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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Go Riders Go! Like most everyone else in Saskatchewan, we were glued to the tv set yesterday afternoon with friends to watch the Riders pull out a great upset victory against the Stampeders. I wish I was as tough as some of those guys that were out there with bare arms in a wind chill of -30. Hopefully the weather will be better in Edmonton for the Grey Cup next Sunday and the toughness will come out against Montreal.

You will all remember last year when Mr. Wall couldn’t count and we had a $2 billion “oops” on potash revenue. Well at the time he announced to Saskatchewan people that his government was going to do things in a more frugal and smarter way when spending taxpayers’ dollars. With much fanfare, he set up “efficiencies” secretariat. There were 7 people in charge of doing things smarter and leaner and they had a $1 million budget to work with. We now find out that like many of the other pronouncements that Mr. Wall makes - and he is a good talker – that this entity has quietly fallen by the wayside and the government neglected to tell anyone. The secretariat shut down and was rolled into the Public Service Commission. The strange part of all of this is that they have created a new home over there, cut the staffing from 7 to 3 but increased the budget to $2.5 million. So what 7 people couldn’t do effectively on $1 million budget, now 3 people are going to do on $2.5 million budget. Go figure!

If Mr. Wall would quit hiring his friends at high salaries and quit giving away perks to the potash industry, I am sure we could find many savings for Saskatchewan taxpayers. The problem with politics in Saskatchewan right now is that everyone seems to be buying into Mr. Wall’s rhetoric and there is no counter-balance because of Mr. Lingenfelter’s ineptitude. There definitely needs to be other voices heard in this province.

It has come out this last week that more people than ever in Saskatchewan and across Canada are relying on food banks for their daily sustenance. It seems that the gap between rich and poor, the working poor and the middle class are growing larger every day. Also it seems that more people on the lower end of what has been our strong middle class of taxpayers are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meat. In my own community of Moose Jaw, food bank use and a deplorable lack of low income housing are putting a tremendous strain on a lot of people. Hunger in Moose Jaw, which is a community run organization, is having to step up and feed more children all of the time so that they get the basic necessities and nourishment needed to grow into healthy adults. Our current government seems fixated on domed-stadiums and those in society who can afford the tickets to such things. They always say the mark of a successful society is one that champions people through its entire spectrum. If we do not address these social issues, they will continue to grow and foster all of the unpleasant areas of the criminal justice system and dysfunctional families for generations to come.

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

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