Many of us in this province remember the world-changing events which occurred between 1989 and 1991 when the Berlin Wall came down and the Soviet Communist empire disintegrated. Many people of eastern European ancestry immigrated to Saskatchewan and western Canada because of the oppression of various Russian-dominated regimes. Whether it was the Czar’s or the Communists, the Russians seem to like oppressing the other peoples around them. I think we had all hoped that the new Russian federation would become a functioning democracy like our own and leave its neighbours in peace.
The events that are unfolding in the Ukraine in the last few weeks show us that some of the old Russian colonial mentality has not gone away and they still seek to dominate their neighbours one way or another. Russia and Ukraine are both major competitors of Canada in the grains business but are also major buyers of our farming technology and other items. These trading relationships maybe adversely affected for years to come because of the Russian leader’s obsession with restoring the former grandeur of the Russian empire. Canada is rightly standing firmly behind the new Ukrainian government as it strives to build strong democratic institutions and take its place amongst the civilized countries of the world. This aggression by Russia must be resisted by all the nations of the world or else we all will be sent back into the anarchy of the cold war and the fear that it brought to our world.
Speaking about people who are full of themselves, I read with interest the remarks by our Premier at the Manning Networking Conference recently held in Ottawa. This is the conference that is hosted by the former Reform party leader Preston Manning and supposedly deals with conservative issues. This year Manning seems to have invited all of those who maybe pretenders to Stephen Harper’s crown if he were no longer the Federal Conservative leader. Mr. Wall, according to media reports, went on to tell the assembled crowd how Canada should become a super power in both food and energy.
I am not sure exactly what his definition of a “super power” is these days but I would think that before you can make the rest of the world believe that you are super at anything, you need to be able to at least make the trains run on time that deliver much of your product to the world. Mr. Wall recently sent his Agriculture Minister off on a trade mission to some warm climates where we have major trading relationships. The sad thing is that you couldn’t make any deals for any of our agricultural products because they probably wouldn’t get delivered until the middle of 2015 because the trains don’t run on time. Mr. Wall needs to be spending more time looking after the basics of Saskatchewan’s economy and less time trying to impress some of the conservative elites in this country with his vocabulary.
The Saskatchewan Legislature opened today and I purposefully delayed this commentary to see if there was anything major coming out of the first day’s debate given that Saskatchewan has some really big challenges in front of it. Sadly, there didn’t seem to be anything different than when they shut the place down last November. The NDP opposition seems once again to be missing the mark as to Saskatchewan’s challenges and the Sask Party government is continuing on their merry way of living day-to-day and not thinking about our province’s future. I guess that is what is to be expected when your leader is more interested in worrying about his own long-term political future than the future of our province.
Saskatchewan is going to be facing a real financial crisis if this transportation mess is not rectified and rectified soon. I would have thought maybe an emergency debate in the Legislature today or at least the notice of one where a unified message would be sent to the federal government demanding action would have been appropriate. It appears neither the NDP opposition nor the Sask Party government have any stomach for standing up and demanding that Saskatchewan deserves better. Hopefully I am wrong and our current elected politicians wake up to the fact that something needs to be done.
The PC Party is going to keep pushing the three initiatives that I put in a letter to Ministers Ritz and Raitt last Friday morning. You can view the contents of that letter on the PC website (www.pcsask.ca). Our suggestions to the Federal Cabinet Ministers are doable in the short-term and will have an immediate affect on our transportation and grain handling problems. They are things that should have been pushed for by our provincial government months ago and are also part of the long-term solution to the crisis we are in. I would ask anyone viewing this commentary to assess and support these suggestions to the Federal government and encourage provincial politicians to get behind these ideas to solve our problems.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.