This morning I am doing something a little bit different. I believe there are two issues in Saskatchewan that really need addressing in the upcoming election. One is the credibility and accountability of our politicians and the promises they make prior to election campaigns and the other is the deterioration of our health care facilities particularly in the parts of Saskatchewan outside of Regina and Saskatoon. Both of these issues have become intertwined in the last couple of election campaigns and the results have not been good for the people of this province and particularly those that need access to the health care system. I am forwarding to all of you a letter to the editor which I submitted to the Moose Jaw Times Herald this morning. The announcement made 1½ weeks ago by Brad Wall in the Battlefords about the Saskatchewan Hospital really drove home the point that I believe we should have rules governing announcements made by political parties prior to elections. I believe Moose Jaw is in for more of the same political manipulation.
Letter to the Editor:
RE: BRAD WALL ABUSING HEALTH CARE FUNDING
It seems that our Sask Party Premier who made such a big issue of democratic reform in the 2007 election and chastised the then-NDP government for the way that it made funding announcements prior to election campaigns has succumbed to the temptations of vote buying to keep the office he currently holds.
Brad Wall made much of the promise to hold general elections every 4 years with a fixed election date. The vast majority of voters agree with that principle. He said this would take away the temptation of political leaders and parties to manipulate election dates to their own advantage and would take away the temptation to make announcements prior to election campaigns like the multi-million dollar rejuvenation of the Saskatchewan Hospital at the Battlefords. The NDP government of Lorne Calvert made such an announcement a few months prior to the 2007 election.
Low and behold last week we see the same Brad Wall now Premier of Saskatchewan – a Saskatchewan that does have fixed election dates – doing exactly the same thing. And once again, instead of having an announcement about bricks and mortar and a capital budget to construct a badly-needed new facility, we have an announcement about another expensive study 4 years after the NDP government had a multi-million dollar study and only the promise that construction might occur 2 years from now. This is simply unacceptable 6 weeks before a provincial general election is called.
The fixed election date means absolutely nothing if the Premier can ride around the province on his white horse making multi-million dollar funding commitments in various communities – funding that was not budgeted in the spring budget and funding in which in many cases is only a promise with the strong hints and a wink-wink that if you vote for the Sask Party government, this project will occur in the next couple of years.
My fear is that Moose Jaw is in for the same treatment. This same Premier made commitments back in 2007 to get his candidate Warren Michelson elected in Moose Jaw North. Since then, we have had expensive study after study about our Union Hospital. We’ve have had deadlines come and go and no hospital. What we do have is the Sask Party Premier’s fundraising dinner on September 7th. It is widely rumored that Brad Wall is going to ride into town on his white horse and make some announcement about the Union Hospital.
This is not the way health care and its facilities should be delivered to the people of Saskatchewan and to the people of Moose Jaw and area. A government that is truly committed to first-class health care and the upgrade of facilities that we all use regardless of our political affiliation would announce its intentions at budget time and allocate the necessary dollars for the bricks and mortar and the boots on the ground.
Moose Jaw’s needs have been identified years ago. We should not be part of some political theatre that Brad Wall can perform for a partisan crowd who are paying $200.00 a pop to support his political party. The delivery of health care in all its facets including the buildings that we use, belong to all of us. Manitoba has a law that politicians cannot make these kinds of announcements within a 90 day period before an election. I believe and the PC Party believes that 90 days is even too short. Capital projects of this magnitude should only be delivered at budget time and should be part of the debate in our Legislature as to whether those are wise expenditures or not. Moose Jaw and area deserves more respect than this type of political pandering and showmanship if this is in fact what occurs on September 7th.
This is why we must have another political option in Moose Jaw because both the Sask Party and the NDP have played this silly game.
What’s the point in having Warren Michelson around for 4 years at $84,000 a year if Brad Wall is simply going to show up once every 4 years with some kind of goody to get his boys elected? Hospitals deserve more respect and so do the people of Moose Jaw and area.
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.