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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

The recent Federal election turned out very interesting indeed as most of us speculated last week. Congratulations to Prime Minister Stephen Harper on his long sought after majority. Congratulations to Jack Layton for getting rid of the Bloc and all but 4 of its members. And lastly, congratulations to Canadian voters who turned out in larger numbers than they did the last time we went to the polls. Prime Minister Harper is now going to have the opportunity of giving Canadians a stable government for the next 4 years. Time will tell if he and Mr. Layton can control the more strident and single issue members that they each have in their caucuses. The responsibility of a majority government is that you try and govern from the centre and with the majority of Canadians coming on side for most of your initiatives. A rebuilding Federal Liberal party can play a big role in this parliament if they can go through their soul-searching and bring their party back to a more centrist position. The nice thing about having socialists in Quebec instead of separatists is that socialism is all about economics and after it fails, people grow out of it after a while. Separatism is all about the heart and they really don’t give a damn whether anything makes sense or not – they simply go with their emotions. Let’s hope that Quebecers will become heavily engaged in the Canadian economy and forget about the emotional stuff for a while.

As I mentioned last week in my commentary, the PC Party had another court date dealing with our Trust Funds and I am happy to report that the judge sided with the PC Party once again. We now have access to the CTV tapes showing the then Chairman of our Trust Funds fully engaged in a Sask Party caucus meeting. The judge hasn’t given a ruling on what all the tape can be used for but at least it will be available in the court room as evidence. I guess that is why these people never want to get into a court room with us because the evidence will be overwhelming that we are the same PC Party of Saskatchewan we always have been and that the Trust Funds are the rightful inheritance of the PC Party. Let’s get to court and settle this issue now.

I was in the Legislature again this past week attending Question Period and also caught part of the Premier’s estimates. I couldn’t believe that the NDP opposition had agreed to limit their questioning of the Premier – in an election year – to a mere 3¼ hours. The process of estimates is where the opposition gets to question the spending of the Premier’s office, of Executive Council and of the directions which the governing party has taken. I find it mind-boggling that our NDP opposition couldn’t come up with enough material to question him for 3 days much less 3 hours. I can remember many sessions both in government and in opposition where in fact that was the case when we were going into an election year and there would be no other chance to hold the Premier accountable. The patronage that has gone on with this government alone could take up 3 hours of discussions with all of the Premier’s friends that have come back and found high paying cushy jobs in the crown corporations and other places. Did you notice in the Leader Post on Saturday where Mr. Kevin Doherty, the same Kevin Doherty that received a Vice Presidents job at Sask Power after being an investment salesman in Calgary, was the largest contributor to the Sask Party in 2010? Mr. Doherty kicked back over $7,000 of his $200,000+ salary to the good old Sask Party of which he is also a candidate for in the upcoming provincial election. We definitely need another party in opposition in this province to ask the tough questions and hold this government accountable for the way they spend taxpayers’ dollars.

On a final note for today, my wife Joanne and I were invited attend the memorial service on Saturday for the late former Premier Allan Blakeney. There was a very large crowd in attendance and a wonderful cast of speakers primarily former Premiers from Mr. Blakeney’s era. People like the Honourable Ed Schreyer, former Governor General of Canada and former Premier of Manitoba, the Honourable William Davis, former Premier of Ontario, the Honourable Peter Lougheed, former Premier of Alberta, the Honourable Bob Rae, former Premier of Ontario and MP and Saskatchewan’s own former Premier Roy Romanow. They did a tremendous job in honouring Mr. Blakeney and his family for his dedication to our country and our province. Many of us didn’t agree with Mr. Blakeney’s political stances on many issues over the years but after listening to the honoured guests and their comments on Allan Blakeney’s contribution to our country, I believe in Saskatchewan we should be proud of the way he represented us. Mr. Blakeney and Mr. Lougheed fought Pierre Trudeau to a standstill on keeping our energy resources in the hands of western Canadians. He certainly contributed in a major way to the successful repatriation of our constitution from Great Britain and putting in place our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This may be the last time that this astute group of gentlemen who were our modern day “Fathers of Confederation” will ever get together again and talk about their common goals. It was an honour to have the privilege of attending and listening to the words of wisdom, of kindness and the celebration of a life well lived.

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