Finally some good weather in Saskatchewan! I, like most other farmers in Saskatchewan, am burning the candle at both ends to try and get the crop in on time. Let’s hope it continues for the next 10 days or so and there will be a lot more smiles on rural faces.
Someone who won’t be smiling this past week is our former acting Chief Electoral Officer, David Wilkie. The Sask Party has finally succeeded in getting rid of him and a new Chief Electoral Officer has been approved in a backroom of the Legislature by Sask Party and NDP MLAs. None of the other political parties in Saskatchewan were consulted in the least and we continue to perpetuate a system that only favours those parties with members in the legislature. Mr. Wilkie was a good public servant, totally unbiased and led this province through a number of by-elections and a general election and served us well. He did, however, question how the Sask Party raised money at Leader’s dinners and called into question the spending of a number of their MLAs. In this province, it appears you don’t question Brad Wall and his backroom boys without consequences. The PC Party thanks Mr. Wilkie for his service to our province.
I want to congratulate the film and arts industry who were rallying across the province this past weekend with the intention of ending up on the steps of the legislature to push for the right kind of legislation and funding for their industry. This industry has much to offer our province. We are an ideal location in North America to let our very talented people practice their craft for the enjoyment of all of us. They must have fiscal regimes which allow them to be competitive with the jurisdictions around them. The Sask Party government applies these principles to all of our natural resources. It certainly seems to recognize it when it comes to professional football teams and we cannot condemn our young people who are creative to a life that must be lived in other parts of Canada because we do not recognize and value their creativity at home. The Sask Party government and Mr. Wall are quite happy to go to Ireland on the taxpayers’ ticket and look for trades people so why not keep our artistic people at home doing what they do best – entertaining the rest of us. If you get a chance, join these folks on the steps of the Legislature when they ask for a reasonable hearing from a reasonable Cabinet Minister.
Like many of you, I have heard the rumours about large amounts of Chinese money coming into Saskatchewan looking for two things – farmland and urban real estate. I know in my own area that farmland is being purchased and these purchases are driving up the price of agricultural land. Our entire farming industry was built by people who came here to develop our agricultural resource. Those of us who are now 4 and 5 generations down the road appreciate that ability to stay and prosper which our forefathers worked so hard for.
The problem I have with the Chinese money is that no one and particularly our government, is commenting on it and clearing the air. The Chinese communist government has an official policy to buy food-producing land all over the world. They have bought large acreages in Africa, South America and in appears now that they are looking at Canada. The objective is to produce food for their huge population at home so that they don’t have to buy it from farmers all over the world who do produce it. If Canadian farmland is simply going to be producing raw products for communist China’s population and are going to bypass our trading system then what do we gain from this investment? For years, China ignored world trade organization demands to float their currency like the rest of us, to respect intellectual property rights and to not set up artificial trade barriers as we have seen recently with canola and beef. I believe it is time that our government told us exactly where this Chinese investment is coming from and what is the end goal. Many of our own young people are beginning to look at agricultural as a worthwhile endeavour. They do not need to have land values here driven up by official government policy of another country which offers no benefit to Saskatchewan or Canada. Mr. Wall’s land speculator friends might think it is great but the rest of us need to know the truth of the matter.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.