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JUNE 11, 2018

I remember a cartoon in a Calgary newspaper back when I was Saskatchewan's Energy Minister and oil was trading for $15.00 a barrel.  It was a picture of a Calgary oilman down on his knees and obviously praying.  The caption read "Please God, let there be another oil boom and I promise and I won't screw this one up like I did the last one." 

My wording may be a little off because that was many years ago but I think you get the idea.  This seems to be the philosophy of our current Sask Party government.  Since the Legislative Assembly quits its daily sitting a little over a week ago, we have been inundated with bad news.  It's funny that's how it works out isn't it?

I always thought our Parliamentary system was for learned and dedicated citizens to meet, talk about and solve our problems.  Instead, our politicians seem to avoid doing exactly that.  We have learned that Saskatchewan's unemployment rate is up significantly.  Out-migration which is how the Sask Party government has always wanted to be judged on is up to the point where way more people are leaving than coming to our province.  The home buyers market has a way more housing available than the marketplace wants right now.  Our post-secondary educational institutions are cutting or eliminating their athletic programs because of budget cutbacks forced upon them by the provincial government. 

Now finally, it appears that the report by Manitoba's Justice Department on the financial mismanagement with the GTH land scandal has been back in the hands of Saskatchewan's RCMP since early April.  When is the public going to finally get the answers they need from this RCMP investigation of the people involved in the GTH debacle?  I would think there is enough material in the above two short paragraphs to keep our $100,000 a year elected politicians  working for at least another month to try and find out why Saskatchewan is having these issues and what we can do about remedies both short-term and long-term.

During the last provincial election, the PC Party put forward an idea of how to begin addressing some of the problems with shut in and abandon oil and gas wells in Saskatchewan.  The Provincial Auditor released her findings on this issue last week and pointed out that Saskatchewan has a multi-billion dollar problem in this regard and the provincial government has been showing no leadership while at the same time, taking as much revenue out of our oil resource as possible to satisfy their huge spending deficits.  9,000 potential abandon wells is a very bad news item for Saskatchewan.  It is a huge item for land holders to deal with.  It is also lost economic opportunity. 

The Auditor also pointed out that a lot of Saskatchewan's water problems particularly when it comes to illegal drainage have not been addressed for a very long time.  The Quill Lakes and the massive flooding there are a prime example of this policy of looking the other way. 

We will not solve our problems by not only talking about them and facing reality of what's there and we will not solve our problems if the only concern shown by our politicians is how they manage the four-year election cycle.  Many of these issues can be addressed by taking small concrete steps and doing them one at a time just like we do around our own homes, our businesses, our farms and our community organizations.  It just takes the will to organize yourself, your employees and your fellow volunteers.  That will get the job done over the long haul instead of being like the oilman on his knees praying for another oil boom.

Our government needs to get a different attitude or else we will never get off the boom and bust cycle and we won't stop wasting taxpayer's money on the political legacy projects of politicians with big ideas.

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