Firstly, on behalf of pcsask.ca, I want to thank our leader, Rick Swenson, for being the first politician to bring the grain transportation crisis to the attention of the media. He forced the dozing Trudeau Government and our loafing provincial representatives to take action.
Last week, I said pcsask.ca was looking for public safety solutions. We developed a plan for a Provincial Police Force in 2016, but did not have the money to get the message out. Unlike the Sask. Cronies and NDP, we do not have tax money for communications.
Last Wednesday, we released our proposal for a Saskatchewan Police Force. On Friday, we attended the SARM convention and took our plan for a Provincial Police Force to the SARM delegates. We explained a Provincial Police Force would combine all current public safety officers into one force coordinated to provide all aspects of public safety.
Pcsask.ca acknowledges the RCMP cannot be everywhere. The Provincial police would concentrate on public safety in towns, villages, and rural areas. It would concentrate on crime prevention, legal education, security systems, and how to protect yourself in a home invasion.
Home invasion is a problem. While I was on vacation, the problem spread to the Melville area. I want to be certain of the details before I comment on the incident.
Since we announced our Provincial Police Force plan, we have had SUMA, the Police Association, SARM, and rural women show interest. We will follow up on communication with these groups.
The cost of the Provincial Police would mostly be a redirection of existing spending. Additional police costs can be justified by the need for public safety. Taxpayers cannot afford to be cheap on public safety.
I have known for fifteen years rural residents and in particular rural women are living in fear. I have never had the power to solve the problem.
After the release of our Provincial Policing Force solution, I had a rural woman living in fear contact me. All I could do was advise her to purchase bear spray and promise that pcsask.ca is working on other public safety solutions.
I need to get approval for my public safety solutions from our party executive. I hope to announce more public safety solutions in the future. Progressive Conservatives stand for law and order.
We welcome your input on problems that need solutions. Call me at (306) 728-0156
Grant Schmidt - President
P.C. Party of Saskatchewan
This report is about you and me. To avoid confusion “you” are the residents of Saskatchewan and “me” is the president of pcsask.ca. Pcsask.ca is the modern logo and my abbreviation for the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan.
This story is about my quest to find a new “ism” to help you and all of us to a happy and prosperous life. I know most of you don't give a damn about me. I understand human nature. All my life I have been thinking and working to improving your lives.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sheron and I joining pcsask.ca. Sheron comes from a blue liberal family. My family voted for John Diefenbaker and Tommy Douglas.
Both of us were born to financially poor farmers and raised as happy winners.
In the CCF education system the market did not exist. I remember the little blue book “Co-operative Studies” in public school. At school and in my community I was educated as a socialist.
By 1974 Sheron was a teacher and I was a lawyer. The NDP were recruiting me to run in Yorkton. We also started to pay income tax and discovered socialism was not free. I always had doubts about the theory of Marx.
In 1976 after a meeting with 1/3 of Allan Blakeney's cabinet including the finance minister and energy minister I discovered that from reading Time magazine I knew more about their portfolios then they did. At the age of 27, I came to the conclusion socialism would never work and the NDP had to be replaced.
My enemies on the left and right will attack me again either for leaving or having been there, however, not long after my conversion to capitalism I was vindicated by Deng Xiaoping and Mikhail Gorbachev who came to the same conclusion in the 80's.
I also came to the conclusion capitalism is better but neither fair nor compassionate. (See the great Canadian bread conspiracy). I searched for a new political party and considered the blue liberals or the progressive conservatives. During the 1978 election I decided progressive conservative was the best balance of a market economy with social programs. Sheron and I joined the PC Party.
Progressive conservative always seemed a little difficult to understand. Then I did some research and discovered the first progressive party was started by former republican president Teddy Roosevelt. The Americans should revive the center progressive party.
For four decades, I have watched the left-right feud distract multiple governments resulting in lost opportunity, false information and frustration for you the people. The role of government is not to provide jobs for politicians and their cronies.
I will not go into all of the roles of government in this report. Some of the roles of government are:
Socialism has been proven to be an unworkable theory. Capitalism can be unfair. We often hear the word incentive or incentivize used by many people. No one has come up with the application of incentive as government policy. In the future I will explain Incentivism as government policy. I am preparing a paper proposing Incentivism: One policy: many solutions.
Every political party needs a policy foundation (a soul). Incentivism can be a policy which acknowledges the market is a result of human nature and finds solutions to problems caused by capitalism and competition. The left-right feud is not solving your problems. Pcsask.ca proposes to do what works.
A problem to solve
I want to conclude this week’s report with the observation we have a public safety problem in some of our cities and in some rural areas. In Canada we license gun owners and we still have shootings by people who cannot legally possess a gun. Solving problems of public safety is a role of government.
This week pcsask.ca will look for public safety solutions and provide an alternative to the left right feud.
Grant Schmidt - President
P.C. Party of Saskatchewan
Congratulations to Dr. Ryan Meili on his election as Leader of the NDP and Leader of the Official Opposition. This is Dr. Meili's 3rd run at the leadership of the NDP so this obviously shows that he is committed to getting things done. You've heard me say many times in this commentary that our government is only as good as the opposition allows it to be.
Many of the failings of the Sask Party government over the last ten years have resulted from a weak NDP opposition. Dr. Meili comes from good farming stock and started out life on the farm 50 miles southwest of Moose Jaw. He is a medical doctor so when you put those two attributes together, you should come up with a person who is not afraid to put in the work and time to get things done.
I may not agree with some of his approaches to public policy but I think like everyone else in Saskatchewan, we will be very curious about Dr. Meili's vision for the future. When he said during the beginnings of his leadership quest that he would not take donations from unions and corporations, a lot of folks figured he would go nowhere. He has proved to his own political party that you can be successful without the influence of big money and I think the rest of us in Saskatchewan, regardless of our political stripe, need to think about his example of telling big money where to go.
On another note, our American President is once again taking shots at the Canadian economy by imposing large tariffs on manufactured steel and aluminum. For Saskatchewan, that means IPSCO and it also means the cost of pipe for pipelines which are so important to our economy.
A few months ago, I made the comment that Donald Trump was rubbing his hands in glee over the approval of the Keystone Pipeline. This pipeline was originally designed to take Canadian heavy crude to the US Gulf Coast refineries. It will do this at a significant discount to Canadian oil. It is then upgraded and manufactured into many products which are used domestically and exported. The United States recently removed all restrictions on the export of crude oil and its various derivatives. The Americans are now exporting oil to twenty different countries.
I remember well the discussions around the first North American Free Trade Agreement. One of the keys to that agreement was the ability of the United States to access Canadian oil at the same price that Canadians paid for it. If you remember, Canada had a two-priced system prior to NAFTA. A domestic price and an export price. Western Canada hated two-priced oil.
Today, Canadians pay more and Americans pay significantly less. We supply them with a quarter of the oil consumed on a daily basis in the good old US of A. We have very little other export opportunity. If we are not careful, we could see a twinned Keystone Pipeline taking raw product down and finished product back which could effectively knock out small refiners like Federated Co-op in Regina and Husky in Lloydminster because they have to pay the full price for raw product and the Americans get the heavily-discounted price for the exported Canadian product.
IPSCO (Evraz) should be building pipe to build a pipeline to ship western Canadian oil to tide water in eastern Canada. They should also be building pipe to get western Canadian oil to tide water on the west coast. If we have to ship it through the Alaska Panhandle to get it to tide water, so-be-it.
The Americans are shipping high-value, light crude around the world because of advances in drilling technology. They are getting Canadian oil at huge discounts because of the export monopoly. Politicians like Donald Trump are a dime a dozen in the United States because they believe in America first and they don't care how they get there.
I don't like the feeling of living in Saskatchewan and being Donald Trump's economic slave. Premier Moe and other Premiers across this country had better come to the same realization and start refining more of our products here and finding a way to put our Canadian differences aside so that we can get this great Canadian product to the world market. To do otherwise is to guarantee ourselves a lower standard of living and less opportunity to build up our own citizens who are at the bottom end of the social economic spectrum. Canada's politicians need to start standing up for Canadians.
Your feedback is always welcome on anything you read in the Monday Morning
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.
Once again, it appears that this commentary has been out in front of an issue before the rest of the political pack. My commentary last week on the problems plaguing our rail transportation industry and the lack of due diligence by our elected politicians set off an avalanche of “me too”.
It’s a sad commentary on the state of Saskatchewan’s politics when a party without representation in the Legislature is more in tune with what’s going on than the ones that are sitting there. It is also an indictment of the performance of the politicians sitting there who have a sworn responsibility to look after the welfare of their citizens and taxpayers.
I think one of these individuals in particular needs to be singled out for their winter long silence on the crisis in rail transportation. That person would the Minister of Highways and Transportation, the MLA for Wood River and himself a farmer and former board member of a short line railway. This individual was also the President of SARM and therefore should be totally on top of situations like this when they begin to evolve rather than being at the tail end of an issue when the bills begin to mount on every farm in Saskatchewan.
There was an expression often used when I was growing up to describe an individual who seemed to have all the power in the world but couldn't keep their eye on the ball. That expression was "Roman Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome was burning". This, of course, was referring to the great fire which consumed Rome in the First Century AD and was subsequently blamed on the new Christian religion. The Emperor Nero probably could have marshalled his forces and done something about this horrific fire but he chose instead to sit back and blame someone else because he needed a scapegoat for his own bad policies and laziness.
It's a good thing that the winter Olympic games have started because it gives those of us in cold-bound Saskatchewan something to take our minds off what's going on outside. Saskatchewan is a very sport-oriented place and we love cheering on our athletes especially the home grown ones.
Regina's own Mark McMorris has defied all of the odds after that horrific snowboarding accident last year by once again being an Olympic medalist. One can only imagine what kind of determination it must have taken to get his body and his mental state back to a point where he is once again competing at the highest level in his chosen sport. Except for that small slip on his last jump, Mark probably would be the gold medalist. Hats off to a great Saskatchewan athlete and example for others to follow.
Every year on February 2nd, there is an event which occurs that always brings a note of levity to those of us that live in Saskatchewan. This, of course, is "Groundhog Day". Groundhogs are something unknown to us on the prairies and in reality, they are small furry animals called a woodchuck which primarily lives on the eastern half of the North American continent.
Groundhog Day is based on the fable of a woodchuck coming out of its den and if it sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. We are usually in the grip of a big and long cold spell out here on the prairies on February 2nd and would do just about anything to have someone tell us that spring is on the way. Consequently, we all watched the news events of the various appropriately named woodchucks coming out of their dens to the applause of hundreds of observers and the bright lights of the national television networks.