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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

Finally we received some rain on the Swenson farm!  I know it was probably a pain for some of the folks who were camping over the August long weekend but we received an inch of rain out of four different storms over the last 6 days.  I don't know how much good it will do at this stage of crop development but just knowing it can rain is a great psychological lift.  The grass around the yard has already greened up a bit so hopefully we will see the same in our pastures in the next few days.

Last Thursday I journeyed up to Saskatoon to be part of and speak at the PC Party's nomination in the riding of Saskatoon Fairview.  Past Arm River candidate Ray Carrick joined me for the trip so as we travelled we got to talk a lot about rural health care as Ray is the Party's health critic.  More on that later.

I'm very pleased to welcome Dave Prokopchuk as the PC candidate in Fairview and know that he is going to work very hard at putting together a team to represent us in the upcoming by election.  We had 38 folks out at this uncontested nomination meeting which tells me that the PC Party's message is finally starting to get out, that we can be fiscally responsible and socially progressive without running the province into debt like the Sask Party has done.

Once the formal part of the nomination was over with, I was very pleased to be part of a group which took questions from the audience.  Nominee Dave, Ray Carrick, President Grant Schmidt and myself fielded a number of questions and talked about PC policy for rectifying the problems we see in Saskatchewan and Saskatoon Fairview.  Health care and First Nations employment were big issues from the audience.  Both of these topics will be front and centre in the by election campaign as will the Sask Party's squandering of billions of dollars on things like the GTH land scandal and the south Regina bypass.

Grant Schmidt raised the issue of addictions and how the PC Party would deal with this issue differently from the current criminal justice system.  Candidate Dave Prokopchuk emphasized the role he would play as MLA for Fairview concentrating his efforts on health care, education and affordable housing.  I'm sure there will be many other issues that will arise over the coming weeks and months from the voters in Fairview which the PC team looks forward to addressing.

My final comments this morning are to do with the discussion Grant Schmidt, Ray Carrick and I had prior to the nomination.  The Sask Party government has decided to go after some of our most vulnerable citizens that being rural seniors who live in provincially constructed senior facilities in towns across Saskatchewan.

It seems now that our broke government is deciding to sell these facilities off in order to pay for the debt they racked up on things like the Regina south bypass. 

Grant Schmidt who as a backbencher and Cabinet Minister in the mid 1980's led the charge to get some affordable housing for our seniors in rural areas has responded on behalf of the Party.  You can view that news release this morning on the PC Party's website. 

So far the Sask Party government has identified four communities where this will happen but have refused to reveal the other 30+ communities that are on the government's chopping block.  Grant has called on the government to come clean and reveal those names of these affected communities and their senior citizens. 

As we have all seen on the newscasts the reaction of the folks in Grayson, Saskatchewan has not been positive for the government.  Grayson was the first community to receive one of these facilities and acted as a template for future construction.  It has worked extremely well in that community.  These facilities are all paid for - they owe the government nothing.  This is a move by a desperate government who has huge debts coming due from their ill-advised P3 projects and are grabbing at any money they can find. 

Everything is up for sale it appears in the province of Saskatchewan.  Apparently so are our senior citizens.  Mr. Wall does not have a mandate in my view for this fire sale of Saskatchewan's assets.  Once again, please take a look at the PC Party news release on this issue because we want people across Saskatchewan to support the PC Party's fight to protect our seniors.  A PC Party government built these facilities.  The Sask Party is now closing the door on them.

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