I wish to comment on three areas this morning that are certainly of importance to Saskatchewan.
My first comment is on the use of non-government email servers by the Sask Party government. If you remember in the last session of the Legislature, the issue came up of the Premier using an email server hosted at the Sask Party office to do government business on. He promised he wouldn't do it anymore. He still does. It has now been revealed that other Cabinet Ministers have been doing this for years and even instructed members of the civil service in their departments to also do so. They evidentially did this so that sensitive government information could not be accessed by Freedom of Information requests.
Last Friday, the PC Party called for the resignation of Finance Minister Donna Harpauer who has consistently been doing this all the way back to 2009. In the release, the PC Party stated "In Saskatchewan, Freedom of Information laws are in place to ensure that the public has access to all government-related documents. In an open and free society, transparency in government is a cornerstone of democracy." The PC Party in government would follow this policy to the letter. Brad Wall's Minister should resign.
The second item I wish to comment on is the distinct possibility of the federal government backing down on some of the proposed tax changes they had earlier proposed. I wish to congratulate all of the people and groups who made their displeasure known to the Federal government and Federal MPs in order to have this proposed legislation re-evaluated. It's obvious from comments in the media that there has been a tremendous amount of pressure brought by Federal Liberal backbench MPs who have been really putting the pressure on Finance Minister Morneau and that the Minister is now making public statements of not wanting to hurt agriculture and small business. Let's hope that when the changes are brought down this week, that a more common-sense approach as proposed by the PC Party of Saskatchewan a few weeks ago are adopted by the Trudeau Liberals.
My final comment is on the NAFTA re-negotiation process which has been underway for a couple of months. It appears that the Trump administration in the United States wants to turn the clock back by 40 years with their "America First" trade policies. I remember those days well as a young person starting out in farming and watching the devastation those policies had on international commodity prices and the bullying of various US commodity groups which used their clout at election time in the US.
It's one reason that PC governments in both Saskatchewan and Canada negotiated so hard to come up with the NAFTA deal in the first place. Hopefully the Canadian government and all provincial governments in Canada who have developed strong relationships with US Governors, Members of Congress and the United States Senate can use those relationships to help block some of the totally backward negotiating stances of the Trump administration.
Canada in my view must be prepared to walk away from a negotiation that removes all dispute resolution mechanisms from a new agreement. We cannot have our trading relationship at the mercy of the US court systems. Fair trade means exactly that. I do not want to be the pawn in US congressional elections which happen every two years as my farm was before 1988.
The North American economy is a very integrated one which has brought prosperity and a higher standard of living to most of our citizens. Why would we ever think of going back to the old ways?
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.