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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Congratulations to Tom Steen, the 1st nominated candidate for the PC Party of Saskatchewan. Tom will be running in the riding of Moose Jaw Wakamow. I had the privilege and the pleasure of addressing the delegates at the nomination meeting followed by a question and answer period. There were a number of issues that came out but the biggest one was certainly the Wall government’s handling of health care.

Last Tuesday I was invited to be on Rob Carney’s noon hour show to talk politics and some of the issues that are out there in Saskatchewan. It was a very enjoyable 20 minutes and a number of people have commented to me that they appreciated the way that I dealt with the issues. If anyone of you would care to listen to the entire telecast, just log onto www.discovermoosejaw.com. Click on the “Radio” button and then click on 800Chab. On the right hand side of the page, you will see the various pod casts – just click on my name and you will get to listen to the interview. I was particularly pleased that Rob, as a member of the provincial media, is starting to understand that Brad Wall and the Sask Party have some real trust issues over the way that the PC Party’s trust funds have been handled. I would appreciate your comments from any of you that listen to the interview because I am hoping there will more opportunities with various stations around the province to talk PC politics, platform and candidates.

I think all of us are aware that after this last week of rain storms and renewed flooding, that Saskatchewan is once again in a difficult place. A good part of our province will not be seeding crops. Communities are under water and lives are being disrupted in a major way. It is really important that the mistakes made last year because the government was caught with their pants down are not made again. It is hugely expensive to fix problems after the fact because the preplanning wasn’t done and it is incredibly frustrating to individuals and families who are caught up in these natural disasters which have nothing to do with their own set of circumstances. There are many outstanding PDAP applications still kicking around from last year. Let us hope that as the Premier and his cabinet start touring the flood areas they are able to cut out the red tape and marshal the resources necessary to help people get on with their lives. The amount of damage done to municipal roads and highways alone is enormous. There are rural municipalities in the southeast which have had to cut a huge percentage of their roads in order to get the water away from communities, farms and industrial sites. Much of Saskatchewan’s oil wealth is in the southeast, it is getting increasingly difficult to service and maintain the oil gathering infrastructure. Drilling of new wells has come to a virtual halt. This heavy equipment cannot be moved around without a concerted effort on the road infrastructure. It is time Mr. Wall dedicates the resources necessary. One more big storm is really going to tip things over the edge. Let us all hope that does not occur.

Speaking of trusting politicians, there was a good article in last Wednesday’s Leader Post by Murray Mandryk. I believe it is worth looking at because it talks about the issue of trust in our politicians and particularly the trust that Saskatchewan has had in the Brad Wall government. I have been saying for months that people in this province besides the few of us in the PC Party should begin to question some of Mr. Wall’s motives. We in the PC Party have known for a long time that Mr. Wall and his close circle of political advisors would manipulate the PC trust funds for their own political purposes and so far they have gotten away with it. Other groups are now starting to understand some of our frustrations. Saskatchewan teachers have recently learned the hard way that Mr. Wall and his friends aren’t afraid to manipulate their contract negotiations simply for political optics. Health care workers are now entering the same realm where your contract negotiations now becomes a media war where the spin doctors from the Premier’s office use the public’s money to run advertising which clearly has a political agenda. There has to be a better way of negotiating contracts. I believe that Saskatchewan needs a set of rules put in place that when a contract expires, there is a given period of time in which to negotiate a settlement. If one cannot be reached, then it is time to bring in outside third parties and put in place systems that will allow the taxpayer and the worker their rightful sense of value. To have contracts expire 2 years ago and not do anything about it until an election year or some other event which one side or the other can work to their advantage is nonsense. If we are going to let that type of system continue then whoever has the largest PR budget and can buy the most radio and tv time is going to be the winner. I don’t want my taxpayers’ dollars involved in that kind of nonsense and I don’t believe most union members want their hard-earned dues spent that way either.

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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.

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