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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

What a difference a week makes. -50 degrees to -5 degrees. I’ll take this Sunday over last Sunday any day of the week. The weather in Saskatchewan is like our politics. Up one day and down the next.

Three quick items that I want to comment on today. I will be heading to Saskatoon like many other people involved in agriculture this week. This is Crop Production Week and the newly minted “CropSphere” – all of which comes out of the old Farm and Home Week at the University of Saskatchewan. All that is good and new about agriculture in Saskatchewan and western Canada will be showcased in Saskatoon this week. The very first AGM of the Saskatchewan Wheat Development Commission and the Barley Commission will take place today. The newly-elected boards of both commissions will be introduced and there will be the opportunity for producers to start setting the direction that their check off dollars are paying for. The CWB used to collect the money that every producer in western Canada contributed toward research and development in the grains industry. With the demise of the CWB single desk, that responsibility has now been allocated to provincial agencies in the old CWB area.

The Government of Saskatchewan saw fit to hire an Executive Director for these two entities before the farmer-elected boards of directors were voted on and named. It will be interesting to see if the new commissions are prepared to accept the pre-determined direction of the Wall government and its Ministry of Agriculture. This is definitely something that I and many other producers will be interested in attending and watching.

If you don’t have one already, it doesn’t appear that there is much chance of you getting a flu shot. It seems that our governments – both provincially and federally – have come up short once again in predicting the severity of the flu season. Individuals certainly have a responsibility to look after their own health needs but it does seem strange that as the flu season marches on, all of a sudden we have dire predictions and warnings coming out of the various health agencies about getting our flu shots. It seems that if the media reports get hyped up enough, people come out in droves to get the flu shot from vaccine that is now in short supply all over the country and there is no more to be had.

Surely to goodness there must be a better system in place and a better use of scarce health dollars than this mad rush to the clinic at the last minute. Either the health bureaucrats need to be better informed or there must be a private sector alternative put in place that allows individuals and their families to manage their risk from the yearly flu onslaught than the current system of raised expectations and cancelled clinics. The news reports that many health professionals and people that are exposed to the flu virus of not having vaccinations really raises the question of what kind of message the general public is receiving from the health care bureaucracy. Maybe those that don’t have the flu shot should be forced to wear surgical masks so that the rest of us who have had the shot don’t have to worry about contamination. Otherwise the whole exercise seems quite pointless.

On a final note, my commentary of a couple weeks ago about the sale of Saskatchewan farmland by the Assiniboia Land Company to the Canada Pension Plan makes me think back to the time when Saskatchewan farm families had to compete against another government agency which was funded with their own money called the Land Bank. The NDP-created Land Bank of the 1970s seemed like a good idea at the time but in reality was the last thing that Saskatchewan agriculture needed.

It was a Progressive Conservative government that did away with the Land Bank and changed farmland security legislation that drove the trust and loan companies which had held vast amounts of Saskatchewan farmland since the devastation of the 1930s out of the province. Saskatchewan farmers and ranchers were put in a position of not having to compete against these agencies for farmland and the opportunity of future generations to succeed in agriculture. We now have the situation where the same issues are arising and Mr. Wall and the Sask Party government are saying nothing because his “friends” are the benefactors of this move.

How can it be a good thing for Saskatchewan farm families to compete against the Canada Pension Plan or any other such agency for the right to own farmland and make an honest living from it? This is a matter which the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan will not let slide by in the dark of night like Mr. Wall’s friends wish to happen. We fought and did away with the Land Bank and I hope we have the courage and stamina to stand up to this latest peril which threatens agricultural families in this province. I ask all the readers of this commentary to stand with us on this issue.

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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