Three stories about the neglect of our north came up within the span of about a week. Two of the stories were picked up by the mainstream media and one was documented on social media.
Gloria Desjarlais, 71 years of age from Buffalo Narrows, began a fundraising trek of 750 km to raise funds for a long term care facility in her community. Desjarlais recounted her dismay when elders in her community had to move sometimes up to five hours from the community to get long term care. The disturbing thing here is why has the local NDP MLA, a former cabinet minister in the Calvert and Romanow governments, not advocated for a home in this community? It appears just as the Saskatchewan Party has taken rural Saskatchewan support for granted so too the NDP has taken the support of northerners for granted also.
The second story to come out was of Glen Sinclair of Meadow Lake. Mr Sinclair has been forced to start a funding initiative, also consisting of a walk, so he can make the trip from Meadow Lake to Saskatoon to receive cancer treatments. Mr Sinclair cited the loss of STC service as a significant obstacle for him to remain in his community and look after his health. The real tragedy with the loss of STC was the complete lack of a provincial transportation initiative to replace what was once there.(Meadow lake now.com story by Tyler Marr)
The third story was of the closure of the Wollaston Lake Fishery and its store in Prince Albert. The loss of the plant in Wollaston lake cost that community 20 jobs and 5 jobs were lost in Prince Albert at the company store. The chief reason was the expensive transportation costs associated with flying the product out of Wollaston Lake. The report did mention the provincial government and the federal government did not come through with promised road travel in that area of the province. (CBC July 13th, by Kelly Provost)
There seems to be a clear theme in all these stories. Neglect of the north by the Saskparty and the NDP. Decades have elapsed as seniors in Buffalo Narrows have been separated by great distances. Apparently it takes 71 year old seniors to walk 750 kms to get the initiative kicked off. The people of the north have been cut off to services in the south because of the lack of public transit and any clear plan to connect the north to the south. And promises of connections north of Prince Albert , and while we are at it I suppose we can also mention Prince Albert's one old bridge, as promises not kept to our northern citizens.
My youngest son recently graduated and the song they had as a theme at the ceremony was “Home” I am sure many have heard this song. The line in it that I always remember is “we’re going to make this place our home!” This is how I feel about Saskatchewan. We have seen the Saskparty divide our province along north and south, oil producers versus non oil producers, farmers versus urban. We need someone who can come in and make this place, the whole province, our home.
Saskparty priorities are not northern priorities. NDP priorities are not northern priorities. After 3 terms the Saskparty has not prioritized a new bridge for PA. The same bridge the NDP said wasn't necessary many years ago. The residents of PA know differently. Lets tell the Premier the north matters. Build that bridge!
Bernie Sanders of all people proved recently what happens when you force employers to raise minimum wage. Sanders cut back the hours of his staff to minimize the labour costs in his campaign. The budget may not balance itself but the market certainly will. Here in Saskatchewan the NDP wants to tip the market and cost employees jobs or valuable hours. There is a better way than Saskparty high living costs and NDP job killing policies. We need another option!
Statement on Premiers Conference.
It was disappointing that the best Premier Moe could do for a statement at the Premiers conference last week regarding the agricultural trade crisis with China was a tacit statement they will seek other trade options in Europe and/or Asia. While this is laudable it shouldn't be considered the solution.
The loss of a market of 1.4 billion people is not easy to replace. Its imperative for government to search for other markets. However, with the exception of India a country who we also have relationship issues, not many markets can fill the void of an economic giant such as China. There are certainly more issues than trade at stake here but the provincial governments should have issued a more significant statement on behalf of Canada's pork, beef and canola producers. Indeed, A and W got a rougher ride from this government than did China.
The Progressive Conservative Party again calls for Premier Moe to demand more action. The missed opportunity in Saskatoon last week must be followed up with action. The Trudeau/Moe cash advance and loan is not an acceptable solution to this matter. We need to use any legal and political measure to get this issue resolved.
What the government doesn't tell us about the job numbers released is roughly half the jobs are part time and most of the jobs are in the hospitality and hotel industry. These are very low paying positions that will do more to supplement incomes than give families an opportunity to succeed in the "new Saskatchewan ".
Couple this with crippling sales taxes including the approximately 12 cents per litre on gasoline the Moe Saskatchewan is a province of high taxes and elite cronyism.
No matter how you play this, these court rulings have put the provinces in a vulnerable position. Its not so much the insidious carbon tax that is at stake as it is provincial autonomy. The feds now have two lower court rulings that give them the authority to dictate fiscal policy to the provinces. The chance of a provincial victory at the federal court is less likely although thankfully not impossible.
Clearly when you place a purely political question before the courts you lose the benefit of reaching an agreement that both sides could live with in the end. Now we face the stark contrast of the federal government with the legal authority to impose its will. Perhaps this is what Moe wanted. Perhaps they are gambling that Scheer wins in October and these stunts will be moot in practice and give Moe that stature as a politician who stands for the province. After all why not use Government resources to do your bidding. It wouldn't be the first time Moe threatened legal action to aid his friends or party.
The end result of all this will likely be a loss at the Supreme Court and then Saskatchewan will join Jason Kenney in a referendum on equalization. The writing is on the wall for this to happen.
This liberal Saskatchewan Party government, like their cousins in the federal Liberal party, have purposely confused political donations and cronyism with networking for government and business relations.
When the liberals in the Saskparty government accept $2000 from the Chinese Yancoal, or 10k from SNC Lavelin they are not being good business partners. They are accepting pay for play donations for their own political good. The fact SNC Lavelin has hundreds of thousands dollars of government contracts means a political donation is potentially perpetuating their future success for government contract bids. Yancoals contributions could be remembered by the governing party when environmental regulations are interfering in business.
Governments should maintain good relationships with business. However donating to the Party end for its political messaging is a potential for a conflict of interest. This is not more apparent than with canola sector versus the energy sector. The Saskatchewan Party has organized rallies and mounted losing court challenges for the energy sector while being very silent on Chinese government attacks on our agricultural producers. There were no rallies of canola producers and no shock expressed at the prospect of China closing their borders to our beef. The Premier has been noticeably quiet on that front. Is the Premier standing up for China?
The Saskatchewan Party and the NDP ,with its union pay for play system, have corrupted politics in this province. We need a third way to clean it up!