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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Spring came in a big rush to the Swenson farm in the Rural Municipality of Baildon last Thursday. Our RM Council cut our first road around midnight last Thursday to save the yard and home of a ratepayer and we have been doing it every day since then.

It is a good thing that we had a very slow melt for over a week before things really got going. This has certainly been an interesting first six months of being an RM Councillor and dealing with all of the issues this past winter and spring have brought about. Trying to figure out how we are going to pay for all of the damage is also going to be an interesting experience as municipal governments are not allowed to run operating deficits. We also have the Moose Jaw River run through about a third of our municipality and it is not even close to cresting so I am sure there will be many interesting days to come as we watch the major bridges on a lot of our very important grid roads and hopefully not have them put out of commission.

Joanne has taken a number of interesting photos – some of which appeared on the front page of the Moose Jaw Times Herald on Saturday and some of which are available on the Leader Post website. The Leader Post website shows water flowing over #2 Highway, south of Moose Jaw and three pictures of water over some of our major grids and the culvert below our farm which was only repaired late last fall after being out since 2010. The Leader Post has incorrectly labelled the last three as being #2 Highway south but they are actually various grid roads. Here is the link if any of you wish to view some of these photos:

http://www.leaderpost.com/news/Reader+Photos+Heavy+flooding+hits+Lakeview+Beach+Katepwa+Lake/8310231/story.html

I am sure that many other rural municipalities, towns, villages and cities are going to have to deal with water issues this spring. This really begs the question as to why the Sask Party government refused to put monies into the spring budget for flood assistance. Instead, they have made the promise of using their rainy day fund to deal with the problem but without a sum of money dedicated, we are very much at the mercy of Sask Party politicians to do the right thing. As the lady from the Qu’Appelle Lakes pointed out in the Legislature last week, her claims from 2010 have still not been dealt with. I believe Saskatchewan people would have liked the assurance of money upfront in the budget and know that there will be assistance for problems which are beyond the ability of local government to deal with.

My final note for today is the big sod turning announcement which occurred in Moose Jaw this morning for the new regional hospital. Of course our camera-friendly Premier was front and centre to soak up the applause and I really hoped that he would exhibit some vision for the future and announce that the provincial government was going to put forward monies for an MRI and the retention of the hyperbaric chamber. An announcement such as this would have demonstrated leadership and vision for the future and would have given this so-called new lean technology the chance to actually work. I guess the inner brain trust in Executive Council would have seen such an admission as a failure and therefore probably advised Mr. Wall against such forward thinking. This also maintains the illusion that the health regions are in charge of their own destiny and the provincial government isn’t simply jerking their chain whenever it is convenient.

Mr. Wall has demonstrated on a number of occasions in the recent past where he is prepared to step in and change things at the last minute. Witness the increases to motorcycle licenses, the transfer of child cancer patients from the Pasqua to the General Hospital and of course, none of us can forget his dramatic salvation of PCS from the grasp of BHP Billiton.

I guess changing the Moose Jaw Hospital for the better doesn’t have enough political smack for the Premier’s handlers. I hope Moose Jaw and area does not give up the fight until the very last so that the right thing can be done at the end of the day.

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.

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