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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Welcome to the month of April and we hope spring is here. Spring is always a time of optimism in Saskatchewan and no matter what our governments are up to, we as a people always feel we can overcome the obstacles placed in front of us. My observations of the Saskatchewan Legislature over the last couple of weeks, having attended three times personally and watching on TV, tells me there is a serious problem with decorum. The Speaker does not seem to be respected by either side and seems hesitant to rule when things start to deteriorate. Consequently, he is ignored. There is definitely a need for more parties in the Assembly. Maybe the Sask Party wouldn’t be so arrogant and the NDP would have to act like a real opposition instead of a mouth piece for special interest groups. If every voter were forced to sit through only one day, the whole lot of them would be thrown out. We taxpayers are paying a base salary of over $80,000.00 per year and deserve more.

That’s the other thing I can’t understand. They have been to work all of two weeks and now get a week off. The budget has just come down, there are a host of issues to deal with and the Legislature is shut down - go figure!

The government should be commended for putting more money into trying to shorten the waiting lists for surgery in Saskatchewan. The use of private sector clinics to potentially deliver some of the needed procedures will be something all of us will watch with great interest. From my vantage point, I will be watching to see how much of that $10 million the health boards will be able to fart away on needless administration as they have successfully done over the last 15 years of existence. You can hardly find a doctor in rural Saskatchewan these days so maybe if only the city folks are getting referrals from their GPs, the waiting times will improve.

I’m wondering how the removal of $100 million in risk management programming from Sask Agriculture is going to work in the face of a fairly dramatic downturn in world commodity prices, dry conditions down the entire west side of the province and a forecasted grasshopper outbreak which has the potential to be one of the worst in decades if it stays dry. I always thought those programs were in place so that farmers could try and minimize the risks inherent with farming without having to go hat-in-hand to government when the crap hits the fan. It seems a few good years in agriculture and everyone forgets reality.

This brings me to my final comment for the week. I really hoped there would be some announcement in the budget on a major water-related project. Our great irrigation potential centered around Lake Diefenbaker has been ignored for far too long. There is a proposal out there to bring badly-needed supplies of potable water to the Moose Jaw- Regina industrial corridor and at the same time, lay the ground work for approximately 70,000 acres of irrigation northwest of Moose Jaw. This would be accomplished by constructing a canal south of the Qu’Appelle Valley all the way from the Qu’Appelle Dam to Buffalo Pound Lake. What a boon to dry old southern Saskatchewan and the opportunity to bring new industrial activity to our communities. Does the Sask Party have that kind of vision or will they simply continue navel gazing about a $400 million plus domed stadium for downtown Regina? Maybe they are saving the announcement for the coming election. What do you think?

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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.

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