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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

It appears that the readers of this commentary are stuck with me for at least another year as I have been reconfirmed as Leader of the PC Party of Saskatchewan by the PC Party membership at this past weekend’s Annual General Meeting. Under the PC Party of Saskatchewan’s constitution, Leaders face an automatic review vote after every election. It is a tremendous honour to go through this process and have your body of work recognized. My fondest dream is that when I finish my tenure and the Party selects another leader that this new person will find a Party vibrant with ideas with the trust of Saskatchewan citizens.

I don’t very often talk about internal PC Party matters but this week I would like to comment on the subject matters that arose at the annual meeting because I believe this was a good sampling of opinions from across the province and a good sampling of the concerns that exist in our province. Members of the PC Caucus presented opinion pieces on topics like the new federal skills training program, the closure of Valley View in Moose Jaw, the use of P3’s (public private partnerships) and the privatization of our land titles transfer system. There was much discussion on the state of health care in the province, the possible loss of medical certification for the College of Medicine U of S and the non-inclusion of the hyperbaric chamber in the new Moose Jaw Regional Hospital.

There is one common denominator about many of these items and that is the current government’s total lack of vision with the consequences of many of these items. As you have heard me say many times before, this is a government that lives for today and their own political gratification rather than some plan for the future of this province.

Several speakers involved in industry lamented about the lack of trained employees to do projects. The SIAST system, particularly some of the existing schools like the one in Moose Jaw which is heavily biased towards trade training, is not being expanded in this time of need. There has been no mention or monies allocated to take advantage of the new federal program announced in last month’s federal budget.

The consequences of using public private partnerships could be a real step backwards for Saskatchewan taxpayers if this is simply a way for the Sask Party government to off load necessary public infrastructure from their budgeting process to maintain the illusion of balanced budgets. PC Members have no problem with government entering into agreements with the private sector which develop new ways of expanding value-adding to our resource base or building on some of our current successes. These types of agreements can easily be sun-setted and attached to profitability levels which the public can understand. Building schools, hospitals and highways with nothing but long-term pain for future taxpayers is something that will have to be given a lot more thought than what we have heard from the Sask Party so far.

The issues surrounding foreign and corporate ownership of Saskatchewan farmland were certainly front and centre. The Sask Party government promised months ago that they would put in place an investigator to look into the transactions by various land acquiring companies as to where the money is coming from and is it the right way for Saskatchewan farmland to be marketed into the future. To my knowledge, the name of that individual, his or her remuneration and possible ties to the Sask Party government have not been revealed. It is not in the public’s best interest to have this matter done in secret. There must be full disclosure and there must be total independence for such a person doing this task. This has to happen because of this government’s close ties to some of the people involved with these land buying companies.

All in all, I believe our AGM was a tremendous success and a step forward for the PC Party in its rebuilding mission. It was gratifying to see new people applying for membership and in particular, a former Sask Party MLA applying for membership in the PC Party.

I believe this Party is the perfect political alterative for people who were formally Liberals voters, New Democrats voters and more and more disillusioned Sask Party voters to rebuild a progressive party so that the people of Saskatchewan can have a government governing for the right reasons.

Your feedback is welcome on anything you see in the Monday Morning Commentary. Please send your comments to contact @pcsask.ca. If you know of anyone that would be interested in receiving this by email, please forward me their email address. Also – don’t forget to check out our website at pcsask.ca.

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

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