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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

It looks like we may finally get some summer weather. I have been trying to cut and bale some hay since the 20th of June with very little success. Last week, we had a 3" rain over a 3 day period which really made a mess of what hay I had cut. I think a lot of people are in the same boat - no pun intended. Our thoughts go out to the people in the Estevan, Arborfield, Carrot River and now Swift Current areas who have seen summer flooding because of massive downpours. This province needs 2 weeks of hot, dry weather.

Normally Saskatchewan's Crown Corporations would release their annual reports during the spring session of the Legislative Assembly. This allowed the Members of the House and the general public to scrutinize how well our Crowns are doing and whether we, the shareholders, were getting good value for our tax dollars.

Our fiscally-challenged Sask Party government changed all of that in the last year and put all of the Crowns on the same fiscal year as the government. This did two things. One, it made the Crown's year-end dividends larger by a quarter year to make the numbers look better and two, it also meant that the annual reports come out in the middle of summer when most people aren't paying much attention because of summer holidays. I can see many commentaries in the future coming out of the Crown Corporation reports recently tabled.

Today, I wish to comment on one particular item that popped up just before the weekend. This one is a pet of mine because I have been trying to draw the public's attention to it after finding an Order-In-Council last fall for the purchase of approximately 158 acres in the GTH by SaskPower for over $24 million.

SaskPower has now indicated that they aren't going to do anything with that land in the foreseeable future. They are claiming that because of other pressing needs and the state of Saskatchewan's economy, they can do without their planned expansion of office and warehouse space in the GTH.

I don't believe there ever was any need for this expansion and that the bottom line of SaskPower did not need this added expenditure added to an already debt-ridden company. This purchase in the GTH by Bill Boyd, Minister Responsible for SaskPower and also Minister Responsible for the GTH, was simply to prop up the bottom line of the GTH. The GTH has nothing going on except further expenditures by taxpayers because the private sector has shunned the place. The GTH could not borrow any more money and had to find other sources of income in order to maintain this facade of well being for the political health of the Wall government.

All of the ratepayers of SaskPower which is us because SaskPower is a provincial monopoly will face increased rates because of this mismanagement by Bill Boyd and the Wall government. When will the Premier do the right thing - fire this Minister - and get these agencies back working for the people instead of running them for the well-being of the Sask Party government?

The whole GTH complex needs a public review before anymore taxpayer's money is squandered on optics like we have just seen with the revelations from SaskPower.

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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons

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