I hope everyone had a great long weekend. Mine was spent going around and around or back and forth trying to get some spring seeding done. As I went to bed last night around 11:30 PM, I could still hear tractors going in some of my neighbour’s fields. Hopefully in these stressful days that those involved in agriculture also think about safety on the farm.
My note this morning is about some thoughts I’ve had while spending all of those hours thinking about our great province and what the newly-elected Sask Party government and their huge majority has done about it.
Usually when a government is re-elected to a second term with an even bigger majority, you begin to see a master plan or a vision for the second term. The larger majority should mean a greater degree of comfort for the government and therefore they can begin to address long-term issues that require political will. So what has this government done with their huge majority in this last session of the Legislative Assembly? They have used their huge majority to add 3 new MLAs to the Legislature and all the costs associated with that. They got rid of the Chief Electoral Officer who questioned the Sask Party’s fundraising tactics at Leader’s Dinners. They have wiped out Saskatchewan’s film and television industry. They cut back on help for senior citizens on fixed incomes. They have also increased tuition to all of our students. They have also decided to roll all of Saskatchewan’s labour legislation into one bill and have given the province only 3 months to comment on the process. June, July and August are when most people take summer holidays. Wouldn’t this have been a better project for the winter months when we all have more time to think about what the future of our province should look like?
Almost none of these issues were raised during the last election campaign by the Sask Party. In fact, when asked about any of these issues Brad Wall said exactly the opposite. He bragged about and is on record about how well Saskatchewan’s film tax credit was working and if you remember, our Premier couldn’t wait to get himself on an episode of Corner Gas. No one dreamt during last October’s election campaign that we would be adding more politicians to Saskatchewan’s legislature simply because Sask Party MLAs do not want to be competing against each other in contested nominations after redistribution. We now have a new Chief Electoral Officer who was picked by a few Sask Party and NDP MLAs in a backroom of the Legislative Assembly. What a way to end your first big legislative session with your huge majority government.
Today Saskatchewan farmers have the prospect of running out of fertilizer for spring seeding. We are a natural place to build fertilizer plants. Today the price of fuel continues to go up for all sectors of Saskatchewan’s society. Our oil is being discounted as we ship it to the Americans for refining instead of making sure Western Canada and Saskatchewan are well supplied. Today our major hospitals are still running well over 100% occupancy and doctors in the south believe they are being punished by this government and the surgical opportunities that we should have are being curtailed. School boards all over this province are now realizing that the education budget was indeed a cut for many of them and programming is already being cut back. I believe our so-called balanced budget has been a figment of Brad Wall’s imagination ever since the first quarter results of the potash industry were announced and the fact that oil prices have been steadily dropping over the last month. Enterprise Saskatchewan has been a total bust and the only part of economic development that was working was the local RDCs and they had their funding cut off at budget time. So much for the vision and the large majority to implement it.
The only thing this large majority has done and voted on is the long-term job security of Brad Wall and his friends and the self interest of the Saskatchewan Party. I guess we are paying our politicians too much if all they can think about is looking after their own self interest ahead of everything else that needs doing in this province today and in the future.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.