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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

April 12th is always a special day because it means I have been able to stay on the right side of the grass for another year. You don’t like getting another year older but the alternative is not a whole bunch of fun either. Spring is here and that’s always a sign of optimism in Saskatchewan and we have never lost a crop in April.

This week’s wind storm and for some, snow and ice, is not great for calving cows, lambing or just getting the yard ready. There are reports of damage coming in from all over the province both urban and rural so we shall soon see if there is any room left in an already thin budget for assistance where it is needed.
Saskatchewan people are tough folks but sometimes you need a helping hand. That’s what our MLAs are for - not flipping each other the “bird” or wanting to go out behind some bar and duke it out like Mr. LeClerc wants to do with
Mr. Lingenfelter. The more of this garbage I hear about, the more convinced I am that we desperately need some PC MLAs to bring some sanity back to the Legislature.

Speaking of sanity - I’m not sure this latest move by the Sask Party government to allow health foundations free reign with patient’s names for fundraising is the right one. As a Progressive Conservative, I’ve always believed in individual responsibility and individual liberty. I have a responsibility to try and stay healthy, look after my body and pay my fair share of taxes to support the public medical system. As a cancer survivor, I also understand the need to raise funds outside the tax system to support research and other medical advances so that others can have the same opportunities. I also believe, however, that it is still my individual choice to indicate at the time of entering a hospital or a care facility whether I want to be solicited at a later date for fundraising by a particular health foundation.

Health privacy laws were enacted in this province and across Canada for some very good reasons. There have been several instances where the medical bureaucracy in this country has dropped the ball and allowed patient information out that should not have been released. This has particularly been the case with some women’s health issues. Let me, as a well-informed person, make the call on my admission for whether I wish to be solicited in the future. Most people will probably say yes. Once again, we see this Sask Party government with an arrogant attitude shooting from the hip instead of thinking the process through simply because they need more money in the health system. Let’s fix the problem - not trample individual liberty.

My final comment for the week is about the government’s decision to scrap SCN - the Saskatchewan television network setup by a previous PC government. SCN was set up to take satellite-based distance learning to rural areas so that students would have equal opportunity to get an education and not necessarily having to relocate to a major city. I have heard that some school divisions have recently installed all new satellite dishes on rural schools because of the growing problem of transporting students on buses over long distances. Imagine a six year old spending four hours a day riding a bus - that is not quality of life. The other thing that I believe will go by the wayside is the lost ability to tell the great stories about Saskatchewan’s rich history and culture and have it made into film. I am damn sure the folks in Ontario and Quebec aren’t going to do it - they never have. Maybe I’m all wet on this one but surely there was $5 million bucks to be found somewhere else in a $10 billion plus budget, like maybe Enterprise Saskatchewan which hasn’t produced a job yet. Anyway, if I am all wet on this one, please voice your opinion.

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

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