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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

We did our first harvesting on the Swenson farm this past weekend. The dry, hot weather in our part of Saskatchewan is really bringing the crop in. It has also cut the yields back but it is nice to have a crop to harvest when there are so many that don’t have anything. The yellow peas that we did seem to be of good quality and prices look good right now. It looks like a lot of crop will be harvested in the next few weeks around here if this hot weather continues.

I really need to have an early harvest because on last Friday, I announced that I would be seeking election in the riding of Moose Jaw North in the 2011 provincial election. This is the first time a Progressive Conservative has run in that seat since 1995. There is lots of work to do and there is a big challenge ahead in re-establishing the PC brand but I believe it is a seat that is ready-made for the Leader of a political party and for the PC Party. Moose Jaw North is like a lot of the rest of Saskatchewan outside of Regina and Saskatoon. There have been many promises by both NDP and Sask Party governments but after you paw through the rhetoric, not much of anything really happens. Moose Jaw has had a significant erosion of its industrial base over the last half dozen years. And for all the supposed “expertise” around the Sask Party government’s “Enterprise Saskatchewan” there has been virtually nothing occurring in Moose Jaw and area and in fact, nothing around the province tied to this initiative.

Moose Jaw’s health care institutions have been promised much but nothing more than expensive studies have occurred. In fact, Moose Jaw recently lost one of its long-standing senior’s care facilities in Ina Grafton Gage Home which has been sponsored by the United Church for decades. The Moose Jaw health region, like most of the other ones around Saskatchewan, has recently had a round of very-large pay increases for its staff. And yet, the bricks and mortar part of health care and the recruitment of the necessary doctors and professionals has gone unanswered. I think Moose Jaw is a great place to run in the next election because it is a media center, it is close to Regina and has all of the unfulfilled promises of a Sask Party government that has had the best times and the most money to spend in living memory. I am hoping my announcement will convince Brad Wall and his inner circle that without an announcement very soon on the Moose Jaw Union Hospital, Warren Michelson’s 33 vote majority in 2007 will quickly evaporate. There is no sense in Moose Jaw returning to the NDP because we had an NDP Premier, Lorne Calvert, who was born and raised in Moose Jaw and represented a Moose Jaw riding for 13 years and yet when he became Premier and had a couple of NDP Cabinet Ministers from Moose Jaw, nothing was done to improve Moose Jaw’s hospital or the economic outlook of the city.

It is very easy to look around Moose Jaw and area and see the footprint of the last PC government in Saskatchewan. Things like the Water Corp, Saskferco (Yara), Providence Place, the geo-thermal wells which led to the Temple Gardens Mineral Spa and unfortunately the closed General Cable Manufacturing facility. There are many other smaller initiatives that have put Moose Jaw and area in good stead for decades even after the PC government was defeated in 1991. I believe people in many areas around Saskatchewan when they look around their neighbourhood are realizing the same thing. The Sask Party has had unprecedented wealth and what have they done with it for Moose Jaw and area or most other parts of Saskatchewan outside of Regina and Saskatoon? Yes, Paul Hill has a new office tour in Regina half filled with provincial civil servants after Wall promised to cut the civil service and the other half filled with potash executives courtesy of the taxpayers of Saskatchewan. There are many more examples of Mr. Wall and his friends doing quite well in this economic boom.

I will be reminding the voters of Moose Jaw North and the rest of Saskatchewan about that record in the next 2½ months. I hope there are enough like-minded individuals who will stand up across this province and drive this message home.

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