Yesterday was one of those winter days that everyone can really appreciate in Saskatchewan. The sun was shining, a very light breeze was blowing with the temperature slightly over freezing. After a week of being kept in the house with a dose of that miserable cold/flu that's been going around all of Saskatchewan, it was nice to get out and enjoy one of Saskatchewan's favourite winter activities - ice fishing.
My son Eric and I joined hundreds of other people at Buffalo Pound Lake enjoying the afternoon, caught our limit of yellow perch and simply relaxed from the rigours of our lives. Let's hope we have a few more days like that this winter so that we can forget about the bone-chilling cold which we've all endured over the last month.
The never-ending leadership races which are gripping Saskatchewan politics these days has virtually brought the process of government to a standstill. I know from visiting people involved in municipal government and third-party non-profit organizations that there is a growing sense of foreboding about the budget process. I think everyone is anticipating another tough budget and are wondering when the Sask Party government is going to get its focus off of choosing a new leader and getting on with what they were elected to do in the spring of 2016. The budget process appears to be far behind schedule.
It is very seldom that I've ever let weather events get in the road of jumping in the truck and going places. I fully intended on attending Crop Production week in Saskatoon as I have for many, many years. Last Tuesday's rain and snow storm stopped me in my tracks. The idea of driving in those conditions was too much for his hardened Saskatchewan farm boy. I'm sure many others felt the same way.
By all accounts, the show was a tremendous success and a showcase for Saskatchewan agriculture and innovation. My hat is off to the people that work so hard to make this happen each and every year in Saskatoon.
I particularly wanted to see some of the information that was available to producers on the subject of inter-cropping. This is the growing practice of sowing two different crops together and harvesting a mixture that has a greater potential for monetary reward and building soil health.
When you combine this with some of the new opportunities developing with cover crops, it is an exciting new development to strengthen our agricultural base. Combining the livestock sector with these new developments can only make western Canadian agriculture an exciting and profitable place to be for many years to come.
The PC Party has always been a strong proponent of agricultural diversification and value-adding our agricultural production. Along with protecting our land base from unscrupulous outside investment schemes, we as a Party have always believed in the entrepreneurial spirit of our farming and ranching families. One of my great disappointments has been the lack of efforts by our current Sask Party government during the best of economic times to do things like expanding our irrigation acres and expanding our value-added processing. Irrigation has proven to be one of the cornerstones of value-added processing. You only have to drive through southern Alberta to view the results of concerted policy initiatives in this area.
PC Party president Grant Schmidt announces that Mr. Stu Esson is leaving his position at the PC provincial office effective August 1, 2017. “I would like to thank Stu for his dedication to the party, executive and the members of our caucus and for his time and effort on behalf of our party. During Stu’s time as executive director we have seen an increase in support for the PC Party across the province and Stu’s hard work helped ensure that the PC Party ran the most candidates in the 2016 election that it has run since the 1995 general election. His hard work on our behalf means that the PC Party will continue to gain momentum, new candidates and new leadership in the years to come. Stu’s last day in the office will be July 31, 2017 and we wish him well in his future endeavours.”
PC Party Leader Rick Swenson echoes Mr. Schmidt’s comments and added “I really appreciated the personal rapport and dedication which Stu put forth on my behalf as leader of the party and keeping our office functioning at a high level during the most hectic days of the last provincial election campaign. Without his efforts I could not have been travelling across the province spreading the PC message.”
The PC Party of Saskatchewan is pleased to announce that the time and place for a nomination meeting for the Saskatoon Fairview by-election has been set.
Party President Grant Schmidt states “We have booked the 2nd level Theatre of the Cosmo Civic Centre for a 7:30 pm meeting, Thursday August 3.”
Party Leader Rick Swenson will be speaking at the nomination meeting.
The Cosmo Civic Centre is located at 3130 Laurier Drive in Saskatoon.
Mr. Schmidt concluded “Deadline for nominations is noon, Monday, July 24, so we will know at that time if the nomination will be contested.”
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Every once in a while a public policy issue comes along and seems to take on a life of its own. The policy issue I'm referring to is the proposed carbon tax. The problem with an initiative like this is the fact that most of us don't have the necessary knowledge base to make rational decisions and secondly, this is an issue that is open to political grand standing.
Various forms of carbon taxes have been the reality in several Canadian provinces for a number of years now. They were instituted in order to start addressing the effects of climate change and changing the way that our society uses various forms of energy. So it is a big area of public policy. Not everyone agrees with climate change in the first place and whether you come from a consuming province or a producing province also can affect your views on this issue. We have all witnessed the war of words between the Premier of Saskatchewan and the Federal Liberal government who has decided that all provinces will have some form of carbon tax by 2018.
My hat goes off to the APAS organization for sponsoring a conference in Saskatoon last week on this topic in conjunction with their semi-annual meeting. They brought in speakers from across Canada and put together a very in depth presentations by people who have studied all aspects of the carbon issue. The conference was very well attended with a wide spectrum of Saskatchewan's population attending. The APAS organization is to be commended for a first-class effort at helping us understand where we all fit in this very complex issue.
We have to feel for our fellow Canadians living in central British Columbia as wildfires rage through that part of beautiful BC. Hot dry weather along with the ravages of the bark pine beetle which has left millions of dead trees in BC's forest have created the perfect storm for people living in that area. One only has to wonder if the heat keeps up in Saskatchewan if we will not face some of the same challenges soon.
It's been a long time since I've seen hay crops dry down so quickly. I'm baling heavy alfalfa swaths in less than 48 hours. Many producers in Saskatchewan are going to be faced with a feed shortage this winter if they did not conserve hay stocks from the previous wet years. You can certainly see the damages that are occurring to many other crops that cannot take day-after-day above 30 degrees celsius with no rain. Let's keep our fingers crossed that there is a change in the weather for a whole lot of reasons.
It would appear from the newscasts and the live coverage of various events celebrating Canada's 150th birthday that it went very well all across the country. The weather cooperated in most parts of Canada and here in Saskatchewan, we certainly had a beautiful day.
I think Canadians have really come to understand that Canada is truly a very privileged place in which to live. I think for a long time we were envious of other peoples and I can remember growing up, people would say "I would like to live in this country or that country" after they grew up and received their education. One only has to look around at the various peoples who have immigrated to Canada and why they have come here to understand how fortunate we are.