I have a question for all of you that view this commentary. How do you know when it's really the dog days of summer? Is it because the weather is really warm day after day? Is it because you've got time to kick back and take the kids places? Is it because you and your significant other have a summer holiday planned?
It's probably all of the above but you really know its summer and people aren't really paying attention to their government because now is when our family of crown corporations releases their financial statements. This is when it is revealed how much money we took from Peter to pay Paul. Peter being us taxpayers and utility users and Paul (no aspersions cast) being the government of the day.
We now know that the crowns will pay over a quarter billion dollars to our Sask Party government in dividends. Some of this - plain and simple - is backdoor taxation. This is money that is necessary because of bad decision making by our current SP government. You can put all the lipstick you want on a pig but at the end of the day, it's still a pig and if it wasn't, all of this information would be released while the Legislative Assembly is sitting every spring. After all, isn't that when we do release the budget and talk about all things financial for the well-being of our province? Evidentially not when it comes to crown dividends.
Speaking of crowns, the biggest one of all and their Minister Mr. Duncan have now confirmed what most of us have expected for the last several years and that is there will be no more carbon capture units installed at Boundary Dam power station. That's because the current technology is economically unsustainable. In other words, the $1.4 billion that Brad Wall spent on this legacy project doesn't work. Surprise! Surprise!
It's too bad we had to wait until Brad Wall exited politics before SaskPower could get on with transitioning our power stations from coal to natural gas. SaskEnergy in their annual report said that we might even get a break this winter because natural gas long-term contracts are at historical lows. Hopefully this means you will see less and less gas being flared off and polluting our atmosphere because we will begin to use this resource to generate power and hopefully, keep our power bills in a reasonable place. Of course that is all dependent on our Sask Party government not ordering SaskPower to do things like buying $24.5 million worth of land in the GTH in order to pay the GTH's bills so that the public doesn't see another Sask Party government boondoggle.
All of the things that I have mentioned in the above commentary are the reasons why the crown corporation financial reporting and decision making should only be done when yours and mine Legislative Assembly is in session. After all, isn't that what government is all about? Making choices about how we conduct our affairs and how we spend the income that all of us provide to government in order to bring about a good and just society. The idea that politicians would want to bring forward these very important financial reports during a time when no one is paying attention is mind boggling. It is also, in my view, disrespectful to all of the people that work in these crowns and provide us with so many essential services. People's ire gets directed at them rather than their political masters. That is simply unacceptable.
The solution, my friends, lies in our hands. We can allow this farcical situation to continue or we can demand change and that change will be electing officials who do not hide behind the dog days of summer.
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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons