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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

It’s nice to see that summer has finally come to Saskatchewan. Since my last commentary, we have experienced 35 degree C here in the sunny south – great weather for making hay or going to the beach. I am sure there have been lots of people doing both.

I think the heat has reached the heads of the Saskatchewan NDP. They just can’t seem to do anything right these days. Everyone is well aware of the controversy swirling around the latest NDP attack ads of Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party. In the ad, the NDP are alleged to have cut and pasted the words of the Premier while he was in a scrum at the Legislature. The content of the ad is the usual NDP propaganda and actually it isn’t a bad ad except for the fact that they got caught being careless and not paying attention to detail. If you can’t put together a political ad at this stage of the election cycle without losing more credibility than you previously had then you are totally inept and can’t be trusted with anything. There was one thing about the ad that I did appreciate and that was the reference in it to the fact that the NDP were calling for a third party look at potash royalties. In other words, they have adopted the approach put forward by the Progressive Conservative Party during the spring session of the Legislature to create a Strategic Resources Review Commission. The purpose of the Commission was to ensure that at least once every 4 years the people of this province – not just the politicians – would get a look at the potash resource and the return to its owners – the people of this province. The fact that the NDP have moved off of their previous position and have adopted the one by the Progressive Conservatives and have put it into this ad is a victory for common sense and good government. If they would just simply throw away the rest of it and give credit where credit is due, I would be extremely happy. You can bet the Sask Party’s taxpayer-paid backroom boys will be cooking up an attack ad on Dwain Lingenfelter very, very soon.

The controversy around the Wakaw Hospital is now coming to its inevitable conclusion with the laying off of the majority of the health care providers at that facility. The fact that no doctor has been able to be located to serve at this hospital means that its accreditation is lost and will be closed down. The Saskatoon Health Region says they are going to find jobs for these individuals but most of those jobs will not be in Wakaw or surrounding communities. This move should be condemned by everyone in rural Saskatchewan particularly. This is the future for rural health care if someone doesn’t change our current system. The Sask Party government is no different than its NDP predecessor and will keep centralizing health care services to Regina and Saskatoon. That is not the way to build a provincial economy or expand our population base beyond the two big cities. We must train our own people – people who understand communities like Wakaw and the necessity of maintaining adequate health services across our province.

A reader of this commentary brought to my attention an article which appeared in the latest issue of the Costco Connection magazine which goes out to Costco cardholders. There is an article that refers to the “Emsley” boys from Regina, Saskatchewan and their company which plants trees and then sells carbon credits to other companies who are polluters. The idea is that if you buy carbon credits from someone who has trees, crop land or some other type of carbon sink then you will be offsetting the atmospheric pollution you are creating. The reason the story caught my eye is that these two young gentlemen are the sons of Doug Emsley, the former chair of the PC Party Trust Fund, and Brad Wall’s transition chair – only had one private sector customer but their biggest customer by far was the Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan. It is interesting that the taxpayers of this province and the people who pay the utility bills to our crown monopolies should be the one to buy these trees from the Emsley boys. I don’t know what each tree cost but supposedly CIC has signed on for a 20 year investment. If the private sector isn’t buying into this arrangement, why is our Crown monopolies involved? Could this be nice way of some political patronage? I’ll let you decide. I am not sure that I am in agreement on the other issue which is that if you are a polluter you can simply go and buy yourself some carbon credits to offset the damage rather than clean up the problem that you have. Most of our Crown Corps are monopolies and we want them to be efficient service providers at the same time being environmentally responsible. Sask Power even has its own tree growing operation at the Shand Power Station which provides trees free of charge to people all over the province. I wonder if the trees in question were grown by Sask Power in the first place and then they had to turn around and purchase their own trees back? These are all interesting questions which our inept NDP opposition has not been asking. It’s time to start electing some people that will look after taxpayers’ dollars.

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