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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

I was in getting some repairs at a local farm equipment dealership on Friday morning and was surprised to hear from the group of farmers standing around that some of them were calling for moisture. It is incredible how in Saskatchewan we go from massive amounts of snow, spring flooding and by the end of the first week in June, we are looking for rain. A couple of these gentlemen said that the knolls and hillsides were not germinating properly and without rain, there would be a very uneven crop.

I don’t believe this was just the usual farmer complaints about the weather but was actually what has happened because of all of the wind that Saskatchewan has had over the last month which has definitely dried out the topsoil and taken away much of the excess moisture leftover from spring. This is the nature of Saskatchewan in everything we do. We always have to be cognizant of the extremes in weather, the extremes in the marketplace and sometimes, the extremes that we get in our political climate.

The political climate in Ottawa these days is certainly one of extremes. If it’s not the Senate and the Prime Minister’s office, then there is some new drama unfolding in the House of Commons. A few weeks ago a group of Conservative MPs asked Speaker Scheer to rule in their favour when the Party Whip was denying them their rights of free speech on Private Member’s Day. That seems to have died after the Speaker ruled in their favour.

What has not died though is the want by backbench MPs from all parties to be able to present Private Member’s Bills and be able to address issues which party leaders do not like. Last Thursday, former Melville resident and now Edmonton area MP Brent Rathgeber resigned from the Conservative caucus because members of his own party would not let him put forward a Private Member’s Bill which asked that the salaries of crown corporation employees and senior government bureaucrats be revealed to the public. I believe the request involved salaries over $186,000.

I always thought that this kind of information was available anyway. I think taxpayers across Canada would like to know where their money is going and certainly the salaries of people working for our government should be part of that category. If you don’t want your salary released, then don’t work for the government. Mr. Rathgeber has taken a very principled position that will cost him no end of personal and family grief. Political parties in Canada these days don’t like people who step outside the box and challenge the various leaders because really - that is what Mr. Rathgeber was doing – he was challenging a style of government and leadership.

I don’t know this individual or his family but I wish him well and hope that he has the courage and integrity to carry this fight forward. I hope he runs in the next election on these principles and that the people of Edmonton-St. Albert have the courage to send him back to the House of Commons after the next election. This is the type of thing that MPs of all political stripes should be striving to achieve. That is – more open, honest and accountable government with individual MPs watching out for the rights of their constituents and making sure that our hard-earned tax dollars are spent wisely.

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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