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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

I hope everyone’s Christmas shopping experience is a good one because it can be a very frustrating time of the year trying to get the “right” gift for that someone special. It is hard to not let the commercialization of Christmas get to you. The advertising campaigns on television almost remind you of the saturation political bombardment we saw in the last provincial election campaign. I hope that everyone has the opportunity to get together with family and friends and enjoy the true Christmas spirit.

Grant Schmidt and I attended the Legislature on the last day – last Thursday – and some people there were accusing us of being the “grinch” that stole Christmas from the Sask Party caucus. We went there to do the right thing and that was to inform the public and the media of Saskatchewan about our trust funds and the amount of money that was revealed to us during this fall’s election campaign. We were pleased to see that as of December 31, 2010, there was $3,353,862 in our trust fund. We also called for a judicial inquiry into the way that the Sask Party and its supporters have manipulated the democratic process in our province by denying us access to these funds. The PC Party feels very strongly that the public has a right to know about the funds that supported our election campaign and we will be reporting our financial statement as of December 31, 2010 to the province’s Chief Electoral Officer. We also will be reporting that the PC Party received three instalments from its trust funds for the first time since 2005. These funds allowed the PC Party to begin re-establishing its brand across this province and even though we only ran five candidates, it is a tremendous victory for our party to be able to finally use these trust funds to advance our views of how to make Saskatchewan a better place in which to live.

The unfortunate part of this story is that the mutual agreement between the PC Party and its former trustees to bring this matter to a mutually-agreeable conclusion in the later part of October 2011 was once again thwarted by the Sask Party. We were informed by the former trustees’ lawyer that unless we were prepared to also settle with the Sask Party, then he could not advise his clients to settle with the PC Party of Saskatchewan for fear that the Sask Party could then potentially sue his clients. The strange part about this is that the Sask Party has always maintained that they have had nothing to do with interference in the PC trust funds. If that is the case, why then would they want to be absolved of any potential wrong doing? Innocent people or parties don’t generally need to be absolved of anything. So it seems this matter will have to drag through into 2012 but the issue that our former trustees and their supporters maintained for years that the PC Party wasn’t who they said they were has now been dashed for good. Those three cheques to the PC Party of Saskatchewan clearly establish who the beneficiary of that trust fund is. And I guarantee you that those funds will be put to work presenting clear alternatives to the current government. Saskatchewan needs, now more than ever, to have an opposition voice which appeals to both rural and urban folks because the NDP clearly does not do that anymore. Our governments only work well when there are people and organizations to keep them accountable.

In my January commentary, I will be talking about the legislation brought in by the government in the dying minutes of this legislative session to add more seats to our legislature. Saskatchewan does not need more MLAs but that is a discussion for another day because there is a lot to talk about.

Joanne and I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and hope that the prosperity of our great province is able to touch each and every one of us in a positive way in the year to come.

The next Monday Morning Commentary will be sent out on January 2, 2012.

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