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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

It's hard to believe today is the last day in July and we have not had 1 rain all month or even a thunderstorm. There was a thunderstorm that went to the north of us Saturday night which made water run down the streets of Moose Jaw but we didn't even get enough to wash the dust off the front step. As you go south on the TransCanada highway, the drought gets progressively worse and will certainly present challenges for farmers and ranchers. I have heard of feed costs already up in the $150 a tonne range which is not good news if you have to buy feed to get your herd through the coming winter.

I didn't have time in last week's commentary to mention the Gateway Music Festival which the town of Bengough hosts on an annual basis. Joanne and I went down after lunch last Saturday and stayed through to Sunday morning. A big congratulations to the folks in that area who host this event and I'm sure put in thousand of volunteer hours to make it all happen. Tom Cochrane and Red Rider closed the show Saturday night and they were absolutely fantastic if you are a rock and roll fan. Tom is 64 years old but he can still bring it like few rockers of any age or era. I look forward to seeing who is going to be there next year because it is an event which is very affordable and well worth taking in.

Tomorrow will mark a new milestone in Saskatchewan as our Sask Party government is imposing the 6% sales tax on almost all insurance policies. This is definitely breaking new ground as the Sask Party attempts to rectify the $1.2 billion deficit they created in the last fiscal year. Every time I drive by the Highway 1 and Pinkie Road intersection where there are now 6 overpasses being constructed in this one location, I truly shake my head at the choices this government has made.

People buy insurance to protect themselves, their families, their property and their way of life. We encourage people to do so. It would seem to me that the Sask Party government was simply looking for low hanging fruit in order to pay for their own bad judgement on resource revenue. Because of the route they choose and the method they choose to build the south Regina bypass, we not only will be paying those costs for the next 30 years through a P3 but we will now be paying on our insurance premiums for perhaps the next 30 years for Mr. Wall's bad judgement.

How long before people make choices between insuring their homes or putting food on the table? That is not something a responsible government would force people to make. Is the insurance industry going to drop their premiums by 6% in order to make up the difference? I don't think so. Maybe clawing back some of the tax credits the Sask Party government gave the potash companies to over build their capacity would make more sense. Maybe doing away with a few MLA salaries and the staff that go with them would make more sense. I think the people in Saskatoon Fairview will look forward to passing judgement on the 6% tax on their insurance premiums in the forthcoming by election. I know the PC Party will be talking to them about it.

On a final note, I am pleased to announce that former Party Executive Director Dale Burnay who moved back to Moose Jaw last month, has agreed to once again fill that role on a temporary basis as the Party goes through its job search for a new Executive Director. Please watch for Dale on social media and don't hesitate to pick up the phone and give him a call at the Party office to welcome him back.

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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons


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