Last week my commentary was about all of the things that we should be thankful for and there are many things this province is blessed with. Good management in the health care sector seems to be unattainable for some regions in this province.
The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region – for all of the extra money that the government has thrown at it and the multitude of promises made by various Health Ministers – continues to be a medical horror show right in time for Halloween. Once again, both hospitals are over capacity and now we have the Emergency Room at the Pasqua Hospital without enough doctors to fulfill its role in the region. As I told you some months ago, when the General Hospital goes into bypass mode – which it has done already a couple of times this year – this means that all of the medical traffic coming into what is southern Saskatchewan’s base hospital, is then diverted to the Pasqua Hospital.
So now we have the situation if I am coming in from Moose Jaw, Assiniboia or Gravelbourg and I hit the outskirts of Regina and am bypassed to the Pasqua Hospital, they no longer have a functioning ER. What a system! And this Sask Party government continues to make the foolish promise of no waiting times for ER services. Forty minutes down the road from Regina, there is $200 million being spent on a new hospital on the outskirts of Moose Jaw. This hospital is being built without an MRI and the ability to act as a primary regional hospital in my view. It is obvious that the Regina situation is not going to get better without a change of attitude and a change of vision for health care in southern Saskatchewan. This Sask Party government and the bureaucrats that it hires are not up to the job and the vision that the NDP had when it closed the Plains Hospital obviously shows they weren’t up to the job either.
The people of southern Saskatchewan are going to have to step up and solve this problem without the politicians and bureaucrats. Public pressure has to be brought to bear to say enough is enough - this is my life that you are risking.
If we are going to generate enough income in this province to fix things like our health care system, we are going to have to do things smarter in economic development. I noticed during the last week that the numbers for Saskatchewan manufacturing have fallen again by 6%. In fact some would suggest that manufacturing in Saskatchewan is now at levels lower than when the NDP were in power. One only has to look around my own community and see that we no longer have a plant manufacturing electrical cable for Sask Power. We no longer have a beef packing plant and we have far less meat processing in the province as a whole.
Mr. Wall has enough money to announce a big fancy conference in this province extolling the virtues of exporting more raw product. This seems to be the mantra of this government. Dig it out of the ground, pump it out of the ground and grow the product and ship it out of here as fast as possible without adding any value to it. They do this so they can spend money on things like Mr. Wall’s carbon capture project which is $115 million over budget already and still is years from being online. It takes vision, time and determination to value add products. You do not get the instant political gratification or the instant bang from high commodity prices when you create long-term, viable industries in this province that will employ people for generations. But you do build a society that can withstand the ups and downs of the world marketplace.
We have had one of the longest runs ever seen in the raw commodities market. If those commodities do not continue this pattern of growth, then where will the financial solutions needed in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region come from? The Financial Editor for the Leader Post pointed out these very things in an article in last weekend’s paper. His take is that if the Sask Party’s inner circle cannot be seen as directing the show or gaining political gratification then it ain’t going to happen in this province. And that simply is not good enough.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.