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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

 

This last week was a big one in Saskatchewan politics.  The opening of the Saskatchewan Legislature occurred last Wednesday and Executive Director Dale Burnay and myself took the opportunity to attend along with hundreds of other Saskatchewan citizens.  All of those folks were not crammed into the Legislative Assembly Chamber as 90% of the people attending were out on the west lawn protesting against the actions of their government. 

In our democratic society, if you don't like the actions of your elected government you have the ability to conduct a peaceful protest.  In some societies, that is a very regular occurrence as we are reminded on a nightly basis watching our newscast.   In Saskatchewan, it has been a rare event except for the last year.

The Sask Party government's badly managed budget process over the last year has brought about many public displays of displeasure.  The one at the Legislative Assembly last Wednesday was just a continuation of frustration with the Sask Party government. 

In an attempt to placate some of this anger, the Premier announced the day before the opening that he was going to repeal Bill 40 - the legislation that allowed the Sask Party government to sell 49% of any crown corporation and make us believe that it wasn't a step in privatizing the crowns.  Mr. Wall claims that he has heard the people of Saskatchewan loud and clear and was backing down on this subject.

All this after a year of telling the people of Saskatchewan that it was not about a cash grab by a broke government but somehow it was an opportunity to grow Saskatchewan.  Nobody bought it.  In fact, the entire budget except for the PST increase has now been either rescinded or pledged to be by the people campaigning for Mr. Wall's job.  It really makes you wonder why he and his government even went through the budget process after the last election because it has become a meaningless exercise which unfortunately impacts the long-term stability of the province and all of us hard working taxpayers.   

The Throne speech presented last Wednesday did talk about a bunch of things like the legalization of cannabis in the coming year which are important to the province of Saskatchewan because they have long-term ramifications.  Unfortunately Mr. Wall is skipping town and won't be around for the heavy lifting on most of the items mentioned in the Throne speech.  We have no idea how his successor will handle the new files or the messed up budget process.  We can only hope that he/she has better hearing than the Premier.

One thing we know for sure is that there will be a $103 million Halloween treat for the consortium building the Regina bypass on October 31 and the trick will be for how the rest of us will pay for it over the next 30 years.  There was no mention of that or how we will pay for it with ongoing deficit budgets which are now a reality for the rest of this Sask Party government's term in office.  The PC Party in the coming days, months and years will attempt to be part of the solution with good policy and ideas and hopefully our government will start to listen or I'm sure the protests will get larger and louder.

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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.

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