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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Once again Mother Nature has thrown us a curve ball in Saskatchewan. After an incredibly cold winter, I am sure everyone was looking for a nice warm spring, green grass and the ability to go outside and enjoy the sunshine on our faces. That has not happened and instead we spent the weekend dragging newborn calves out of the mud, putting out fresh bedding in the snow and wondering when we are going to be able to go out to the field to start spring land work. I am sure our farm is no different than anyone else’s. This just makes the to-do list a lot longer with a shorter time to get it done. I am sure this also applies to a lot of urban households across this province.

Speaking of not getting things done in the right amount of time, the US government has decided once again to delay the part of the Keystone Pipeline that runs through Nebraska. Once again, Canadians are having to learn the hard cold facts of life about American politics. The well-being of American politicians and the special interest groups that fund their never-ending election cycles always come first. Am I surprised about this decision by President Obama? Not at all. The Americans are going into mid-term elections this fall and the various lobby groups from the environmental side are pounding on the Democrats for their own agendas.

Canadians must become more self-reliant and that doesn’t necessarily mean putting more oil cars on already congested railroads or building risky pipelines through the Rocky Mountains. It means that we must process more of our oil and gas here at home. I know this will sound like a broken record to some of you because I touch on this subject fairly often but I believe and history has shown that countries that look to their own self-sufficiency and who export the finished products tend to be at the top of the economic ladder through the good times and the bad. I believe that if we go out and solicit the right partnerships, we can upgrade, we can refine, we can value-add in various ways and we can create a tax base with long-term employment that will make us all better off in the future. The planning must start now because these things can take decades to come to fruition. They take vision and commitment and not simply short-term political gain. The American example is one we do not want.

Speaking of short-term political gain, the Supreme Court of Canada late last week came down with its decision on the issues surrounding the abolition of the Canadian Senate. The decision which basically said that the Senate could not be abolished unless all ten provinces and the majority of Canadians agreed to it means that abolition is off of the table. A few months ago we had all sorts of Canadian politicians jumping on the abolition band wagon because of the outrage most Canadians felt over the spending habits of some of our Senators.

It was obvious that some people with a sense of self-entitlement had been appointed to the Senate to further the interests of political parties rather than Canadians. Canadians were justifiably outraged. What cooler heads were saying at the time was that the original function of the Senate of Canada was not being fulfilled because of the type of people that were being appointed. As Canadian voters, we have all seen the power of the PMO and the unelected people growing at the expense of the backbench MPs in Ottawa.

Canadian Prime Ministers now have more power than the President of the United States. The Senate of Canada is really the only constitutional vehicle that we have available to give Canadian voters and taxpayers a constitutional break on the power of the PMO and the power of Party Whips in the House of Commons. What we need are mechanisms that allow us to select individuals with the courage to do this job. What is truly disappointing is that many of these same politicians including the Premier of Saskatchewan who had quickly jumped on the abolition band wagon because it was the popular thing to do have not been in the interim working on reasonable solutions in the event that the Supreme Court ruled against them.

The people of Saskatchewan and every other province do not want to see the Prime Minister having the unilateral ability to appoint people like the ones who were recently stripped of their pay and privileges to the Senate of Canada. Saskatchewan only has 6 Senators. Surely to goodness in this province there are 6 people with the courage to do the right things, 6 people who are not beholding to any political party and 6 people who have earned the respect and admiration of their fellow citizens. And surely to goodness there would be 6 individuals in Saskatchewan who have enough love for their country that they would endure whatever personal sacrifices it takes to serve a couple of terms in the Senate of Canada helping to ensure that their fellow citizens have a fair and equitable government. I would welcome the opportunity to be part of the process of selecting these individuals – wouldn’t you?

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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