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Taxpayers of the province should be prepared to shell out for a costly Halloween treat today, all thanks to their Sask Party government.

“Tonight, when people of Saskatchewan are handing out Halloween treats, one thing they need to know is that at the same time, their government will be handing out a $103 million Halloween treat for the consortium building the Regina bypass. The trick will be, how will the rest of us will pay for it over the next 30 years”, said PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.

Mr. Swenson went on to say, “There has been no mention of these payments or how we will come up with the cash to make them, especially with ongoing deficit budgets which are now a reality for the rest of this Sask Party government's term in office.

The PC Party in the coming days, months and years will attempt to be part of the solution with good policy and ideas and hopefully our government will start to listen or I'm sure the protests will get larger and louder”.

In conclusion Mr. Swenson said "The Regina Bypass has been getting a lot of attention, mostly for the wrong reasons. The design for the by-pass was based on a European model, and it didn’t take long to realize that large transport units and farm equipment just didn’t fit. Something else that just doesn’t fit is the government’s calculations on what the final costs will be.

The Sask Party tricked voters before the 2016 election and unfortunately, their tricks will continue this Halloween and for years to come”.

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PC Party believes that today’s Speech from the Throne has more to do with the political wellbeing of the Sask Party and little to do with the wellbeing of our province.

“The change of course that we have witnessed from the Sask Party government and those who want to lead it, over the past few months has been nothing short of dramatic. This reversal of policy has been partly due to the lobbying efforts of Saskatchewan residents, however partisan politics and polling numbers are playing a key role in this sudden change of heart” said PC Party Saskatchewan Leader, Rick Swenson.

Mr. Swenson went on to say “Prior to the 2016 election, the PC Party uncovered the wasted dollars at the Regina bypass and GTH and it was the PC Party who accurately predicted a $1.12 billion deficit. All the while the Sask Party government insisted everything was fine. Right after the election, the first shoe dropped and the government admitted they were not telling the truth about the state of Saskatchewan’s finances.  Now, weeks before the Sask Party Leadership vote, we again see the government changing their story. The question is, after the leadership convention is complete, will the second shoe fall? With the new Leader safely in place, will we see the Sask Party going back to their original short term re-election plans”?

There is some good news; we were pleased to see that the government is backing away from Bill 40. The Saskatchewan people have clearly stated that they don’t want to sell off their Crowns to pay for the Sask Party mismanagement. The PC Party has always believed that our crowns can be strong economic tools and good partners to help build Saskatchewan’s economy.  The PC Party had hoped that in today’s throne speech the government would have announced a plan to help communities and producers who have been impacted by the wild fire situation. Sask Crop Insurance could and should be playing a role for the loss of crazing land and livestock”.

Mr. Swenson concluded by saying “This Speech from the Throne, and the recent actions of our government, demonstrate clearly that the Sask Party vision and planning is based solely on 4 year re-election cycles. They naturally omitted to mention the $103 million dollar Halloween lease payment for their P3 project. Today, more than ever, Saskatchewan needs a government who understands to succeed; one must plan 5, 10 or 15 years into the future and not just the 3 years until the next election”.

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The PC Party of Saskatchewan is pleased to announce they will be hosting their Annual General Meeting (AGM) and policy meeting at the Cosmos Civic Centre in Saskatoon, SK, on Saturday, November 4th.

PC Party Leader, Rick Swenson stated, “We are looking forward to having members from across the province attending and we are very much looking forward to a successful AGM.”

Swenson continued, “We are very pleased to announce that our Keynote Luncheon Speaker this year will be Joe Garcea Ph. D., Graduate Supervisor in Political Studies at the University of Saskatchewan. Dr. Garcea has a wealth of political and public policy knowledge to share with our delegates. In addition, our 2017 AGM will begin the process of creating new policies for the next election as well.”

Party President Grant Schmidt is also excited for the AGM. “Our members will have a chance to meet, share ideas and express opinions. It is also a chance to energize members and Saskatchewan voters with the PC Party message.”

With recent revelations that Finance Minister Donna Harpauer instructed the use of private email servers, with the sole purpose of sheltering government documents from the Freedom of Information Act, the PC Party of Saskatchewan is calling on Premier Wall to ask for her resignation from Cabinet.

"In Saskatchewan, Freedom of Information laws are in place to ensure that the public has access to all government related documents. In an open and free society, transparency in government is a cornerstone of democracy.  For some time now, the Sask Party government has been caught up in a state of secrecy and cover-up, which must come to an end now” said PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.

Mr. Swenson went on to say, “During the GTH land scandal investigations, requests for information through the Freedom of Information rules were met with delays and exorbitant costs, all with the sole purpose of preventing damaging information from ever seeing the light of day. Then, this week we learn that Minister Harpauer directed the use “private” email servers, so that sensitive information would be entirely sheltered Freedom of Information act scrutiny”.

In conclusion, Mr. Swenson said “Before the 2016 General Election the Sask Party deliberately mislead voters on the true state of the province’s finances, despite accurate warnings from the PC Party. Voters deserved to know that truth in April of 2016, just as they deserve to know the truth today. Given her shaky track record on disclosure and transparency, it is clear that Ms. Harpauer is not fit to serve as Minister of Finance or frankly, in any other ministry. It is time for the Premier to show some leadership and ask for her resignation immediately”.

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With the TransCanada decision not to proceed with the Energy East pipeline, the PC Party of Saskatchewan is calling for an expansion of refining capabilities in western Canada and a change in the federal regulatory environment.    

"Yesterday's decision not to proceed with the Energy East pipeline and rely on foreign "conflict oil" for eastern Canada is very disappointing news for Saskatchewan and all Canadians, ” said PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.

Mr. Swenson went on to say, “It is ironic that the Energy East pipeline, which would have added value to Canadian oil and created jobs for Canadian workers while  guaranteeing energy self-sufficiency is now shelved.  The Keystone XL Pipeline which will send our oil to Texas refineries to add value and grow USA jobs, is approved by our government even though it has the same quality standards as Energy East would have.  President Trump must be ecstatic, he reneges on NAFTA and is now guaranteed cheap Canadian oil for decades.   

With the demise of Energy East, perhaps now is the time to explore partnerships with industry, First Nations and municipalities to expand refining capacity in Saskatchewan.  I was part of a Progressive Conservative government in Saskatchewan which understood the need to add value to our raw resources.  Under a PC government, Saskatchewan saw the addition of two heavy oil upgraders.”   

In conclusion, Mr. Swenson said “It's time to stop the finger pointing and look for solutions.  Adding value here at home is the right thing to do for jobs and the Canadian economy.  What is needed now is vision, partnership and leadership - not the cheap politics of political bottom-feeders like Denis Coderre, the Mayor of Montreal."

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The PC Party of Saskatchewan is demanding that the Wall government release all documents and industry reports surrounding the deadly H2S gas leaks that occurred in south eastern Saskatchewan.

“Like everyone else in Saskatchewan, I was in a state of shock, anger and disbelief to learn that the Wall government failed to respond and warn the public about a deadly threat of H2S gases that are leaking across the province” said PC Party Leader Rick Swenson.

Mr. Swenson went on to say, “Sadly, and to no one’s surprise, this occurred under the watch of former Minister of the Economy, Bill Boyd.  It is one thing for the Premier and the Sask Party to deflect and cover up fiscal scandals that happened under Mr. Boyd’s watch, however when a life has been lost and the health of others in south east Saskatchewan has been put in jeopardy, this is where everyone must say enough is enough.  I ask the Premier, given all problems and incompetence surrounding Mr. Boyd, why was he still part of your Cabinet and trusted as your most powerful Minister?”

“As a former Energy Minister, what I find the most troubling is the fact that even after a tragic death and incident reports of others exposed to unsafe levels of H2S gases, there was still no public statement from the government.  As Energy Minister, you are responsible to promote the resource but also to be a responsible regulator and honest broker.  If the allegations are proven true, what has happened with H2S releases in Saskatchewan is no longer negligence, it could be criminal negligence." 

In conclusion Mr. Swenson said, “It’s time for the Premier and industry to release all information surrounding H2S gas leaks. There are families whose lives have been impacted forever by sour gas.  They, along with everyone in Saskatchewan, deserve to know why and how this happened and why this can never happen again under any government's watch”.

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With the October 2nd consultation deadline quickly approaching, the PC Party of Saskatchewan is calling on both Prime Minister Trudeau and Finance Minister Morneau to show some common sense when it comes to the Federal Governments proposed tax changes.

PC Party Leader Rick Swenson said, “As Canadians, we have always prided ourselves on having an income tax system which provided the necessary funds to make our society what it is today.  

We've also believed that it is good for people who are risk-takers to succeed and by succeeding, provide employment opportunities for other Canadians. For decades, small businesses and farmers have been managing under the tax rules that are available, allowing them to be innovators, risk-takers, investing in our economy, creating jobs for Canadians, and most importantly, giving them the opportunity to pass on their farms and businesses to the next generation”.

Mr. Swenson went on to say, “however, the reality is that there are those businesses, which are driven to incorporate primarily on advice from their accountants and tax lawyers. I would suggest this is where the government's "one-size-fits-all" approach to tax reform is badly thought out.  For example, comparing doctors, dentists, lawyers and accountants where intergenerational transfer is usually not an issue, to farmers and small businesses, is a wrong-headed approach in my view”.

In conclusion Mr. Swenson said, “If the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance truly want fairness in our tax system, then they should have the courage to set their sights on those sectors and categories of people who may have an unfair advantage and not target our farmers and small businesses unfairly.”