There are two items that I wish to comment on this morning. Both of these items show that our Sask Party government is drifting along on major policy issues that need long-term vision.
A little over a week ago I drove up to Craik, Saskatchewan to meet with a group of people from that area about rural health care and where is it going to go in the near future and long term. As you are all aware in the last election campaign, the PC Party campaigned vigorously on the removal of the health regions and putting accountability and responsibility for health care delivery back into the Legislative Assembly.
Here we are in the first week of August - which is normally our hottest and driest part of the year - and we are having almost daily and nightly thunderstorms. Last night, we had a real loud display of Mother Nature's power along with another 9/10" of an inch of rain. All the folks trying to combine lentils and peas in this area do not need more moisture at this time. This story seems to be repeating itself all across Saskatchewan with devastating consequences for both urban and rural residents. Let's hope this lets up for a few weeks and get some of this crop harvested in good condition to meet our export commitments.
Speaking about weathering storms and living up to your commitments, it seems we are going to have a new Deputy Premier sometime today because the last one obviously didn't practice what he preached. Don McMorris, Minister in charge of SLGA and the campaign against impaired driving in Saskatchewan, was charged with impaired driving Friday night. He has subsequently resigned from Cabinet and has withdrawn from the Sask Party caucus for the time being.
One of the great joys we have in life in the Swenson household is growing our own garden. We had the first new potatoes this week which went into a big pot of beef stew. Those potatoes were joined by garden peas, carrots, onions and beans. It doesn’t get any better. I’m amazed how few people these days grow their own gardens. In a province like Saskatchewan where we have lots of available land – even in our urban areas – I think it is something that should be encouraged by our educational system, by government agencies and by community groups as a way for people to grow nutritious food and reconnect as families.
Speaking of reconnecting – the release this past week of more budget deficit numbers by the Sask Party government – shows how unconnected to reality these people are. If you remember just a few short months ago during the recent provincial election campaign, the PC Party predicted that the provincial deficit in 2015/16 would be much higher that what the government was telling us and would be fueled by the south Regina bypass.
It looks like we may finally get some summer weather. I have been trying to cut and bale some hay since the 20th of June with very little success. Last week, we had a 3" rain over a 3 day period which really made a mess of what hay I had cut. I think a lot of people are in the same boat - no pun intended. Our thoughts go out to the people in the Estevan, Arborfield, Carrot River and now Swift Current areas who have seen summer flooding because of massive downpours. This province needs 2 weeks of hot, dry weather.
Normally Saskatchewan's Crown Corporations would release their annual reports during the spring session of the Legislative Assembly. This allowed the Members of the House and the general public to scrutinize how well our Crowns are doing and whether we, the shareholders, were getting good value for our tax dollars.
I trust that those of you that had the time enjoyed Canada Day celebrations in your community. Unfortunately the weather across Saskatchewan wasn't terribly cooperative but I know many events went off without a hitch. As I said last week, we have much to celebrate in this country and should never take our freedom and privileges as a society for granted. To those of you who have family and friends south of the border, happy July 4th!
Unfortunately taking things for granted has become a hallmark of our Sask Party government. A prime example of this is the release of the Provincial Auditor's special report on the land purchases around the Global Transportation Hub. This report was released last Thursday on the last sitting day of the spring session of the Legislature. It was also the last news day before a long weekend. Coincidence? I think not.
The wrong-headed policies of the European Economic Community are coming home to roost. The EEC was set up as a way to rebuild western Europe after the devastation of the Second World War. It was also a way for these countries to work together to stave off the advance of Communism coming out of Stalinist Russia.
By allowing access to each other's markets, keeping personal income tax low and using the VAT (value added taxes), western Europe rebuilt itself and Germany in particular became an economic powerhouse. This successful program has expanded to include all of western Europe.
The problems started when they created a vast bureaucracy and started to usurp the democratic rights and traditions of member states. The issues of foreign workers, unrestricted immigration between member states and in the last few years the waves of political refugees have put huge strains on the system that was not designed for the social economic side of what was essentially an economic model. By allowing conflicts like the Syrian civil war to go on for years and years, the world has created a mess which may destroy the successes of the European community.
How can you tell when desperation starts to set into a government? They start to circle the wagons and point fingers at everyone and everything around them. Elected officials do not want to take responsibility for their actions and they start to dream up "quick fix" schemes to get out of the jackpot they themselves have created.
The actions of the Sask Party government over the last week when it comes to educating our children is in my view the signs of a desperate government. This is the same Sask Party government that finally negotiated a contract with teachers after two failed negotiations and knew they didn't have the money to pay the contract.