Today begins the spring session of the Legislative Assembly. As we have all seen from watching recent newscasts, the small NDP official opposition is down right inept at holding the Sask Party government accountable. There have been many opportunities to question the government’s actions on what appears to be total reversals of the Sask Party’s election promises from last fall. What we have heard from the NDP opposition is a deafening silence or else half-hearted attempts to question the government’s motives. If this entire session is carried on in this manner, we will have become virtually a one-party state in this province. That is not a good situation to have.
We still have the Premier of the province telling us how good things are here and in the next breath - he talks about budget cuts and not being able to live within the means of the best economy this province has probably ever seen. Our system of government does not work well unless there is a broad public discussion on major issues. That is usually only achieved because the various opposition parties bring it to the public’s attention in a way that governments cannot simply run their agendas through unopposed. This is an opportunity for the PC Party to present alternatives to the public of Saskatchewan in a way that allows us to govern ourselves in a productive manner.
As you know from earlier commentaries, the Sask Party government and its Speaker of the Legislative, Mr. D’Autremont, do not like people like myself and Grant Schmidt going to the Legislative Assembly to voice those alternatives and have put very strict guidelines in place whenever either one of us shows up there. It will be extremely interesting the first time that I walk in the doors of the Legislature to see if Mr. D’Autremont’s security guards are going to be my shadow at all times and prevent me from – for instance – stopping in the Legislative rotunda to speak with the reporters gathered there.
On the Federal side of politics, the growing election scandal involving so-called robocalls to federal ridings – calls which were intended to disrupt people’s voting habits and patterns – has continued to expand. Elections Canada is now receiving calls from concerned citizens from dozens of federal constituencies instead of the one or two Ontario ridings initially brought up. How much of this is real and how much is just partisan push back from the NDP and Liberals will have to be sorted out. One thing is certain and that is the democratic right to vote without interference is something that must be protected at all costs by Canadians. It is extremely important that Elections Canada carries out a thorough investigation in a non-partisan manner, find out who the guilty parties are and make sure that the full weight of the law is brought to bare. This type of campaigning cannot become the “norm” in our country, our provinces or at our municipal level of politics. This idea that political parties have been fostering with their partisan members that you should win at all costs is dangerous. A good example of this attitude is what the Sask Party has done in Saskatchewan with the PC Party’s Trust Funds. Their approach has been that it is so important to defeat the NDP that you can set aside your moral foundations of right and wrong in order to achieve victory. I believe this “win-at-all costs attitude” is simply a tool of some politicians and their group of insiders who are looking for ways to achieve political power by convincing the public that another particular party is worth defeating at all costs. The Sask Party have been masters at this over the last half dozen years.
We have no idea how many individuals are involved in this robocalls scheme from the last federal election but I hope that the upper management and political movers and shakers of the Federal Conservative Party cooperate fully with Elections Canada and root out anyone that has jeopardized Canadian voter’s rights and have them removed from the Conservative Party and turned over to the justice system. Perhaps it is time for the message managers in all of our political parties to start concentrating on good government rather than the political well-being of their parties and the political well-being of elected members ahead of the jobs they were elected to do and that is to serve the best interests of you and me.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.