MONDAY MORNING COMMENTARY BY LEADER RICK SWENSON
MAY 28, 2018
Good morning everyone! After a three week absence and a whole lot of hours sitting on tractors and fixing old machinery, it's time to get my mind back to what is important for Saskatchewan. Thanks to PC Party President Grant Schmidt for writing the commentary the last three weeks
I'm sure there are a thousand more like me who get tired of the monotony of long hours in the field and constantly worrying about what Mother Nature is up to. It's been very dry in my part of Saskatchewan and for a couple of weeks - for the first time in my living memory - my RM had a total ban on burning. That is the situation across much of our province. A long and hot summer will keep all of us very vigilant and thinking about wild fires.
Since last Wednesday night, we received 6/10" of an inch of rain in a couple of thunderstorms and we are very thankful for it. Some of those lentils that I put into dry dirt may now actually germinate. Saskatchewan needs a three-day soaker in the worst way.
Speaking of things Saskatchewan needs, leadership in one key area that seems to have gone by the wayside. Canada has always been a nation of builders. Our climate dictates that we need to build warm homes and good roads. The size of our country means that we must build good transportation infrastructure to tie our country together and be commercially viable. Nation building occurs when all of our citizens benefit from our rich resource base.
All my life, I have always rejoiced when I heard the words to the song "This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land" because it typifies Canada. The song does not say from the Atlantic to Rogers Pass. It says "From the Atlantic to the Pacific". We have a lack of leadership in this country both federally and provincially. Our Prime Minister is not acting like a Prime Minister and we have provincial Premiers who think they are running banana republics.
When I read a story about how domesticated salmon in pens in coastal British Columbia maybe spreading disease to the wild pacific salmon, I pay attention. Those salmon swimming up the rivers of British Columbia have been a huge asset to Canadians. When drought ravaged Saskatchewan in the 1930's, many of our citizens would go to British Columbia to work in the mining and lumber camps, the canning factories and the fruit orchards in order to sustain themselves through those difficult times of drought and poverty.
For the Premier of British Columbia to suggest that the Pacific Coast of British Columbia is only available to the whims of his Green Party allies is utter and complete nonsense. It appears that being the Premier of British Columbia is the best job that John Horgan has ever had and he will do anything to hang onto it including screwing the rest of Canada if need be.
If we do not smarten up and start thinking like Canadians of old, we will simply turn in to a more civilized version of the old Yugoslavia which split into a whole bunch of entities that went to war with one another and became a disgrace to Europe and cost the lives of thousands.
Prime Minister Trudeau senior, who I had very little regard for, declared the War Measures Act and put the boots to the separatists in Quebec. I believe he would tell Mr. Horgan to fuddle-duddle and get out of the way because Canada needs an oil pipeline to the Pacific Coast. Dief the Chief would be pillaring poor Mr. Horgan from every podium across this country and would have told him to get out of the road because we are building a pipeline. Sir John A. built a railroad across this country because Canada needed to be a nation from sea to shining sea.
Premier Notley refused last week to sit down at the Western Premier's conference with Mr. Horgan for good reason. Our Premier Moe went and evidentially didn't say much because Mr. Horgan told the media after the conference ended that he felt no pressure from his fellow leaders on the pipeline issue at all. I can tell you without a second thought that I would have made it so damn uncomfortable at that Premier's meeting that Mr. Horgan and his officials would have packed up their papers and gone home.
Leadership is about more than your own personal or political well-being. As a Canadian, I care about BC salmon, I care about Ontario's auto workers and I care about the people in the Maritimes who rely on foreign oil because they can't get access to the Canadian product. If we are going to even think about using Canadian taxpayer's dollars to buy out Kinder Morgan, then maybe it's time to go all in and also use the CN right of way to Prince Rupert which the Canadian government has owned for generations and finishing off the energy east project while we are at it to get enough pipeline capacity to make Canada work as it should.
Our Prime Minister - of whatever political stripe - needs to lead this country to energy independence and economic self sufficiency because others around the world will throw us under the bus doing the same thing for their country.
Your feedback is always welcome on anything you read in the Monday Morning
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.
It is time to bring voting in Saskatchewan into the computer age. We need a chipped voter’s card.
Two weeks ago, I called for a smart Health Card to replace our thirty year old now dumb health card. Voter I.D. and our driver’s licence could also benefit from new information technology (IT).
As Minister of SGI, I introduced our first photo driver’s licence. We still have an old tech driver’s licence and no voter’s I.D. card.
Saskatchewan should innovate to develop a universal Sask. I.D. card. A new driver’s licence could be expanded to include a health card and voter’s all-in-one chip card with a photograph on it.
As a phase in, the driver’s licence could show if the card is for a citizen or a legal resident. The driver’s licence with it’s address could be the first voter’s card. Citizens with no driver’s licence would be issued a photo voter’s I.D. card.
Everyone could vote anywhere in Saskatchewan and Elections Saskatchewan would not need to prepare voters’ lists. A card reader would print your ballot from electronic records. After you mark your ballot, your vote would be sent to your constituency electronically after the count.
AND no you could not vote with your phone. If you are not prepared to make the effort to get to one of 2700 polls in Saskatchewan, you are not engaged enough to vote. You will be recorded as don’t care.
One role of Government is to solve problems. STC’s money loosing bus system was a long term problem. The Sask Party’s solution was to terminate STC without a plan.
In ten years, the Sask Party could not figure out how to run a bus company. The Sask Party caused a new problem: No bus service.
A role of Government is to solve problems. This week pcsask.ca has a solution to highway intersection tragedies.
We do not yet know why the semi-trailer truck hit the Humboldt Broncs’ bus. Why did the truck driver not hear audio GPS warnings from a system in his truck?
Available GPS technology can send an audible warning to drivers that they are approaching an intersection, street light, or stop sign.
The Progressive Conservative Party (pcsask.ca) proposes mandatory GPS warning systems in all commercial trucks operating in Saskatchewan.
If a driver hears; warning stop sign 300 meters ahead; warning intersection with a through highway 250 meters; warning stop sign 200 meters ahead, the driver is likely to stop.
The solution will not cost the province any tax money and will cost the trucking companies one-half the price of a tire. The NDP and Sask. Party only understand to throw taxpayers’ money on the problem.
This is another progressive solution from pcsask.ca.
Grant Schmidt - President
PC Party of Saskatchewan
The PC Party of Saskatchewan calls last week’s first Moe budget an illusion of prosperity instead of the promised renewal of a tired SP government. Expectations were high but unfortunately after a week of scrutiny, all we see is a slight of hand.
"To give the government some credit, there were small positives such as funds allocated to provide coverage for HIV drugs and for young children with autism. Financial resources to begin a much-needed rural crime strategy were finally allocated", PC Party Leader Rick Swenson said.
"The illusion is that the province was “on track” to getting their financial house in order but in reality, they are adding $2.3 billion to our debt. The illusion of investing in rural Saskatchewan conflicts with the reality that the dollars this government is spending on servicing our ballooning debt is more than will be spent for transportation of our commodities and the environment. This amount is only slightly less than what is being spent for public safety and agriculture combined.
The PC Party of Saskatchewan is demanding transparency and full disclosure in the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority’s (SLGA) marijuana retail permit selection process.
“This Friday, the Minister responsible for the SLGA has promised more information on the number and make-up of the province’s marijuana store applicants. The Minister has reported that there have been hundreds of applications and that the successful applicants will be determined by a lottery - they will be drawn out of hat. Given the Sask Party government's track record on “deal making”, having this government oversee this lottery process is a gamble that is far too risky to ensure accountability and public safety”, says PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.
Mr. Swenson went on to say, “The PC Party of Saskatchewan is calling on the government to implement two important steps in the approval process. First, transfer the lottery selection process to an independent third party who would do the drawing process in public thus ensuring full and open transparency is achieved. Second, once the successful applicants have been chosen, they must agree to have their company officers and major shareholder names fully disclosed to the public. The Saskatchewan public needs to know and trust the people involved in this very ground-breaking sale of a new restricted substance."
In closing Mr. Swenson had this to say, “Last week’s budget was a great illusion on the realities facing Saskatchewan. It is high time for the Sask Party government to stop their smoke and mirror tactics. They can begin by agreeing to the transparency and disclosure steps that the PC Party have outlined and demand to take place for public safety and accountability”.
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For more information, call Rick Swenson at (306) 631-5461 or Provincial Office at (306) 693-7572.
We are one day short of a week of this year's provincial budget presentation. As usual with these well-crafted documents, particularly if they are crafted by a government who feels political power slipping from their grasp, the devil is in the details.
The initial reaction seemed to be one of relief that there weren't the drastic cuts and tax hikes that occurred in last year's budget. There was no stripping away of money for schools, libraries and the funerals of Saskatchewan's poorest citizens. The changes in the Sask Party brain trust made sure those events wouldn't happen again. The reality is, however, that this Sask Party government is adding $2.3 billion to the provincial debt and is not setting a path for economic growth.
By last Friday, we found out that no matter how good a deal you thought you made with your local car dealer on a used car or truck, you will be charged PST according to what some bureaucrat in SGI deems it is worth. Once again, we have a Crown Corporation being used as a financial milk cow by the Sask Party government.
This is the same old trick the previously NDP governments used by using our Crown Corporations - many of which are monopolies - to back-door tax us. As the days and weeks move on, there will be other examples of cash grabs by this broke Sask Party government that has no vision for the future except winning another provincial election by talking to their base.
The next shoe to drop will probably be a down-grade in Saskatchewan's credit rating so that we can spend more of our hard-earned dollars paying interest on the debt racked up by things like the Regina bypass. One or two overpasses and a few traffic lights would have saved lives and not burdened this province with generations of debt.
I've always believed in my personal life and when I was in government that you borrow money to make money and then when you make money, you can spend it to improve the quality of life for your family and in the case of government, for the citizens of this province. You put in place the incentives that will encourage people to create wealth. The Sask Party has learned how to create wealth for a few of their rich friends and the Party's election bank account. They have forgotten about the rest of us.
In case some of you did not see the release, the PC Party of Saskatchewan will be holding a leadership convention on the 3rd and 4th of November, 2018 in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. I think it is very important that Saskatchewan pays attention to this event, that good people put their name forward to contest this leadership and that the PC Party has a new beginning and therefore gives Saskatchewan voters a choice they currently don't have.
Saskatchewan needs a made-in-Saskatchewan Conservative party that is fiscally responsible and socially progressive. Saskatchewan needs a party that talks about incentives and brings forth policies that brings out Saskatchewan's entrepreneurial excellence so that we can generate the wealth necessary to have a fair and just society.
Stay tuned for some new ideas from the people seeking the leadership of the PC Party and stay tuned for some new ideas coming from the people who have been around the PC Party for a long time and stay tuned for more bad news out of this Sask Party budget.
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.