I know this is not Monday morning but I thought it might be worthwhile waiting till the latest instalment of the saga surrounding our chief electoral officer came to pass. I attended an all-party meeting at Elections Saskatchewan today and was not disappointed. The process started last week whereby the PCs, provincial Liberals and the Greens started to thwart the Sask Party’s attempt to get rid of the current acting Chief Electoral Officer and replace him with one of their own choosing has really kicked over the proverbial ant hill. The Sask Party rep showed up with not only his assistant but also two - that’s right two - lawyers from the McKercher firm to try and intimidate us all. I can assure you it did not work. Of course this is the same firm which represents the former Trustees of the PC Trust account and who work so hard at keeping that money from it’s rightful place in the political life of our province.
All of the parties present except for the Sask Party, expressed their support for Mr. Wilkie and encouraged him to continue on with the good work he and his team are doing on behalf of Saskatchewan voters. He really does need all of our support. If the Sask Party tries to use their majority in the House to get rid of him, I believe there will truly be hell to pay for such an abuse of power.
The budget document released on budget day is a difficult read. The government has done their best to dress this sows ear like a silk purse. They are playing the same silly game that the NDP did with so-called savings accounts of “rainy day” funds that the provincial auditor says is simply a shell game. We are running our second consecutive deficit in Saskatchewan and when you look at the borrowings of government and crowns, it is now higher than when the NDP were in power. If the Canadian dollar continues to appreciate, their numbers will not be anywhere close. Saskatchewan loses about $21 million in revenue for every cent the loonie goes up. The budget projects the loonie at 0.95 and it hasn’t been there for weeks already.
It looks like the agriculture budget took a $97 million hit but it is really hard to figure out where the cutbacks are. Some good social programs like the Adult Learning Centre in Regina, which had matching Federal dollars, has been blown away. This program had a board of directors from the business sector and concentrated on upgrading people skills so that they could be more employable and not dependent on social welfare. Why you would tank a program that had matching federal money and the backing of business to save $350,000.00 is beyond comprehension. As I have said before, if this was a good piece of fiscal management you wouldn’t have such a massive pre and post budget advertising campaign by the Sask Party and their Leader.
I attended Question Period again today sitting behind the bar of the House as former members are allowed to do. The reporters afterwards asked me if I noticed all the hairy eyeballs looking my way which makes me think it’s a good idea for the Leader of the PC Party to be there as often as possible if it causes that much discomfort for some.
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.