Hopefully this last week of snow and wind is our final test for the winter of 2012/13. I have asked myself many times about the wisdom of running for RM Council and then having the worst winter since 1973/74. Like many rural areas of the province, I am not sure if we would have the ability to dig out from another storm like that. The cuts on our roads are so deep that our current equipment can’t throw it high enough anymore. The province’s highways are not in much better shape.
This is going to have ramifications for a whole host of people this spring. We had our first calf Friday night in the snow and by the time that we got there in the morning, there was only one hind leg left. Ranches and farmers are going to face this reality all spring - the coyotes are hungry. Urban and rural people have the prospect of severe flooding and the corresponding damage that occurs from it. And finally, the challenges for the agriculture industry to get this year’s crop in the ground will be huge in some areas.
It mystifies me why the Premier and the Sask Party government would not want to put something in the budget for the obvious reasons. We all know there will be expenses. You can always top up or reduce budgets over the course of the year. I think what he really wanted to avoid was adding more spending so that the people would somehow continue to believe Mr. Wall and the Sask Party are balancing the budget even though Saskatchewan’s total debt has gone up by over $2 billion in the last two years.
I am attaching the response that I did on behalf of the PC Party to the budget so I am not going to go on at great lengths in this commentary. Obviously there are some good things there. Monies dedicated to Alzheimer patients and research is a good thing. Funding for more transition houses and families at risk are long overdue given that Saskatchewan has one of the worst records of abuse in the entire country. Providing insulin pumps for young people so that they can be more productive and putting more money into cancer research are all things to be commended.
But I ask you….are these not the things that a government should do as a matter of course? Is it not the responsibility of government to help those in our society who cannot help themselves? So it begs the question…over these last five years of the best incomes that Saskatchewan has ever seen…what took the government so long to get these things done?
Is it because they were so busy spending money on some of Mr. Wall’s legacy projects that the real needs have been ignored up until now when our resource revenue is starting to go the other way? If this government would do something about the bloated health bureaucracy in this province in the health regions, I suggest there would be a lot more funds available for programs such as this.
When I included in my commentary last week that my knee surgery was cancelled at the last minute, I was surprised at the amount of responses I received from people with similar health situations. Obviously our health care system has been letting people down for a long time. What is the point of calling people in, getting them all prepped, doing the pre-ops, the blood work, the x-rays, the scans and then not following through with the procedure? The costs must be horrific. My minor surgery will require all of these tests to be conducted again and there is still no guarantee that a last minute cancellation can’t happen again. I can understand after the feedback I got why Mr. Wall’s backbenchers would be pushing for more money to reduce wait times around surgeries because so many people have been affected adversely with this current wasteful system.
It really makes you wonder when you hear of a Saskatchewan born and raised orthopaedic surgeon who wishes to practice in his home province can’t find a job here because the government claims there are enough surgeons available. That means that someone is either not telling the truth or our politicians have let the bureaucracy take total control of the medical system. I would think a backup surgeon on many days could pay for him or herself by not having to cancel surgeries at the last minute and re-perform all of the tests required for the patient to come in again two or three months later. But here I go thinking outside the box again and that doesn’t seem to be allowed in Saskatchewan.
Please read my response to the budget. I don’t normally use humour in my writing and maybe I have a twisted sense of it anyway but I don’t think my response was as bad as the one used by the NDP and their credit card analogy. The sad thing is that this government is so arrogant it probably wouldn’t matter how anyone responded – they wouldn’t pay attention anyway.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.