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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Because yesterday was a holiday, the MMC is being sent out this morning. I hope everyone enjoyed a nice long weekend. It was nice to see the Riders finally win a home game. Maybe this is the turnaround in their season. Harvest is going full bore around the province and it certainly is on the Swenson farm.

There is a comment that I am hearing more and more from people across the board. They cannot believe how bad our roads and highways have become. The provincial government tells us that they are spending record amounts of our taxpayers’ dollars on fixing our roads and highways but driving around the province, it is hard to see where the money is being spent. I know that we have had a lot of rainfall the last two years and it has affected certain areas with flooding issues. However the potholes in #1 highway between Moose Jaw and Regina aren’t a result of flooding. They are a result of poor maintenance. The comment I most hear from people is “where is the money going if it isn’t being spent on our roads?” I hope that is a question that is put to all of the Sask Party candidates in the upcoming election campaign. If we have the cash resources to offer multi-million dollar giveaways to the very profitable potash mining sector then surely we have the money to put into our road and highway infrastructure. The government has made over $200 million in new hospital announcements in the last two weeks so there should be a few dollars left over to fix the potholes in our highways. I hate the thought of us all going into another winter with our roads in the conditions that they are.

You all saw in last week’s commentary that I had included a letter to the editor talking about how the province was making politically-driven hospital construction announcements. Well low and behold last week the Moose Jaw announcement was made. Something must have scared the Sask Party brain trust off of having the Premier do it at his Moose Jaw fundraiser so instead, they had Don McMorris show up in Moose Jaw on very short notice and do the dirty deed. I am told by various individuals who got invitations to this announcement that they only received an hours notice to attend so for some reason, the whole thing was a rush-rush announcement. McMorris told the folks in Moose Jaw that construction wouldn’t occur until 2013, he didn’t know where the new hospital would be built and he thought it would cost around $100 million but they would have to study it some more to answer the questions. The only thing he seemed to know was that Moose Jaw and area would be reduced from over 100 beds to between 70 and 80. So it seems that the dye is cast for Moose Jaw that we will become a smaller health care centre and therefore more of our needs will be met in Regina. Right now many of our patients bypass the Moose Jaw Union Hospital and do go directly to Regina so they will have to fix the road in between or they will shake our ambulances to pieces.

I believe this type of election-driven announcement is totally hypocritical and should not be given any credence by the voter. What is more appalling is that this is a terrible way to manage the taxpayers’ dollars. When you start making $100 million announcements that are not budgeted and have no guarantee of funding that far down the road, you are doing taxpayers a huge disservice. There is the old saying about bribing people with their own money and this is certainly an example because all of us put such a high priority on our health care.

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

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