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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

The playoff season in hockey is a big thing in Saskatchewan each spring.

Last Friday night, like thousands of other people, I was attending the opening game of the Moose Jaw Warriors/Swift Current Broncos second round matchup.  Midway between the first and second periods, one of my son's friends came down to our seats and said there was a posting on social media about a horrific crash on one of our highways.

The posting talked about the Humboldt Bronco's hockey team bus and a semi being in a t-bone crash south of Nipawin, Saskatchewan.  The posting also talked about a large number of fatalities.  At first, your natural reaction is to be sceptical but also living in dread that it's true.  As the evening wore on, more and more people were becoming aware of the posting and more and more people were wondering about what was happening on that highway south of Nipawin.

Because we were attending a game being played by Swift Current, those of us old enough to remember thought back to that tragic day in the 1980's when four members of that hockey team lost their lives when the team bus rolled over.  The reality is now in front of all of us and that reality is that 15 individuals on that bus travelling on Highway 35 have lost their lives and that all but one of the remaining 14 are still in hospital with varying degrees of injury.  We are told that some of those injuries are of a very serious nature.

There has been an outpouring of grief and support for the team, the individuals and their families from across this province and our nation.  Condolences and support have poured in from around the world.  Saskatchewan is the kind of place where we will extend the helping hand and help our fellow citizens get through this time of trial with our thoughts and prayers, our willingness to help and our financial resources.

On behalf of myself, my family and the PC Party of Saskatchewan, we send our condolences, our love and our prayers to everyone involved in this tragic event.  May God keep them all in His loving care.

I was going to talk about the upcoming budget that will be presented tomorrow but I will reserve my comments until after the budget and in next week's commentary.

Your feedback is always welcome on anything you read in the Monday Morning Commentary.  Please send your comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  If you know of anyone that would be interested in receiving this by email, please forward me their email address. 

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

The calendar says that it's spring but my body and the amount of clothes I had on this morning to check cows tells me it's still winter.  Joanne and I came back from Arizona last Thursday hoping that our arrival would bring warm weather with us.  Instead, we came back to ice covered roads between Medicine Hat and Moose Jaw and lots of white knuckle driving in between.  Unfortunately, on our way to Regina on Saturday for a granddaughter's birthday party, we witnessed a half ton truck doing a double rollover and landing back on its wheels.  All of us in Saskatchewan need to be prepared at all times to deal with Mother Nature and the ever-changing road conditions that exit until spring finally does arrive for good.

Thank you to PC Party President Grant Schmidt for the last couple of weeks of commentary and a different perspective on politics in Saskatchewan.  Over the next couple of months as the PC Party goes through its leadership process, Grant and I will be writing the commentaries with a different twist for you to peruse and make comments on.

Yesterday morning the PC Party put out a news release welcoming David Bucsis of Yorkton as the new Executive Director.  I would encourage everyone to look at the Party's news release which will show that David has an extensive resume of political, business and community involvement.  Please take the opportunity in the coming months to welcome him and say hello as he travels around the province promoting the PC Party of Saskatchewan. 

David will be replacing Dale Burnay who stepped in on an interim basis last August.  I can't say enough about Dale's work ethic and dedication to the Party.  Dale had previously been our Executive Director some years ago and brought a whole host of political knowledge to the position and I look forward to working with him in the months to come as he continues to serve on the Executive of the Party.  Thanks again Dale!

 After a couple of weeks of American politics, it's nice to come home to a system that is at times frustrating, painfully slow to implement change and at times makes your blood boil, but does represent some of the best of what Canadians are.  In my view, the American system is broken and the continued excesses of Donald Trump are only indicators of how broken it truly is.  Americans are preparing once again for national congressional elections so life in the good old US of A will be pure ugly politics until those elections are over in November.

I couldn't believe my eyes when I got home and started reading past copies of the Regina Leader Post to see that the Sask Party government is now trying to foist their GTH financial boondoggle onto the City of Regina.  If the Mayor and Council of Regina don't have the sense they were born with to allow themselves to be dragged into this mess then they should be thrown out by the taxpayers of that city.   Until the long-delayed Justice Department investigation of Bill Boyd and his business cronies is completed in full and the true costs of land acquisition and servicing agreements are revealed to the public, there should be no sale of this property.

From reading the articles, it appears the GTH is badly in debt, has not met its land sale projections and is way behind the monies owed to the City of Regina for servicing agreements.  It is imperative that the new Premier commit to an open and accountable examination of this whole process and that any of his current Cabinet Ministers who had anything to do with the GTH and related portfolios should be forced to come clean with what they know. 

Simply because Brad Wall and Bill Boyd have exited Saskatchewan politics does not and should not mean that others of the Sask Party government can be absolved from the mess and loss of taxpayers' dollars that is surrounding the GTH.  I can understand why Don Morgan would want to dump this mess onto the lap of Regina City Council in order to preserve the Sask Party's political hide but that should not be the case until all the answers are given.

I'm looking forward to the presentation of Saskatchewan's budget on April 10th to see how Premier Moe tries to pull the fiscal rabbit out of the hat and expunge Saskatchewan's billion dollar deficit without drastically taxing all of us.  We shall wait and see.

 Your feedback is always welcome on anything you read in the Monday Morning

Commentary.  Please send your comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  If you know of anyone that would be interested in receiving this by email, please forward me their email address. 

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

Progressive Conservatives aim to change the World starting with Saskatchewan. “Incentivism” is a new policy which is not instantly understood. I am working on a more academic explanation of incentivism. For the present, I will give you a practical example of incentivism applied to government policy.

This week I read another report about floating scum of mostly plastic trash in the centre of the Pacific Ocean. Then I read Premier Moe and the Saskatchewan cronies are raising the recycling tax.

I thought SARCAN Recycling is a shining example of a progressive conservative incentivism solution combining social policy, the market economy, and incentives.

First, a caution to all about history and not dwelling in the past. All political parties should be futurist. History has two main values. To learn from past experiences. Secondly, for entertainment such as telling stories around the camp fire, books, and movies.

Since you cannot find incentivism in history, the story of SARCAN Recycling is a working example of the use of incentivism as a solution to a combination of problems.

In 1986, Premier Grant Devine called his young Labour Minister and told me he wanted me to take the additional portfolio Social Services. I asked what he wanted me to do and he said, “Reform it.” Part of my reform plan was to have everyone working to the best of their ability.

In 1988 it was time to move the province away from a protectionist policy of glass containers only for beverages. Glass soda and beer bottles were an environmental and economic disaster.

When the PC’s decided to move to cans and plastic bottles, SARCAN asked for the franchise to recycle aluminum cans. I saw an opportunity to create a new business employing hundreds of people with ability and varying degrees of disability. SARCAN was my second incentivism solution.

The recycling plan was a perfect opportunity to combine incentives for:

  1. 1. the highest recycling rate in the world.
  2. 2. employment of hundreds of people with some disabilities.
  3. 3. a competitive price for non-alcoholic drinks which reduced the price.
  4. 4. a voluntary tax on laziness- (if you don’t bring back the containers the government keeps the deposit.)
  5. 5. elimination of broken glass.
  6. 6. a market based solution to social and environmental problems.

Part of the solution was a five cent deposit redeemable at thirty-two new SARCAN depots. An additional two cent recycling fee to be paid to SARCAN as a commission to operate their new businesses.

The government paid nothing, received nothing except a voluntary tax on laziness and now six hundred people are working to their ability with real jobs.

I sent a government employee to SARCAN for the first year to insure they could run the system as a business. The recycling plan worked so well that in 1992 the Romanow social democrats expanded the SARCAN franchise to all ready to serve containers (Source SARCAN official site.)

Over time, the social democrats started to keep some of SARCANs commission and in effect implemented a recycling tax for the general revenue fund.

Now the Sask. Crony Party is raising the deposit (see tax on laziness which is not so bad.) The complaint is that they also raised the recycling fee and are applying the tax increase to their deficit.

The NDP are so inept at opposition that they cannot figure out SARCAN is getting none of the extra recycling fee.

This is another case of social democrats and crony capitalists messing up a good system.

I hope this report has given you a better understanding of progressive conservative incentivisim.

We challenge the rest of the world to use incentivism to clean up the pollution in the Pacific Ocean.

We welcome your input on problems that need solutions. Call me at (306) 728-0156

Grant Schmidt 

President P.C. Party of Saskatchewan

Firstly, on behalf of pcsask.ca, I want to thank our leader, Rick Swenson, for being the first politician to bring the grain transportation crisis to the attention of the media. He forced the dozing Trudeau Government and our loafing provincial representatives to take action.

Last week, I said pcsask.ca was looking for public safety solutions. We developed a plan for a Provincial Police Force in 2016, but did not have the money to get the message out. Unlike the Sask. Cronies and NDP, we do not have tax money for communications.

Last Wednesday, we released our proposal for a Saskatchewan Police Force. On Friday, we attended the SARM convention and took our plan for a Provincial Police Force to the SARM delegates. We explained a Provincial Police Force would combine all current public safety officers into one force coordinated to provide all aspects of public safety.

Pcsask.ca acknowledges the RCMP cannot be everywhere. The Provincial police would concentrate on public safety in towns, villages, and rural areas. It would concentrate on crime prevention, legal education, security systems, and how to protect yourself in a home invasion.

Home invasion is a problem. While I was on vacation, the problem spread to the Melville area. I want to be certain of the details before I comment on the incident.

Since we announced our Provincial Police Force plan, we have had SUMA, the Police Association, SARM, and rural women show interest. We will follow up on communication with these groups.

The cost of the Provincial Police would mostly be a redirection of existing spending. Additional police costs can be justified by the need for public safety. Taxpayers cannot afford to be cheap on public safety.

I have known for fifteen years rural residents and in particular rural women are living in fear. I have never had the power to solve the problem.

After the release of our Provincial Policing Force solution, I had a rural woman living in fear contact me. All I could do was advise her to purchase bear spray and promise that pcsask.ca is working on other public safety solutions.

I need to get approval for my public safety solutions from our party executive. I hope to announce more public safety solutions in the future. Progressive Conservatives stand for law and order.  

We welcome your input on problems that need solutions. Call me at (306) 728-0156

 Grant Schmidt - President 

P.C. Party of Saskatchewan

This report is about you and me. To avoid confusion “you” are the residents of Saskatchewan and “me” is the president of pcsask.ca. Pcsask.ca is the modern logo and my abbreviation for the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan.

This story is about my quest to find a new “ism” to help you and all of us to a happy and prosperous life. I know most of you don't give a damn about me. I understand human nature. All my life I have been thinking and working to improving your lives.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of Sheron and I joining pcsask.ca. Sheron comes from a blue liberal family. My family voted for John Diefenbaker and Tommy Douglas.

Both of us were born to financially poor farmers and raised as happy winners.

In the CCF education system the market did not exist. I remember the little blue book “Co-operative Studies” in public school. At school and in my community I was educated as a socialist.

By 1974 Sheron was a teacher and I was a lawyer. The NDP were recruiting me to run in Yorkton. We also started to pay income tax and discovered socialism was not free. I always had doubts about the theory of Marx.

In 1976 after a meeting with 1/3 of Allan Blakeney's cabinet including the finance minister and energy minister I discovered that from reading Time magazine I knew more about their portfolios then they did. At the age of 27, I came to the conclusion socialism would never work and the NDP had to be replaced.

My enemies on the left and right will attack me again either for leaving or having been there, however, not long after my conversion to capitalism I was vindicated by Deng Xiaoping and Mikhail Gorbachev who came to the same conclusion in the 80's.

I also came to the conclusion capitalism is better but neither fair nor compassionate. (See the great Canadian bread conspiracy). I searched for a new political party and considered the blue liberals or the progressive conservatives. During the 1978 election I decided progressive conservative was the best balance of a market economy with social programs. Sheron and I joined the PC Party.

Progressive conservative always seemed a little difficult to understand. Then I did some research and discovered the first progressive party was started by former republican president Teddy Roosevelt. The Americans should revive the center progressive party.

For four decades, I have watched the left-right feud distract multiple governments resulting in lost opportunity, false information and frustration for you the people. The role of government is not to provide jobs for politicians and their cronies.

I will not go into all of the roles of government in this report. Some of the roles of government are:

  1. 1. To solve problems.
  2. 2. Public safety.
  3. 3. Public services not best delivered by the market.
  4. 4. Promoting a market economy
  5. 5. Promoting equal opportunity
  6. 6. Providing for people with disabilities
  7. 7. Regulating Greed

           

Socialism has been proven to be an unworkable theory. Capitalism can be unfair. We often hear the word incentive or incentivize used by many people. No one has come up with the application of incentive as government policy. In the future I will explain Incentivism as government policy. I am preparing a paper proposing Incentivism: One policy: many solutions.

Every political party needs a policy foundation (a soul). Incentivism can be a policy which acknowledges the market is a result of human nature and finds solutions to problems caused by capitalism and competition. The left-right feud is not solving your problems. Pcsask.ca proposes to do what works.

A problem to solve

I want to conclude this week’s report with the observation we have a public safety problem in some of our cities and in some rural areas. In Canada we license gun owners and we still have shootings by people who cannot legally possess a gun. Solving problems of public safety is a role of government.

This week pcsask.ca will look for public safety solutions and provide an alternative to the left right feud.

Grant Schmidt - President 

P.C. Party of Saskatchewan

Congratulations to Dr. Ryan Meili on his election as Leader of the NDP and Leader of the Official Opposition. This is Dr. Meili's 3rd run at the leadership of the NDP so this obviously shows that he is committed to getting things done. You've heard me say many times in this commentary that our government is only as good as the opposition allows it to be.

Many of the failings of the Sask Party government over the last ten years have resulted from a weak NDP opposition.  Dr. Meili comes from good farming stock and started out life on the farm 50 miles southwest of Moose Jaw.  He is a medical doctor so when you put those two attributes together, you should come up with a person who is not afraid to put in the work and time to get things done.

I may not agree with some of his approaches to public policy but I think like everyone else in Saskatchewan, we will be very curious about Dr. Meili's vision for the future.  When he said during the beginnings of his leadership quest that he would not take donations from unions and corporations, a lot of folks figured he would go nowhere.  He has proved to his own political party that you can be successful without the influence of big money and I think the rest of us in Saskatchewan, regardless of our political stripe, need to think about his example of telling big money where to go.

On another note, our American President is once again taking shots at the Canadian economy by imposing large tariffs on manufactured steel and aluminum.  For Saskatchewan, that means IPSCO and it also means the cost of pipe for pipelines which are so important to our economy.

A few months ago, I made the comment that Donald Trump was rubbing his hands in glee over the approval of the Keystone Pipeline.  This pipeline was originally designed to take Canadian heavy crude to the US Gulf Coast refineries.  It will do this at a significant discount to Canadian oil.  It is then upgraded and manufactured into many products which are used domestically and exported.  The United States recently removed all restrictions on the export of crude oil and its various derivatives.  The Americans are now exporting oil to twenty different countries.   

I remember well the discussions around the first North American Free Trade Agreement.  One of the keys to that agreement was the ability of the United States to access Canadian oil at the same price that Canadians paid for it.  If you remember, Canada had a two-priced system prior to NAFTA.  A domestic price and an export price.  Western Canada hated two-priced oil. 

Today, Canadians pay more and Americans pay significantly less.  We supply them with a quarter of the oil consumed on a daily basis in the good old US of A.  We have very little other export opportunity.  If we are not careful, we could see a twinned Keystone Pipeline taking raw product down and finished product back which could effectively knock out small refiners like Federated Co-op in Regina and Husky in Lloydminster because they have to pay the full price for raw product and the Americans get the heavily-discounted price for the exported Canadian product.    

IPSCO (Evraz) should be building pipe to build a pipeline to ship western Canadian oil to tide water in eastern Canada.  They should also be building pipe to get western Canadian oil to tide water on the west coast.  If we have to ship it through the Alaska Panhandle to get it to tide water, so-be-it. 

The Americans are shipping high-value, light crude around the world because of advances in drilling technology.  They are getting Canadian oil at huge discounts because of the export monopoly.  Politicians like Donald Trump are a dime a dozen in the United States because they believe in America first and they don't care how they get there. 

I don't like the feeling of living in Saskatchewan and being Donald Trump's economic slave.  Premier Moe and other Premiers across this country had better come to the same realization and start refining more of our products here and finding a way to put our Canadian differences aside so that we can get this great Canadian product to the world market.  To do otherwise is to guarantee ourselves a lower standard of living and less opportunity to build up our own citizens who are at the bottom end of the social economic spectrum.  Canada's politicians need to start standing up for Canadians.

Your feedback is always welcome on anything you read in the Monday Morning

Commentary. Please send your comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. If you know of anyone that would be interested in receiving this by email, please forward me their email address.

             

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

Once again, it appears that this commentary has been out in front of an issue before the rest of the political pack. My commentary last week on the problems plaguing our rail transportation industry and the lack of due diligence by our elected politicians set off an avalanche of “me too”.

 It’s a sad commentary on the state of Saskatchewan’s politics when a party without representation in the Legislature is more in tune with what’s going on than the ones that are sitting there. It is also an indictment of the performance of the politicians sitting there who have a sworn responsibility to look after the welfare of their citizens and taxpayers.

I think one of these individuals in particular needs to be singled out for their winter long silence on the crisis in rail transportation. That person would the Minister of Highways and Transportation, the MLA for Wood River and himself a farmer and former board member of a short line railway. This individual was also the President of SARM and therefore should be totally on top of situations like this when they begin to evolve rather than being at the tail end of an issue when the bills begin to mount on every farm in Saskatchewan.

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