Just a quick thanks to all those people that responded to last week’s Monday Morning Commentary and a special thanks to those that wrote to the Premier and to the Speaker. As I said in my remarks last week, this is a non-partisan issue and about preserving our democratic traditions and forums. I can assure you that this matter is not going away and will be pursued vigorously by myself and by Mr. Schmidt.
I would like to congratulate the Canadian government and the Prime Minister on the recent trade mission to China. The ability of Saskatchewan companies to sell uranium to Chinese electrical utilities is long overdue. What would have made the deal even better would be for our companies to be able to negotiate and sell end-user contracts that would see the uranium returned to special depositories in northern Saskatchewan’s Precambrian shield. This would do two things. It would take away the uncertainty about what the Chinese government will do with the spent uranium fuel after it leaves the electrical generating plants and it would allow Saskatchewan companies and ultimately the taxpayer of this province, to value-add our uranium resources. I am sure that the Chinese electrical utilities are the same as other ones the world over who have to spend immense amounts of capital designing onsite storage facilities for spent fuel rods. We would be doing the world a service by ensuring this material is properly stored and not used for nuclear weapons. Now is time for Mr. Wall and his government to get off of the fence and take advantage of this opportunity.
Speaking of Mr. Wall and his fence sitting, it is time for the Sask Party government to stop playing the shell game that the NDP played previously of selectively stripping crown corporations and using bogus “rainy day” funds to try and make the people of this province believe that our budget is balanced. When the Sask Party was in opposition, they were huge proponents of Saskatchewan joining the rest of Canada and begin to use summary financial statements when reporting on the finances of this province. Instead, we see them using the same old tactics that the NDP used ignoring the wishes of the provincial auditor and ignoring those groups in business who call for this type of accounting. For our Minister of Finance to come forward now – a month before the next budget is presented and tell us that corporate income tax is off by a couple of hundred million dollars and potash revenues are declining much more than anticipated but yes, we will still have a balanced budget – is totally bizarre. Many of these issues have been known to the Sask Party government even in advance of last fall’s election campaign. The extent of flooding in Saskatchewan in 2011 was well known by then and the fact that international commodity markets have been slowing down for a number of reasons was also well known. I don’t believe Mr. Wall and his Minister of Finance wanted the truth told last November and they needed time to come up with this current financial statement to try and make it look like something real.
The truth of the matter is that our crown corporation debt is going up and we will all have to pay for that debt. If Sask Power made a little more money than what was forecasted, heaven forbid that it be siphoned off for the blunders of politicians. Sask Power has a huge infrastructure deficit staring it square in the face. If our economy is to grow and attract industry, power is one of the primary needs in order to encourage business to locate here and we must be competitive with the jurisdictions around us. This government has shown a total disregard for the health of the crowns and has been loading debt on them almost from the day it has taken office so that our Premier can run around and talk about the “new” Saskatchewan and the boom. A boom can only be sustained with prudent financial management and the proceeds of our industries being used to strengthen our economy in a way that will last for generations – not just the political well-being of whatever group of politicians currently has control in Regina. With the Sask Party, it is all about keeping their jobs for themselves and their friends. We need summary financial statements and a change in the way our government reports to us so that we all can make the right decisions for the right reasons in the future.
Your feedback is welcome on anything you see in the Monday Morning Commentary. Please send your comments to contact @pcsask.ca. If you know of anyone that would be interested in receiving this by email, please forward me their email address. Also – don’t forget to check out our ever-changing website at pcsask.ca.
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.