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Monday Morning Commentary

Rick Swenson

There was an expression often used when I was growing up to describe an individual who seemed to have all the power in the world but couldn't keep their eye on the ball.  That expression was "Roman Emperor Nero fiddled while Rome was burning".  This, of course, was referring to the great fire which consumed Rome in the First Century AD and was subsequently blamed on the new Christian religion.  The Emperor Nero probably could have marshalled his forces and done something about this horrific fire but he chose instead to sit back and blame someone else because he needed a scapegoat for his own bad policies and laziness.

It's a good thing that the winter Olympic games have started because it gives those of us in cold-bound Saskatchewan something to take our minds off what's going on outside.  Saskatchewan is a very sport-oriented place and we love cheering on our athletes especially the home grown ones. 

Regina's own Mark McMorris has defied all of the odds after that horrific snowboarding accident last year by once again being an Olympic medalist.  One can only imagine what kind of determination it must have taken to get his body and his mental state back to a point where he is once again competing at the highest level in his chosen sport.  Except for that small slip on his last jump, Mark probably would be the gold medalist.  Hats off to a great Saskatchewan athlete and example for others to follow.

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.

Congratulations Premier Moe on your internal election as Premier of Saskatchewan. You are now responsible for the future of over one million people. Most of these people will need changes in your Government so they can survive, be happy, and prosper.

The pcsask.ca party thinks you are honest and will try your best. Your best probably will not be good enough unless you learn to take advice from better people.

We offer to give advice if you call Rick Swenson or me. We have a record of balancing our departments’ budgets and we were not afraid to challenge the insiders, cronies, and land speculators in the Sask. Party. I was thrown out of your party for asking too many questions. I hope you didn’t know what was going at the rotten core of your party. You should find out and fix it.

I recommend you enjoy your victory for a week or two. If you do not seek the advice of pcsask.ca we will give it to you anyway. Our goal is to change the world and you have the power to start in Saskatchewan. We challenge you to implement our policies.

Yesterday was one of those winter days that everyone can really appreciate in Saskatchewan.  The sun was shining, a very light breeze was blowing with the temperature slightly over freezing.  After a week of being kept in the house with a dose of that miserable cold/flu that's been going around all of Saskatchewan, it was nice to get out and enjoy one of Saskatchewan's favourite winter activities - ice fishing. 

My son Eric and I joined hundreds of other people at Buffalo Pound Lake enjoying the afternoon, caught our limit of yellow perch and simply relaxed from the rigours of our lives.  Let's hope we have a few more days like that this winter so that we can forget about the bone-chilling cold which we've all endured over the last month.  

The never-ending leadership races which are gripping Saskatchewan politics these days has virtually brought the process of government to a standstill.  I know from visiting people involved in municipal government and third-party non-profit organizations that there is a growing sense of foreboding about the budget process.  I think everyone is anticipating another tough budget and are wondering when the Sask Party government is going to get its focus off of choosing a new leader and getting on with what they were elected to do in the spring of 2016.  The budget process appears to be far behind schedule. 

It is very seldom that I've ever let weather events get in the road of jumping in the truck and going places.  I fully intended on attending Crop Production week in Saskatoon as I have for many, many years.  Last Tuesday's rain and snow storm stopped me in my tracks.   The idea of driving in those conditions was too much for his hardened Saskatchewan farm boy.  I'm sure many others felt the same way.    

By all accounts, the show was a tremendous success and a showcase for Saskatchewan agriculture and innovation.  My hat is off to the people that work  so hard to make this happen each and every year in Saskatoon. 

I particularly wanted to see some of the information that was available to producers on the subject of inter-cropping.  This is the growing practice of sowing two different crops together and harvesting a mixture that has a greater potential for monetary reward and building soil health. 

When you combine this with some of the new opportunities developing with cover crops, it is an exciting new development to strengthen our agricultural base.  Combining the livestock sector with these new developments can only make western Canadian agriculture an exciting and profitable place to be for many years to come.

 The PC Party has always been a strong proponent of agricultural diversification and value-adding our agricultural production.  Along with protecting our land base from unscrupulous outside investment schemes, we as a Party have always believed in the entrepreneurial spirit of our farming and ranching families.  One of my great disappointments has been the lack of efforts by our current Sask Party government during the best of economic times to do things like expanding our irrigation acres and expanding our value-added processing.  Irrigation has proven to be one of the cornerstones of value-added processing.  You only have to drive through southern Alberta to view the results of concerted policy initiatives in this area.

Hello everyone - it's now 2018!  Another year has gone steaming by and you wonder where it went.  This last year has been one of extremes as we've gone from intense heat, drought and now bone-chilling cold through the Christmas holidays.  This past Saturday and Sunday have been above zero and you would think that you are living in the best place in North America when you look at what others are experiencing on the east side of the continent.  I guess if we didn't like weather extremes, we wouldn't live here.

So Happy New Year to everyone.  I hope Santa was good to you and your families and you had the opportunity to relax with friends and loved ones and catch up a little on the family time.

Our politics is much like our weather.  You never know what's going to happen until you get up in the morning and get surprised.  The Sask Party leadership contest is grinding its way to a conclusion at the end of this month.  The animosity amongst the participants seems to grow by the day even though they pledge everlasting love to each other every time there is a public debate.

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