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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

I hope everyone has survived the first week of the election campaign and that your senses haven’t been dulled too much by the hundreds of thousands of dollars of advertising by the Sask Party and the NDP. It is unfortunate that our political system has evolved to what amounts to saturation bombing of people’s minds as an alternative to meaningful debate.

Speaking of debates, one of the big issues in the last week was the announcement by the media networks that only Brad Wall and Dwain Lingenfelter would be in the debate sponsored by the networks. Surprise, surprise! So the same debate which all of us have been subjected to for the last two years will once again get prime-time billing for an hour across the province of Saskatchewan. If there is a good hockey game on the other channel, it will probably win out. What the people in the networks don’t seem to get is that people are turning off from politics because there are no new and different solutions being offered. Unless you have a million dollars to buy enough space to promote an idea, it doesn’t get done. Our politics is becoming totally money driven.

The PC Party, Liberal Party and the Greens all put forward reasonable arguments as to why this debate would be a lot more appealing to Saskatchewan’s voters if there were more participants. The format needs to be changed so that it doesn’t become a contest of personalities but rather a contest of ideas and passion for the province of Saskatchewan. Both of the other two would fear that format. I do have to give Mr. Lingenfelter a little bit of credit because he did say that any party which had previously formed government in Saskatchewan should have the opportunity. My view is that if the Green Party has an idea that will make Saskatchewan a better place in which to live, they should have the opportunity to present it. The PC Party is not going to let this item die and I hope to be coming up with some innovative ideas this week to make the point that this format is wrong, it has simply become a one hour infomercial for the NDP and the Sask Party and they shouldn’t get free time broadcasting to promote their ideas unless everyone else gets the same opportunity.

The PC Party will be announcing more candidates this week and also releasing its election platform. I would like to let you in on some of that but I have learned that this commentary is now closely monitored by the other parties and it seems that our good ideas are now appearing as part of other party’s platform planks. Every time it happens, I am pleased that our ideas are making common sense for solving Saskatchewan’s problems but I would like to get the opportunity to release them during this campaign. We will keep trying to develop ways of doing things that are friendly to the taxpayer and keep talking about issues that the others won’t because they are issues of contention and of course, we don’t want contentious issues during this campaign – do we? Both the Sask Party and the NDP told you before this campaign began that it would not turn into a bidding war but if they keep up the same pace that we have seen during the first week of the campaign, everyone had better hide their wallets, take their cash out of the bank and bury it somewhere safe and try not be productive because our government is going to need a lot of cash to pay for the promises because this province is already in an operating deficit this year. We just won’t be told about it until December.

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

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