“Ministers Boyd, Heppner and McMorris may be gone, but taxpayers are still on the hook for more than $2 billion because of their poor decision making on the GTH and the South Regina Bypass. When you add in other cabinet mistakes Mr. Wall had no choice but to go looking for new faces. Hopefully the new Minister for the GTH, Mr. Harrison, will release information the public has been asking for, like who was the special advisor in negotiating with third parties on behalf of Bill Boyd.” said PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.
“The PC Party of Saskatchewan would like to congratulate the new ministers on their appointments to the cabinet and hope they will be more in touch with the taxpayers and the users of government services in Saskatchewan. Many of the former ministers they are replacing obviously were dropping the ball in portfolios such as Social Services, the Environment, highways and educating our youth.”
We all know how important it is to chose the right words when communicating a problem to other people. Often times in the English language, a new word comes along and defines something that has been a problem but couldn't be explained easily. This spring you have heard a lot of people and especially Brad Wall talking about "transformational change". The word transformational, in the minds of most people, is talking about a fundamental shift or a total reconstruct of whatever item is being referred to.
During the last provincial election campaign, the PC Party talked about and campaigned on just such a thing in our health care system. We made a very strong argument that the health region structure imposed upon Saskatchewan's health care by an NDP government over 20 years ago has not worked out. We have a large bureaucratic, unaccountable and expensive system of health care delivery which we cannot afford and which does not provide the necessary services. We said it should go and Saskatchewan health care should be returned to a system where health dollars are accounted for in the Legislative Assembly and there is a system of accountability flowing from that change through all levels of health care delivery.
Health Minister Dustin Duncan’s announcement of a three person panel to review the current Regional Health Authority structure will not lead to any transformational change. That is opinion of PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.
“This panel is an example of government micromanagement by the Premier’s office highlighted by the appointment of the former chair of the Premier’s own health region to the panel. In fact, two thirds of the panel members are Sask Party appointees to Health Regions and the third has been appointed by the Sask Party government in other areas of health care. I think it will be very difficult for this panel to stray very far from whatever direction the government wants to go.” said Swenson. “Why not put some people from the front line on this panel? They are the ones who know what changes are needed and what health care was like before the NDP imposed the health regions.”
There are two items that I wish to comment on this morning. Both of these items show that our Sask Party government is drifting along on major policy issues that need long-term vision.
A little over a week ago I drove up to Craik, Saskatchewan to meet with a group of people from that area about rural health care and where is it going to go in the near future and long term. As you are all aware in the last election campaign, the PC Party campaigned vigorously on the removal of the health regions and putting accountability and responsibility for health care delivery back into the Legislative Assembly.
Cabinet Minister Bill Boyd has announced he is stepping down from cabinet before the expected cabinet shuffle later this month. “Before he steps down, Mr. Boyd should provide some answers to the taxpayers of Saskatchewan.” That is the opinion of PC Party Leader, Rick Swenson.
“With all the questionable dealings Mr. Boyd has been involved with, the taxpayers of Saskatchewan deserve some answers. I am sure the taxpayers would like to know who was the special advisor, identified in the Auditor’s Report, who negotiated the Global Transportation Hub deal with the land speculators. The residents of Saskatchewan deserve to know exactly what kind of deal Mr. Boyd negotiated with Yancoal when he travelled to China in 2014.”
“There are many questions that remain unanswered about the Carbon Capture boondoggle and the Smart metre Fiasco. Perhaps now that Minister Boyd is stepping down he would like to answer them.”
“If Mr. Boyd is not willing to step forward and answer to the people of Saskatchewan, then the Premier should be responsible to answer for the mismanaged affairs of his minister.”
“The Sask Party government mismanaged the boom, and is now desperately searching for ways to claw back some of the money they have wasted. The taxpayers deserve to know what happened to the billions of dollars lost under the not-so-watchful eye of Minister Boyd.”
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“Once again, the Sask Party government is showing their arrogance and short-sightedness by conditionally approving the Yancoal Potash Mine Project near Southey and having total disregard for the taxpayers of this province.” That is the opinion of PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.
“The Sask Party decision is very narrow in scope. Instead of showing leadership by addressing many of the concerns of the local residents, they offload the responsibility to the RM of Longlaketon and members of the community, who don’t have the clout the provincial government would have in these negotiations. Yancoal has already displayed an unwillingness to work with many of the local residents and I don’t foresee this decision changing that.”
Here we are in the first week of August - which is normally our hottest and driest part of the year - and we are having almost daily and nightly thunderstorms. Last night, we had a real loud display of Mother Nature's power along with another 9/10" of an inch of rain. All the folks trying to combine lentils and peas in this area do not need more moisture at this time. This story seems to be repeating itself all across Saskatchewan with devastating consequences for both urban and rural residents. Let's hope this lets up for a few weeks and get some of this crop harvested in good condition to meet our export commitments.
Speaking about weathering storms and living up to your commitments, it seems we are going to have a new Deputy Premier sometime today because the last one obviously didn't practice what he preached. Don McMorris, Minister in charge of SLGA and the campaign against impaired driving in Saskatchewan, was charged with impaired driving Friday night. He has subsequently resigned from Cabinet and has withdrawn from the Sask Party caucus for the time being.