Every year on February 2nd, there is an event which occurs that always brings a note of levity to those of us that live in Saskatchewan. This, of course, is "Groundhog Day". Groundhogs are something unknown to us on the prairies and in reality, they are small furry animals called a woodchuck which primarily lives on the eastern half of the North American continent.
Groundhog Day is based on the fable of a woodchuck coming out of its den and if it sees its shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter. We are usually in the grip of a big and long cold spell out here on the prairies on February 2nd and would do just about anything to have someone tell us that spring is on the way. Consequently, we all watched the news events of the various appropriately named woodchucks coming out of their dens to the applause of hundreds of observers and the bright lights of the national television networks.
We had the same thing happening here is Saskatchewan this past week with the newly minted leader of the Sask Party crawling out of the Sask Party den last Friday to become our Premier and announce a supposedly "new and fresh" Saskatchewan government for the spring session of the Legislature. I don't know if Premier Moe saw his own shadow or not but he should have noticed some other shadows that were lurking about that day - shadows that will most certainly be keeping most of taxpayers of this province in the proverbial political winter.
I know he saw the shadow of Bill Boyd because by law, he had to call a by election in Kindersley that day. The Sask Party government could not hide from that event any longer. Everyone in Saskatchewan knows by now that former Premier Wall should not have signed the nomination papers of Bill Boyd for the last provincial election. All of the controversy and waste of taxpayer's money by that former Minister predicated that Mr. Boyd would be gone from public life soon after the last provincial election. I'm sure Premier Moe hopes that shadow is gone for good but the GTH land scandal will live for years to come.
There are many other shadows that must be dealt with. The Sask Party cabinet only has one new member and unfortunately Saskatchewan's third largest city (Moose Jaw) has been shut out of cabinet once again. Where is the renewal so bravely talked about during the Sask Party leadership race? Where will the new ideas and innovation come from if Premier Moe is afraid to appoint new people to his inner circle from the existing Sask Party caucus? If that is the case, then Saskatchewan needs to help Mr. Moe with renewal by electing someone other than Sask Party members in the upcoming by elections.
The shadows of the debt and deficit racked up by the Wall government have not gone away. The deficiencies in the education system and the deficit in infrastructure for municipal government are big black clouds that won't be cleared away with stagnate resource revenues. Premier Moe had maintained all through the Sask Party leadership race that he would have a balanced budget in the three-year window the Wall government set in place with their tough budget of last year. Where will the money come from and whose ox will be gored this spring? There are no more crown corporations to sell off like STC. The Wall legacy of expensive P3 projects are still sitting there with their unknown budget demands. Where will the money come from?
So unlike Shubenacadie Sam who didn't see his shadow, Premier Moe has lots of shadows staring down at him. He cannot simply crawl back into the Sask Party den and the warm fuzzy feeling of adoring Sask Party members but must come out and face the harsh reality of a cold Saskatchewan winter and bring us new common sense solutions to our problems.
The PC Party brought many of those ideas forward in the last provincial election. We would be happy to assist him in seeing a new direction for Saskatchewan.
These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.