The 3rd Saskatchewan Party budget will be upon us in two days and I’m sure there will be much to talk about afterwards. For the first time in my memory, we have an incumbent Premier advertising on the radio with paid political advertisements that he will have a balanced budget. This tells me there must be something about this provincial budget that Brad Wall does not want us paying attention to on Wednesday. How this budget will be balanced after the little $2 billion miscalculation last year will truly be an interesting exercise in money management.
That brings me back to the comments for the week. The PC Party of Saskatchewan has always believed that we should do everything possible to not only develop our resources, but ensure as many jobs as possible stay in Saskatchewan. That policy makes our economy withstand the downturns in international commodity prices and ensures that tax dollars stay in Saskatchewan to pay for our health, education and social programs we all enjoy. This is why we campaigned in the last election on making Saskatchewan a business-friendly jurisdiction by harmonizing the PST with the federal GST. Many business groups have recently voiced the same opinion to the provincial government. They, like the PC Party, understand that you cannot simply continue taking resources out of the ground and hope to build a lasting economy.
Over the last 2½ years, we have seen the Sask Party government commission study after study into various parts of our provincial economy spending large sums of taxpayers’ money with nary an announcement of something long-term and meaningful. The paper mill in Prince Albert has not been reopened with a new mandate or another use being found. There have been no new Saskfercos or heavy oil upgraders even though the demand seems greater than ever. There has been an almost total loss of the red meat processing industry in Saskatchewan even though we are large producers of those commodities. We are pumping ever-increasing amounts of crude oil to the Americans and infact, may surpass Alberta on the conventional crude side the year. How many of those refining jobs are staying in Saskatchewan? Zero!
The cable plant in Moose Jaw, which was brought here by a PC government to supply Sask Power, shut down in January and 35 more good jobs left our province.
No wonder Brad Wall could not balance the budget last year and why he and his party had to come up with those bogus numbers on potash royalties. The Sask Party and the NDP are no different when it comes to building our economy - they just use different language and pay off different friends. Has anyone heard what Enterprise Saskatchewan has done for us lately? No because the answer is nothing. New jobs in the service sector are great and we all need various services but try raising a family on $10.00 an hour or paying the mortgage on a home. Evidently, Brad Wall can pay $105,000.00 cash for a house in the Phoenix area for a few weeks vacation each year on his salary, so what we need to do in Saskatchewan is get more people with that kind of income power. That means electing a government that really wants to do something constructive instead of whining about how they don’t want to pick winners and losers.
I look forward to your feedback on these thoughts, on this week’s budget and why Brad Wall is advertising a balanced budget ahead of time when he’s already paying Rod Gantefoer to stand up and read the thing on Wednesday?
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.