It's good to see this two-week long cold snap come to an end. I was out four days ago putting up electric wire around my grazing corn and haven't been able to do any since because of the intense cold. There is always a lot of cleanup work to do on Saskatchewan farms right up until Christmas and this cold weather has certainly been putting a damper on those activities.
Speaking of putting a damper on things, the comments by the Federal Finance Minister who says the federal government will not maintain the level of health care transfers to the provinces raises some very interesting questions. We have known in Saskatchewan for some time that there must be change in the way that our health care is delivered. The PC Party campaigned vigorously in the last election campaign on eliminating the hugely-expensive health region structure.
Every time I end up in the United States after a Presidential election, I'm always amazed at their drawn-out transition process before a new President is sworn in - in January of the following year. There is the daily speculation about who will serve in the new cabinet and the media is full of daily coverage of the various personalities who are visiting the Trump Tower in New York City. The fact that the in-coming President is a personality like Donald Trump makes the whole process seem like a three-ring circus.
This time, however, there is the added speculation of how the Russian government of Putin may have interfered in the American election by hacking into the various computer systems of the major political parties. It makes our Canadian parliamentary system extremely structured and boring to the average citizen. I am sure the American people will muddle their way through the process and life will go on for the average citizen. We Canadians will have to watch with interest and also be prepared for change because when the American elephant rolls over, Canadians have the unfortunate experience of having to get out of the way or get squashed by our largest trading partner.
It was nice to take a break from both Saskatchewan’s weather and its political environment. The problem is that neither has gotten any better. Saskatchewan is going to go through several months of winter, and the Wall government refuses to own up to their mistakes.
It is absolutely unconscionable that the Legislative Assembly has been shut down without providing the answers that taxpayers need on the GTH Land scandal. I fully understand the necessity of shutting down the Legislative Assembly for a couple of days to honour the passing of MLA Roger Parent and allow members the opportunity to attend his funeral. But to not have any more question periods or the ability to call witnesses to the Public Accounts Committee until the spring session for the Legislature opens is totally unacceptable.
Today's commentary is written by Party President, Grant Schmidt.
P.C. President’s Commentary
Debt: Good, Bad and Ugly
This morning, the President is ranting about debt. The first thing we need to know about debt is the majority of Canadians don’t care about government debt. All the statistics and polls can’t be wrong.
In the April election, Brad Wall would not reveal his budget and the voters didn’t care. That does not mean the P.C. Party shouldn’t care. Our purpose is to lead the people to a better future. Our motto is “For the Right Reasons.”
Why is good debt good? Good debt is when you borrow to grow your assets, the profits of which pay off the debt.
P.C. President’s Commentary
Our leader, Rick Swenson is away on two weeks of earned vacation. My first Monday morning commentary of the year will be a President’s report.
At our Annual General Meeting in early November, Rick announced he would step down as Leader when we elect a new leader. Rick will continue to act as interim leader until we get the Party already to elect a new leader.
Rick has taken us to credibility and an alternative to the two rich and powerful parties of the left and far right.
One of the responsibilities that I had as an MLA was the position of Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee. It is the only committee in the Legislature chaired by a member of the opposition. The governing party always has the majority on the committee. It was a tremendous learning experience and taught me a lot about government. I wished I had the experience before becoming a Cabinet Minister.
It can be a fine balancing act to get the answers necessary to protect the taxpayer of the province and at the same time, allow the government of the day to proceed with its agenda. The Provincial Auditor is part and parcel of the committee and is the greatest resource available to the committee.
My situation was very similar to what we have today. There was a very large NDP government of over 50 members and a PC opposition of 10 members. The balance is basically the same today between the Sask Party and the NDP opposition.
This past weekend, it was good to sit down with old friends and make some new acquaintances at the PC Party Annual General Meeting. It was my opportunity to give a Leader's report on the past election campaign and the issues that now face Saskatchewan. We also had a very informative policy discussion which included presenters from the oil and gas industry and the solar energy industry.
Both of our presenters are on the leading edge of environmental stewardship and how to make a dollar while being environmentally responsible. They were great additions to the PC Party's discussions in dealing with the carbon emission issues and fair taxation for Saskatchewan citizens. We also talked about the deficiencies in the current policing structures in Saskatchewan and the lack of job opportunities and new industries.
It was truly a pleasure for me because of the platform the PC Party ran on in the last election and how many of the issues that are front and centre with the public like health care, the GTH and the Regina bypass are very topical today. In fact so topical that they dominate Question Period every day in the Saskatchewan Legislature. If the Sask Party Finance Minister every finds his courage to report the true state of Saskatchewan's finances to the people of this province, we will also find out that the predictions made by the PC Party in the last election campaign are coming true about Saskatchewan's deficit.