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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Today is a good day for two reasons. Yesterday, I had the opportunity to join my oldest son at Mosaic Stadium along with 30,000 other folks to watch the Roughriders win in double overtime and go on to the Western Final against Calgary next weekend. Football is meant to be played outdoors. We were all bundled up but the atmosphere was great, the noise was deafening and the cold didn’t matter once Clermont scored the winning touchdown. The other reason is the road just south of my yard – which washed out on June 17th – and many of you saw the picture that I emailed around and some of the media printed – FINALLY got fixed today. Unfortunately for many communities, families, farms and businesses they have yet to see the repair work done and will more than likely have to wait until next year.

Potash is a strategic resource but so are our homes and communities and the roads we drive on. We are all going to have to be very diligent about keeping our government’s promises about cleaning up the mess left behind by the summer of storms.

Speaking of strategic resources, Mr. Wall now wants to see the Federal Government open up our uranium resources to further foreign ownership. This is a short week after pressuring the Federal Government to turn down further development in our potash resources. The difference between uranium and potash is obvious to everyone. Uranium, in the wrong hands, could blow us all to hell and potash simply turns back into a rock if you don’t use it.

The President of Cameco, Mr. Grandey, stated emphatically that if we are going to allow other countries and particularly state-owned companies to come here and mine our uranium resource, there should first be reciprocal agreements in place to allow Canadian companies access to and control of their nuclear resources. When the provincial and federal Progressive Conservative governments joined together and created Cameco out of 2 crown corporations, we did so with very strict limits on foreign control and foreign direction of our uranium resources. Until very recently, uranium was such a strategic resource that there was very strict controls on the amount that could be mined in any given year and once processed, where that material would go.

Because Mr. Wall knows that no one can walk in and take over Cameco or any of the other state-controlled uranium mining companies in the world, he can safely say that Saskatchewan should be open for more uranium business. And he doesn’t need to rely on polling to make his stand - so much for political hypocrisy. Our Premier is good at it.

There is good news on the pulp and paper front. It seems that the unions involved with the former Weyerhaeuser plant in Prince Albert are prepared to work with another company and get that mill and the surrounding forest back to work. Let’s hope that the people in Northern Saskatchewan put Domtar’s feet to the fire so that they will allow the sale of the plant and also that the Sask Party government will have to keep the promises that they made in the last provincial election – namely getting that mothballed plant back to work.

I would like to finish off by commenting on the resignation last week of the Honourable Jim Prentice who was most recently Canada’s Environment Minister. I had the pleasure of going to Toronto and supporting Mr. Prentice when he ran for the leadership for the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada before it merged with the Canadian Alliance Party and became the Conservative Party of Canada. Mr. Prentice is just a very personable and I believe upstanding Canadian. Since his election in 2004, he has been a good Member of Parliament, great Cabinet Minister with all of his portfolios and I believe someone who brought a level of good demeanour and honesty to our political system. He was also seen as a moderate and someone who brought the Conservative Party to mainstream Canada. His progressive influence will be much missed on the Federal scene. We wish him well in his future endeavours.

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

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