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Like many other frustrated cattle people, Joanne and I made the difficult decision to sell a large part of our cow herd on November 27, 2010. It will certainly change the way that our farming operation functions as a viable business. We have replaced those cows with more farm land for the next few years. After a very difficult year and harvest, it was time for a change and we took a much needed mental and physical break. I was able to observe some American politics and came to the conclusion that other than the weather, Canada is a pretty good place to live but that’s not to say we cannot be a lot smarter about the way things are done here.

As all of you are aware, the recent report on child welfare in the province of Saskatchewan clearly shows that we need to do things smarter and better and with more empathy than we have at present. We also need, as a society, to be prepared to talk about the reasons for the current mess being here. We in Saskatchewan are going to have to be like a person who wants to give up their addictions. An alcoholic doesn’t get cured until they go to an AA meeting and stands up and say “My name is….and I am an alcoholic”. In Saskatchewan, the recent report said that over 80% of the children in the current system are aboriginal or of mixed ancestry. That is a terrible indictment because only 15-20% of our population is aboriginal or of mixed ancestry. We as a society and certainly those that we entrust to govern us are going to have to begin speaking in very plain and direct terms about these issues or we are going to have another generation of dysfunctional people the same as the ones who obviously at present don’t have the proper parenting skills. If individuals in our society are going to keep producing children to simply throw them into the welfare system and we do not identify and rectify the problem than we as a society will not move forward. My reading of the report, its recommendations and the government’s response tells me that they are really only paying lip service to the problem. I would encourage all of you to have a look at the report and come to your own conclusions. My conclusion is that people continue and politicians continue to dance around the issue of the amount of aboriginal children in our system for fear of being branded a racist.

It seems the bad weather that we experienced all summer is continuing into the winter months with excessive amounts of snow fall causing extremely dangerous driving conditions in Saskatchewan. It seems hardly a day goes by without a fatality occurring somewhere in the province due to ice or poor visibility. Our major urban areas seem to be unable to cope with snow removal and in fact most of our urban centres are forecasting major tax hikes for their ratepayers in order to continue to provide services. There are still many people who have not been able to access the required assistance because of the flooding which occurred this summer and deadlines are approaching or have past for the granting of financial assistance. It would seem, therefore, that there are a lot of necessary items for our provincial government to pay attention to so that the needs of our citizens are looked after and that the financial burden of increased taxation can be held to a minimum. The continued talk of a new domed stadium in Regina just seems so out of place with all of these other day-to-day necessities not being met by the current government. Perhaps there is a great win fall of dollars being stored up for the election which will be held in November 2011 and all of our problems will be solved with this flood of election money.

As trying as 2010 has been, we have many things to be thankful for. We live in a very secure environment surrounded by family and friends and most of us don’t fear to walk down the street at night. We are a province blessed with many natural resources and when we all pull together for the right reasons, we can achieve great things. As we go through this Christmas season, we should be thankful for all the blessings that we have.

From the Swenson household to yours, we wish you a happy and joyful time with family, friends and community and that as you all travel about, that you have safe arrivals and departures and we all look forward to a prosperous New Year. To those of you that celebrate Christmas, have a Merry Christmas and to those that celebrate other devotions and practices, Seasons Greetings and best wishes.

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