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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

If you thought issues around the Canadian Senate were going to quietly go away, this last week showed that this issue still has lots of legs. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau announced to the world that all of the Liberal Senators were now out of his caucus and will now have to act as independents. The reality is that the former Liberal Senators will probably continue to act as a group and life will go on in the Senate of Canada. Mr. Trudeau’s move certainly puts more pressure on the Prime Minister to move the Senate reform agenda along.

The upcoming audit from the Auditor General may also move some of the Senators along and right out the door if more unwise spending practices are found. I wish instead of all of the theatrics that surround our current Senate, the sitting Senators, the Party Leaders and their Caucuses and people with a strong working knowledge of our democratic institutions would get their heads together and figure out a way for good and honest Canadians to serve. There are many Canadians with something to contribute to our democracy that could be appointed or elected to the Senate of Canada and make all of our institutions stronger and more democratic.

Every time one of these shot-in-the-dark types of moves are made, it seems to deepen the cynicism of the majority of Canadians and they are driven into the camp of those who simply say “abolish it” and “be done with it”. In a complex and diverse country like ours, the simple solutions aren’t always the right ones. Did Justin Trudeau make the right move? Only time will tell so stay tuned.

It seems that the armour in the Sask Party government’s P3 school building initiative is starting to crack. The school boards in both Regina and Saskatoon, where most of this school building will take place, are starting to feel the heat from some of their ratepayers and are also, I am sure, trying to field questions from people in the local construction industry and the various types of community groups which currently use these facilities. Supposedly some government Ministers are also voicing some second thoughts in private discussions and then are being whipped back into shape by Mr. Wall’s inner circle in Executive Council when they talk to the media.

The questions about the participation of local contractors and suppliers of goods and services, materials and other components have never been properly explained. Nor has community use of these facilities once they are constructed and are managed potentially by private companies. It seems to me that the Education Minister has a lot of questions to answer and also the Minister Responsible for P3s. Ministers Morgan and McMorris are senior members of the Sask Party government. Why are they taking their direction from the faceless power brokers in Wall’s backrooms? If they have already picked a large construction firm from Alberta to do this work, they should be telling the public about that and letting the public of Saskatchewan then react to their proposal. The pressures on the school systems are immense. The upcoming spring budget should clearly tell parents and Saskatchewan taxpayers what the agenda is for education in this province and in the communities where the enrolment pressures demand new facilities. This process of maybe we will-maybe we won’t currently being carried on by the government is totally unacceptable and people should demand more of their elected representatives.

And finally a quick congratulations to Regina’s and Saskatchewan’s Jon Ryan and the Seattle Seahawks on their resounding victory yesterday. Jon is the Seahawk’s punter and because of his team’s dominance of the play, he never had to perform his punting duties once. He did get on the field quite a lot because he also holds for the Seahawk’s place kicker. Everyone in Saskatchewan is proud of their native son and I believe Jon is the first Saskatchewan born player to make it to a Super Bowl game which has an audience of over 100 million people. It really wasn’t a very good game to watch but it was kind of cool to see a Saskatchewan guy running on and off the field. Hopefully there will be many more successes in Mr. Ryan’s future.

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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