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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

What a difference a week makes in Saskatchewan. From rain and snow to +26 C in a matter of days, and now we hear the roar of tractors running day and night trying to get the crop in. We used to call this the biggest mega project in the province but now it seems to take a back seat to a lot of other things and hardly gets mentioned in the halls of political power these days. It was therefore nice to hear this past week that a BC company - Donald’s Fine Foods has purchased the moth-balled pork plant in Moose Jaw and is looking at a late 2010 start up date. They are talking about 200 jobs being created which will be a tremendous boost to Moose Jaw and give Saskatchewan hog producers an alternative market a lot closer to home. The city of Moose Jaw took quite a financial hit to make this deal happen but understood that an empty building wasn’t going to make a winner out of anyone. The Mayor and council should be commended.

Speaking of winners and losers, just about everyone involved with economic development in this province has come to the same conclusion about the Premier’s much bragged about “Enterprise Saskatchewan”. It has been a waste of time and money. Other than a chance for some of the Sask Party’s biggest financial donors to get together and have lunch at the expense of the taxpayers of this province, not one job has been created. As Bruce Johnstone of the Leader Post said instead of cutting its budget from $45 million to $35 million per year, simply admit your mistake and cancel the thing entirely and start fresh. Or better yet, take some advice from Progressive Conservatives - we know how to build things that last for the long haul. Mr. Wall - get your hands off of our Trust Funds and we will be happy to talk about economic development and it won’t cost the taxpayers all those fancy lunches.

My final comment for the week involves the now independent member of the Legislature for Saskatoon Northwest and the fact that he hasn’t darkened the door of the Assembly since his fall from grace. Evidently, he has a medical leave (I didn’t know embarrassment was a medical condition) to be absent and was quoted in the media to the effect that because he was now an independent, his power to represent the people who elected him had all but disappeared. I would trade places with him in a heartbeat. A single member with the courage of his or her convictions can still get the job done. It’s not an easy row to hoe but look at Linda Haverstock after the ‘91 Saskatchewan election or Debra Grey who was the only Reformer in the federal House of Commons. If Mr. LeClerc is going to collect the paycheque, he better walk the walk. I had a medical dispensation while going through 9 months of chemotherapy in 1987 as a sitting member. I still attended the Legislature whenever I wasn’t directly on the 7 different drugs they gave me to get cured. Mr. Wall and his college Ted Merriman recruited this guy, they should take the lead in telling him to either do your duty or be gone and let someone else with better character step up and do the job for the voters of Saskatoon. I’m not holding my breath that either one will do that.

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