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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

I think all of us when reading the newspaper and watching the news wonder where various statistics come from. Last Friday at 1:00 PM, I became one of those stats. We all hear about how dangerous an occupation that farming is and how in Saskatchewan it is one of the leading causes of injury and death. I was doing the simple job of hooking up the drive shafts on a flex header so that I could go out and start combining peas and lentils. One little slip and you realize you are missing the top inch of your middle finger. Luckily for myself, my wife was able to fish the missing part of the digit out of the glove, get it on ice and after a very quick trip to the hospital in Moose Jaw, it is reattached and we are hoping for the best that it will resume its natural place on the end of my finger. Only time will tell. If not, I will join the legions of other farmers with a shortened digit.

This time of year is particularly busy and stressful for many people in this province. It is a time we look forward to reaping the benefits of our labour and it is a time when the economy of the whole province of Saskatchewan gets thrown into overdrive because this is a multi-billion dollar business called harvest. It can also be very dangerous if we all don’t take the right precautions. I guess this was a reminder to me that you have to be at the top of your game all of the time or things happen in the blink of an eye and you become part of a very unfortunate statistic.

So switching gears, I wish to comment on another item which occurred the same day that my finger got into trouble. That was the announcement that SaskTel was taking over the naming rights of the arena in Saskatoon. The tv newscast showed a big fancy news conference with lots of dignitaries on hand and the President of SaskTel announcing that they had taken over the naming rights for what used to be Credit Union Centre. SaskTel is dishing out $350,000 a year for 10 years so that they can have their name on the building and flashing on the score board for all of the folks that visit this facility to see.

My questions would be two fold. If it was such a good deal, why did the Credit Union give up the space and the prestige? Why should Crown Corporations which continue to pay dividends to the government, which is nothing but backdoor taxation, be in the business of putting their names on sport arenas and other venues? Even though SaskTel is in a competitive environment for some of the services they provide, there are still many places in this province where they have a virtual monopoly and the customer must pay whatever the Crown Corporation dictates i.e. the government.

This is a strange deal indeed for the Brad Wall government because this was the very thing they used to criticize the NDP for having the family of Crown Corporations prominently displayed and spending our money. There should be no end of private businesses in this province that would want the prestige of the naming rights on Saskatchewan’s largest indoor facility and could well afford the costs. After all, Mr. Wall and his friends are constantly telling us how well they are doing. I think it is truly a sad day when we have to have our crown utilities stepping up to the plate to fill a void that should be occupied by the private sector. This event, in my view, should not be celebrated at all but it is an admission of failure by a provincial government.

As next Monday is Labour Day where Saskatchewan will be celebrating all of our workers and the jobs that they do in our society, my commentary will not come out until Tuesday. So until then, I hope everyone has a good week, a good long weekend and for goodness sake, don’t do anything that might take the end off of one of your fingers.

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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