Happy Canada Day to everyone! Many of you probably ended the day watching fireworks in your local community. Joanne and I were also watching the fireworks but it was the tremendous thunderstorm that descended on our area late Sunday night. It went on for half the night and we woke up to 2.2 inches in the rain gauge on Monday morning. Luckily only a few hailstones fell but we have heard reports of widespread hail damage to the west of our farm. This seems to be a fairly common event in Saskatchewan this year and you can only feel for those folks who wake up in the morning to destroyed fields, wrecked yards and flooded basements.
I am extremely happy to tell the world that the PC Party of Saskatchewan now has its Trust Fund back doing what it was intended for and that is supporting the efforts of the PC Party of Saskatchewan. The Party has put in place new Trustees who are now in the process of assuming control of the funds and we will finally look forward to putting the PC Party’s message in front of Saskatchewan voters in a consistent manner. The struggle has been long and trying and very expensive. This is a tribute to my colleagues in leadership positions with the Party who have soldiered through this tough period in our Party’s history. There is much more work to be done.
The price of oil continues to drop. This has many ramifications for the province of Saskatchewan. As all of you are aware, Saskatchewan’s provincial budget is heavily dependent on revenue from our petroleum resource. I have seen projections and commentary from various people in the industry and the commodity markets who say that the price of crude may drop below $40 a barrel. This scenario is really bad news/good news for a province like Saskatchewan because along with the fall of oil, the Canadian dollar would also drop versus the American greenback. That would mean many of our commodities would be more affordable to our customers because they could buy more with the US dollar which is still the currency of world commerce. My fear is that our current government who has become so reliant on the flow of petro dollars will not be able to adjust its spending habits to accommodate this reality if it should come about.
It is very frustrating as a high user of both gasoline and diesel fuel that we have not seen a corresponding drop in prices at the pump with this fairly dramatic fall in oil prices. It convinces me more than ever that we need more refining capacity in western Canada so that we are producing finished products which retain their value far better than raw products which are exported into a falling international market. Gasoline, diesel fuel and other refined products not only have high retail demand here because of our resource-based economy but continue to do so around the world. It is time Canadians had the discussion about what percentage of our oil resources are shipped out in raw form. The current debate around building pipelines is not just an environmental one but has huge economic impacts that we should be having an open and frank discussion about. I have not heard either the federal government or our provincial one give any indication that they would like to have this discussion. That is wrong.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.