from a political perspective, from an international relations perspective,” Wyant said. “I mean there’s lot of other characters too, wouldn’t you like to be in the war room with Churchill at a cabinet meeting? That would be fascinating.”
If he doesn’t write a history book, Wyant said he would one day like to compile all his writings and have them published.
He won the Sterling Writing Award in 1999 and it is his real passion.
“We will be on a motorcycle trip and it drives my friends crazy because I will pull over by the side of the road if something comes into my mind, and I have to write it down on a little piece of paper as a reminder that I want to write something more about that. They always end up a few miles ahead of me and we meet at the next gas station,” Wyant laughed.
If he’s successful in this leadership race, Wyant may soon be writing about being premier.
“I made a decision that I think I have a voice I want people to hear in terms of where I want this province to go and what I want to see it accomplish.”