Saturday, December 29, 2007

Political Patronage

For the most part, political patronage appointments go unnoticed, as the public grows ever more used to the idea that one government is really not much different than the next. Remember, it was the conservatives in opposition whom condemned the liberal government almost daily over patronage appointments. One such appointment is that of Elwin Hermanson, former leader of the SaskParty. The Conservative government has appointed him to head up the Canadian Grain Commission. Hermanson is appointed to a five-year term, and, according to the cabinet order, his salary will be between $204,300 and $240,400. Not bad for a Beechy area Saskatchewan farmer. Who says farming doesn’t pay?

The annoucement made by Saskatchewan’s Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculure and Agri-Food, was barely noticed here in Saskatchewan. Regardless, Ritz claimed Hermanson was the right man for the job considering his leadership abilities. Hermanson’s leadership abilities are questionable. He was elected to the House of Commons as a Reform Party member and then quit. He was elected to lead the SaskParty and failed in two provincial elections in a row and both were mostly atttributable to Elwin Hermanson. In short, he failed to lead the SaskParty to the promised land of government, which I predicted when he first ran for the leadership of the SaskParty. He quit as leader of the SaskParty and quit again as he chose not to run for re-election for the SaskParty in the 2007 provincial election. The young and affable Brad Wall successfully lead the SaskParty to an historic win in the last provincial election and now serves as Saskatchewan’s Premier.

Elwin Hermanson is well respected and a nice person, but his leadership abilities have been questioned. He quit three times in his political career and that is the leadership Gerry Ritz speaks of in defence of this patronage appointment. Grant Devine is far more qualified than Hermanson when it comes to leadership abilities. When is he going to get his appointment? Regardless, I congratulate Hermanson on his appointment. It is a nice plum. If you are a farmer, get into politics and bust your buns for 20 years or so and you may get an appointment that well exceeds the cost of production regardless of your leadership abilities.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Partisan Debate

Our politicians in the legislature can’t seem to get over the election as the campaign continues in debate in the legislature. Yesterday, I observed the government members laughing while the opposition asked questions during question period. The opposition then laughed when government members were attempting to answer the questions. This is unacceptable and not what we should expect from our elected officials. The Speaker of the legislature was apparently unable to bring any order to the disorder that occurred throughout the question period.

The Brad Wall SaskParty government should simply get on with governing and quit gloating over their move from the opposition benches to the government benches. The NDP opposition should get on with protecting the public purse and get used to the idea that they are now the official opposition for the next four years. Having a debate each day in question period regarding their respective campaign promises is unproductive and only serves the partisan nature of politics.

The legislature is comprised of elected members representing both SaskParty members and NDP members. It is the role of all politicians to collectively work on behalf of each resident of Saskatchewan. I understand there will always be some partisan debate in the legislature, but in this post election period in the legislature it is a tad over the top. Both parties should embrace a little humility and get on with some respectful debate on the issues that matter to Saskatchewan residents. Now is the time for our politicians to get on with respectfully serving the people who elected them.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In Defence of Fairness

I recently wrote a Letter to the Editor condemning the unsubstantiated and unfair comments directed against a highly respected MP James Moore by an NDP MP. I received a letter from Mr. Moore’s office thanking me for my support.

Politics can often be unfair. On many occasions I have personally been the target of unsubstantiated and unfair comments over the four decades I have been involved in politics. I have come to expect that if you express your political views that you will eventually become the target of unfair comments. Sometimes these comments come from people who have never even met me and sometimes they come from people who apparently are incapable of distinguishing friend from foe. Too often people see how you seem, however, only some know who you are.

I often speak strongly and passionately about political issues. I make every effort to address the issue and still be fair. I suggest people take the position that I have regarding MP James Moore. Speak out in their defence!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Attack on MP James Moore

The recent political news out of Ottawa wherein an NDP Member of the House of Commons, Irene Mathyssen has made apparent baseless allegations against Conservative MP James Moore about what she thought she saw on his laptop computer in the House of Commons is a disgrace to the entire NDP caucus. Mathyssen has since apologized to James Moore by phone and will officially apologize in the House of Commons in the next day or so. I am purposefully not saying what her allegation was against Moore in this letter because it would only add to the harm that has already been inflicted on James Moore.

James Moore is a young bright conservative politician who is rightfully one of the most respected members in the House of Commons. He works hard and is a great speaker. He is the kind of person and politician we should all hope to have representing us in Ottawa. I have the highest regard for this young and articulate politician.

I expect Moore will likely accept Mathyssen’s apology and move on with his hard work in Ottawa. On the other hand, he may decide to sue Mathyssen for the comments she made outside the House of Commons, where she is not immune from liability. James Moore has the right to sue Irene Mathyssen for what are apparent groundless allegations. If he chooses to sue for the damages this issue has needlessly made on his personal reputation then it may serve to prevent these mindless and unjustified personal attacks in the future.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Australian Election

The former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard was defeated by the leader of the Australian Labour Party, Kevin Rudd in that country’s most recent general election. Kevin Rudd is now the Prime Minister of Australia.

The interesting point here for Canadians is why John Howard was defeated. The single most important reason was John Howard’s reluctance to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. Equally important was how the new Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd was able to bring the trade unions on side during the campaign. In Australia, the trade unions have been at odds with the Labour Party over environmental issues where it may cost them jobs. Regardless, Kevin Rudd succeeded to the extent that he had the general public on side that is also unanimously on side with ratifying the Kyoto Protocol.

The UN reports Australia as the third worst of the world’s polluters and Australia is reported to be the world’s largest per capita producer of carbon dioxide. John Howard’s reluctance to effectively address the issue of climate change cost him his job as Prime Minister of Australia.

So what does John Howard’s defeat have to do with Canadians? Well, to begin with, John Howard’s leadership in Australia immensely influenced Stephen Harper and the conservative party. The Harper conservatives admired the former Prime Minister of Australia both while they were in opposition and while they were in government. Understandably, the conservatives have gone silent on John Howard since he was defeated by the Labour Party, led by Kevin Rudd, over climate change and, in particular, Kyoto. Stephen Harper faces the same challenges, as did former Australian Prime Minister John Howard. Harper will have to carefully balance the interests of labour, business and the general public on climate change and Kyoto. Dion may not be dead if he plays his cards as well as Kevin Rudd did in Australia. The similarities on this issue between Australia and Canada are, at the very least, very interesting.

Former Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, failed to address the voters concerns over climate change and it cost him his job. John Howard and Stephen Harper were politically close. Will PM Stephen Harper follow the same path as John Howard? If so, it may cost him his job as well. Canadians are concerned about climate change and Stephen Harper will be well advised if he heeds their concerns.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Environment - PM Stephen Harper

The focus on the whole global warming issue has now been correctly directed toward climate change.  The world has always experienced climate change and the world needs to clearly determine what part of that climate change is conclusively attributable to the activities of humankind on the planet earth.  Once that is determined then the world, not just Canada, should begin to take measurable and effective steps toward contributing to a cleaner environment.

Prime Minister, Stephen Harper is correct to position Canada so that we are equally sharing with all other nations a responsible plan toward a cleaner environment.  Harper is correct to include both rich and poor nations in a formulated plan that has each nation doing their part on an equal basis.

The Kyoto Protocol on the environment is simply not realistic.  We didn’t come to this situation regarding our environment overnight and nor should we be expected to drastically reduce our lifestyle in order to resolve the issue overnight.  Any environmental plan must be a formulated long-term plan that has every nation reducing emissions.  There is no reason for Canada to take a lead role on this issue anymore than they should be the slackers on the issue.  Setting targets is unrealistic.  It is kind of like teenagers declaring that they are going to be millionaires by the age of thirty.  I wish that were possible, but generally life just doesn’t work that way.

The general public is supportive of Canada taking steps toward a cleaner environment, but the liberals will fail if they stake an election on climate change.  If the liberals make this mistake you can count on Harper telling you, in detail, what you will have to give up if the Government of Canada is to achieve even modest measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and other factors that are harming our environment.  In short, what are Canadians really prepared to give up in the interests of a better environment while other nations may not be required to give up anything?


Monday, November 26, 2007

Economic Outlook - Premier Wall

On the very day the SaskParty was sworn into office the new Premier, Brad Wall made the statement that "What the previous government has left behind, financially, is fairly stark." On the other hand, former Premier, Lorne Calvert stated he left a $2-billion surplus for Wall's government and if that's not enough, then the Saskatchewan Party can't manage its money.

This is a very interesting situation regarding Saskatchewan’s financial status. To begin with it is a better financial status than former Premier Grant Devine, of whom Brad Wall used to work for, left the NDP in 1991. The SaskParty has served in opposition for about a decade. If you look at how the opposition is defined it is to serve as the protector of the public purse. In other words, it was the SaskParty who was responsible over the last ten years to make sure your taxdollars were being spent prudently and that reserves were in place for leaner times. The SaskParty had many avenues to address the NDP government’s management of the province’s finances.

To begin with, the NDP government intoduced their budget every year wherein they set out in detail the nature of their expenditures. The SaskParty would then question the NDP government during the budget debate in the legislature and then would virtually cross-examine the finance minister and his officials during what is called the estimates when the legislature would break into what is commonly referred to as Committee of the Whole. After the budget is approved the books are eventually audited and a Standing Committee of the Legislature, the public accounts committee, reviews the auditors findings contained in his report and the public accounts committee then reports to the legislative assembly. Simply, there is an exhaustive sytem in place for the opposition to dig into the financial affairs of the governmnent of the day. There is a similar process in place to look deep into what the crown corporations are doing through the Standing Committee on Crown and Central Agencies.

One could fairly ponder who was really responsible for the finances of our province since the NDP took power in 1991. One thing is for sure, the SaskParty had a responsibility and if Calvert only left a $2-billion surplus on the table it was, in part, the fault of the SaskParty' performance in opposition.

Now set aside all that I have stated to this point and you are left with a very interesting question. On what basis did the SaskParty make all their expensive election promises if they really didn’t know the true nature of the province’s financial status? I suppose it must have been make the promises and hope for the best. I sure hope they don’t govern that way.

Regardless, Grant Devine came to power when the province was in a terrible financial situation. Agriculture was down, the resource sector was down and interest rates were threw the roof. Brad Wall has come into power with a province that is experiencing an unprecedented economic boom. Premier Brad Wall’s first comments on the province’s finances, crying wolf and indicating the province may not be in very good financial shape, is a weak comment at best in an attempt to play down the voters expectations of this new SaskParty government’s ability to deliver on their election promises.

Either way you look at it the SaskParty either failed in opposition, and if you fail there you may fail in government, made too many expensive election promises they may now not be able to keep, even with $2-billion on the table and a rosy provincial economy, or are setting up to make cuts to services they don’t like in order to pay for their election promises. It was a poor start for the SaskParty on the matter of our province’s financial status. Former Premier, Grant Devine performed well given the province’s economic situation when he became Premier. We should expect more from Premier, Brad Wall given the strong economic state of Saskatchewan’s economy.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Grey Cup Champions

Well, the big game is finally over. The Saskatchewan Roughriders are officially the Grey Cup Champions for 2007. Congratulations to the team, the coaches and all their staff and of course the greatest fans in Canada for making all this possible. It is a great experience for all ages. I also congratulate the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for how well they played.

Wow, what a victory. It wasn’t the kind of game most of the Rider fans expected. It was just too close for comfort, but a win is a win and the Roughriders never gave up. They never gave up on their dream and we never gave up on them.

Only the Roughriders can unite this province. My wife and I went out on Albert Street again for the second time as we did when we won over the BC Lions. Albert Street traffic was backed up from one end to the other. It was great.

God has blessed this province with some wonderful people and has also blessed us with a wonderful football team. The Roughrider players were blessed with talent, coaching, staff and fans and, most important, the ability to play as a team. Many of the Roughrider players publicly passed the Glory to God for their success and for me that is just great to see in any team.

We all look forward to their safe return to Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan homecoming and celebration that is yet to come. Great victory. What a day!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Moosomin Constituency Loses Again

Here is a little political history directed to all those who have since forgotten, didn’t know, didn’t care or were too young to know it even happened. In 1975, after years of working the federal political scene at the local level, I ran for elected office in the Moosomin constituency. The liberals held the seat and they had held it for decades until I ran as a Progressive Conservative and was elected in the 1975 provincial general election. Dick Collver was the leader of the Progressive Conservative party at that time and the party was nowhere in the polls and did not hold one seat in the legislature. Along with myself, only six other conservatives were elected in 1975. I was re-elected in 1978 and in 1982 when the Progressive Conservative party formed government under the leadership of Grant Devine.

During two terms in opposition I spoke all over the province promoting the conservative party and no one spoke much more in the legislature than I did. Some even referred to me as the Tory Gunslinger. I earned this infamous title as a person who would strongly defend the conservative party anytime it came under attack from political opponents. I was also a person who would attack the government or any bureaucrat who was opposing what I was attempting to achieve for my constituents. I was outspoken to the extent that the media once referred to me as the Rodney Dangerfield of politics and a loose cannon. For me this was a compliment because I could be all of that in a second if it was in defence of my constituents. I never forgot who I was, from where I came and who elected me.

When we became government in 1982 Grant Devine and the transition team believed I was too independent to serve in cabinet. I wasn’t prepared to do as I was told if it wasn’t coming from my constituents. I had an opportunity to be the Speaker of the Legislature, but that didn’t interest me, as I was a partisan politician. Instead, I chose to serve, as a legislative secretary and take on special assignments that suited both the government and the issues I believed were important to the province. Over time in government, I became more and more disappointed with the direction the government was taking on certain issues. This placed me in a position where I was drifting away from the power circle of the conservative government, but not from most of my constituents.

Then along came Don Toth, asking how long I was going to be the MLA and when would I step aside to let others seek the job that I had earned with the support of my constituents. Toth stated that Moosomin needed an MLA who would get along with the Premier and the party. I was only concerned with getting along with my constituents. Then the conservative hierarchy in Regina informed me that they didn’t need me to win in the Moosomin constituency. My constituents then proved them right. It is here where Don Toth entered politics with the support of the Regina hierarchy lead by the once powerful Eric Berntson. It is also here where my political career as an elected Member of the Legislature came to an abrupt end as I decided not to accept Don Toth’s challenge to my nomination. The details of this decision I will leave to some future book written by some political historian or me.

In deed, I was the master of my own demise, but for all the right reasons, which was representing my constituents. I have missed that aspect of politics ever since. Regardless, I remained loyal to the Progressive Conservative party, delivered the motivational speech to the candidates in the 1986 campaign and worked tirelessly in numerous constituencies to assist in providing Grant Devine with his second term in government. I learned that loyalty and hard work does not always get you where you want to go, but more importantly defines whom you are.

Don Toth went on to win consecutive elections and is now a member of the SaskParty government. He got along with Grant Devine, but was never given a cabinet position. He got along with Brad Wall, who used to work for the Devine government and now serves as our province’s new Premier. Again, Don Toth has not been given a cabinet position. He will have to settle for the non-partisan position as Speaker of the Legislature, which should suit his demeanor quite well.

Brad Wall was only about ten years old when I was first elected as a conservative MLA. Between Don Toth, and me the conservatives and the SaskParty conservatives have held the Moosomin constituency since 1975. Don Toth was a founding member of the SaskParty and is the only SaskParty member who has served in government. He is likeable and as qualified as some of those who now serve in cabinet. It could be fairly argued that he is more qualified than some of those Premier Wall has appointed to cabinet. I can sympathize with how Don Toth must be feeling. In simple terms, it just damn hurts. Regardless, politics is not, and should never be; about one’s own self. It is about your constituents.

The Moosomin constituency has earned the right now on three occasions since 1975 to have a cabinet member in the Government of Saskatchewan. It is not for me to pass judgment on those who were chosen to serve in Brad Wall’s cabinet, but for the sake of the Moosomin constituency Don Toth should have been appointed to cabinet. It is not about Don Toth or me, it is about the Moosomin constituency being taken for granted and continually denied a member in cabinet.

For Don Toth, I can only say, what goes around comes around and history does repeat itself. Of course, I could ask Don Toth how long he intends to be the MLA for the Moosomin constituency before he gives someone else a shot at it, or before someone callously takes it from him.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

New Government

Congratulations to Premier Wall and his new cabinet as they were officially sworn in on November 21, 2007. They now officially begin their responsibilities as Saskatchewan’s new government. I would encourage all residents of Saskatchewan to cut them some slack over the next few months as they get settled in and begin to learn what it takes to govern. The men and women who make up this new government have no experience in government. Keep in mind that some of these people have no idea what it takes to be an MLA let alone a cabinet minister. Considering the learning curve, it is only reasonable that we should lay off our demands and let this new Saskatchewan government proceed at a pace they feel comfortable with over the next few months.

We should offer our support to this new government and make every effort to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. We have, for too long, heard about all the potential Saskatchewan holds and if we all work hard together and with our new government then I believe our true potential can be achieved. We should get on side with this new government. If this new government fails us, and I hope they don’t, then we may be justified in condemning them at some point in the future. Until then, we should cut them some slack.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Harper - Mulroney

The federal conservatives seem to be having a problem with success. Prime Minister Harper seems to be always trying to get another election going so he can gain a majority. The recent fiasco over the dispute between the former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney and his former business associate, Karlheinz Schreiber, and the related Public Inquiry that has been ordered by Prime Minister Stephen Harper is beginning to create some division within the conservative ranks.

Mulroney was instrumental in bringing the old Progressive Conservative party and the Canadian Alliance together as the Conservative Party of Canada. Mulroney is well connected and has many allies. He is not a man to be messed with. Harper has a “my way or the highway” approach and has a record of cutting conservatives loose at the first sign that they may hinder his chances of forming a majority government. Harper has a ruthless and intimidating approach to governing and to holding the party together. He has his MP’s under his thumb and uses threats against his opponents just to pass legislation in the House of Commons. A good example of this is how he made it clear to the Senate that if they didn’t rubber stamp his Bills to reform the Senate then he would simply adopt the NDP’s policy and abolish the Senate entirely.

Harper has got away with his style of ruling over the nation, but he may have crossed the line by ordering his MP’s to refrain from fraternizing with Brian Mulroney. It is becoming clear that Harper is less sympathetic to the Progressive side of the Conservative Party. I find this ironic since it has been Harper himself who has moved the Conservative Party to the left for the sake of power. You would think he would want to champion those in the Conservative Party who are less right wing in their politics. This is the way to a majority government, but Harper seems to be showing his right wing hand before he gains a majority government. Appearing to snub a former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister, who many still respect for the good-natured manner by which he governed, will not gain the majority government Harper so desperately seeks. At the very least, it is in stark contrast to the hard and insensitive style Harper seems to be displaying.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

Congratulations to the Saskatchewan Roughriders for their victory over the BC Lions in the Western Division final this past weekend. This victory sets the stage for Saskatchewan versus the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Grey Cup Classic.

After the game, my wife and I jumped in our truck and drove down Albert Street in Regina to honk our horn in celebration with all the other hundreds of vehicles that were doing the same thing. It was great. People were coming out of their homes and standing on the street to wave at all the vehicles driving around to celebrate the Riders victory. Then about a thousand supporters turned up at the Airport at 1:30 in the morning to welcome the victorious Riders back home. What a night!

Beyond the win it is important to note how the Riders and only the Riders can unite this province and bring people together. It is the kind of atmosphere we should practice all year long. Just imagine the mark Saskatchewan would make on the rest of the country if we treated each other everyday as we did Sunday night. A province celebrating in unity, and treating strangers like long lost friends, is the kind of province we should seek to be everyday.

Again, congratulations to the Riders, their entire staff and all their supporters. We know the Riders will play hard in the Grey Cup. Yes, we want to win, but we will love our Riders either way because they are the Spirit of Saskatchewan. Go Riders Go!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Quiet Post Election

It sure has been quiet on the provincial political scene since the SaskParty formed government. Everyone is anxiously waiting to see who is appointed to all the new positions that are available when a new government comes to power.

One interesting note is that Doug Emsley, among others, is on the SaskParty Transition Team as Chief of Transition and Special Advisor to the Premier. This is no surprise to those who closely follow politics in Saskatchewan. Emsley is eminently qualified and deserving of this new position he currently holds. He is Chairman, President, CEO, and Board Member and other titles to everything from politics to banking to security to agriculture to oil & gas to public policy and back to politics and this is just the short list. You can view a biographical note of Doug Emsley at this Internet address
http://www.bankofcanada.ca/en/bios/emsley.html for more details. I congratulate Mr. Doug Emsley. I am sure he will serve as a great asset to our new Premier, Brad Wall.

The other interesting note is that Mr. Emsley has also served as a trustee on the infamous Metro Fund and I understand he still serves in this position. If not, then it is news to me and I stand corrected. The Metro Fund was set up by the old Progressive Conservative Party and contains a very significant amount of funds that are at the centre of dispute between those still active in the old PC Party and the trustees of the Metro Fund. It is likely this on-going saga will only be settled in court to determine how the fund has been managed since the PC Party was placed in hiatus and to determine what should become of the funds managed by the current trustees.

Mr. Emsley has been a long time conservative and, if memory serves me correctly, headed up former Prime Minister, Joe Clark’s leadership campaign in Saskatchewan. Emsley is all the proof we need that there is plenty of talent right here in Saskatchewan, without looking outside our borders for qualified people, to serve our new SaskParty government.

Finally, what is wrong with being a conservative? I have been a conservative all my life. The NDP should give up calling the SaskParty conservatives. Of course they are conservatives and good for them. What’s in a name? Stephen Harper became a conservative, less the progressive, formed government and became Prime Minister. Conservatives and liberals came together to become SaskParty conservatives, formed government and Brad Wall is now our new, young, bright and articulate Premier offering hope upon hope over fear. So what’s the problem? Well, there are none unless you’re not a conservative.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Harper-Mulroney

It is hard to believe that anyone other than Stephen Harper is running the government of Canada, but how big a hand does former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney have in running the government of Canada? It has been long accepted that Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Brian Mulroney are both close friends and that Mulroney has acted as an advisor to Harper on occasions.

As it became known that German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber made serious allegations against Brian Mulroney, which were filed in court last week, there has been a flurry of debate in parliament as to how PM Harper should handle this whole matter. St├ęphane Dion, leader of the official liberal opposition called for a public inquiry. Harper refused to oblige Dion and announced an "independent third-party review" of the issue to recommend what the government should do next. This failed to satisfy Dion and the push continued for a full public inquiry. Harper then indicated that he would have his independent third party advise the government on whether a public inquiry would be appropriate given all the circumstances or at least something to that extent. Again, Dion pushed back with his demand for a public inquiry. Yesterday everything changed. Harper caved and announced a full public inquiry. Dion and the liberal opposition can claim some credit for Harper reversing his position on this issue.

Now take a look at these developments from another angle. All the while the debate raged in and out of the House of Commons it would be fair to say that Brian Mulroney was getting madder by the minute as his name was being tarnished unfairly. I believe Brian Mulroney was the person who caused Harper to finally cave into the liberals and call for a full public inquiry. Understandably, Mulroney believes he is innocent and the only way to prove that conclusively would be via a full public inquiry going back to 1988 to include the whole Airbus affair where all this began in the first place.

It should be noted that Karlheinz Schreiber is currently being held in a Toronto detention centre where he is awaiting his fate regarding pending deportation to Germany on tax evasion, fraud and bribery charges. You can see why Brian Mulroney has every right to be fumed over this issue and why he would want to settle this matter once and for all. It should also be noted that Mulroney successfully sued the liberal government over the Airbus affair, including allegations of an alleged kickback scheme in the early 1990s, and the government was required to pay Mulroney $2.1 million.

Further, as reported, the RCMP announced that it is launching its own review of German-Canadian businessman Karlheinz Schreiber's allegation filed in court last Thursday that he and the former Prime Minister talked about their private business arrangement in a meeting in June 1993, two days before Mulroney left office. In a few long days Prime Minister Stephan Harper has went from total objection to the liberal opposition to a full public inquiry topped off with an RCMP review of the whole matter.

When you look at all the factors to be considered in this mess it is reasonable to suggest that Brian Mulroney still has a pretty big hand in the affairs of the new Harper conservative government. Mulroney has everything to gain and a lot to lose. Harper has little to gain and a lot to lose. If I were a liberal I would be asking who is running the government?

PM Stephen Harper's Style

The Harper conservative government is going nowhere in the polls. They are virtually tied with the liberals in party support. Harper is a one-man band kind of like the guy who goes to all the fairs. Here are a few reasons I feel may be why the federal conservatives are not gaining in the polls.

First, it has been reported that Harper was like Preston Manning in opposition and, now in government, is becoming more and more like Jean Chr├ętien. He is less and less a principled conservative and more and more obsessed with having his own way and all the power he can garner. Others have likened Harper to Conrad Black and in some ways that may be a complement, but in many ways it could end badly for Harper as it has for others who boldly strode into the dark abyss of failure and despair when they failed to lighten up and listen.

Harper has been referred to as a bully and one who you don’t want to cross. How many Canadians want a Prime Minister they have to fear? Harper attempts to totally control everything that goes on around him and certainly as it respects how he, and only he, intends to govern his minority government. There is leadership and dictatorship. You decide.

Harper has all his MPs under his thumb and demands that they rubber-stamp his agenda. Most ordinary Canadians despise that kind of leadership in every day life and they may despise Harper in the same way. The public is skeptical of where this style of leadership may lead the country if Harper is given a majority government and they may be right on this issue.

Canadians are also skeptical of the war in Afghanistan and the lack of attention to domestic issues. The Canadian Air Force has insufficient resources to patrol the north over the winter, but they may get around to it sometime in the spring. Harper, on the other hand, has pledged $40 million for polar research. So, what’s up with that?

The latest budget statement by Finance Minister Flaherty does not provide the tax relief Canadians expected from their new Harper conservative government. Removing people from the tax roles did nothing to provide tax relief for those middle-income earners who actual pay taxes. Further, in percentage terms the rich pay fewer taxes than the poor. Flaherty’s introduction of a Notice of Ways and Means Motion tabled in the House of Commons lays out a host of financial plans designed to win the conservatives a majority government. It is not all bad, but it too much looks like an election budget and Canadians are not on for another election.

The issue of equalization payments to the provinces, and especially in Saskatchewan, continues to be of concern. It is believed that our oil and gas should not be factored into the equalization formula as was promised by the conservative candidates in Saskatchewan before Harper became Prime Minister.

Harper rejected Ontario’s request for more funding for large cities like Toronto, but he still has millions for Pakistan in the form of aid for one thing or another. This wouldn’t be too hard to take if Pakistan was not on the verge of civil war notwithstanding it is virtually a military dictatorship. Right, pardon me, President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is now promising democratic elections sometime in the future.

Now Harper is threatening to abolish the Senate if they stall his government’s Bills in the House of Commons that will bring about sweeping changes to the Senate. This may be popular, but it is the style and manner, which Harper employs to manage the nation that bothers Canadians. Here again, you see the bully side of Harper and his controlling nature.

Finally, he is in deep trouble over the allegations being made against former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney. Dion was calling for a public inquiry and Harper announced he would have a third party investigate the matter and then advise Harper as to what his options may be in resolving this thorny issue. Mulroney has now called for a public inquiry and Harper is now asking that his third party advisor take into consideration the possibility of a public inquiry. Well, now we know Harper has learned how to do a 180.

It seems like Harper is temporarily on the ropes on this one since Dion asked for a public inquiry from the very beginning. Harper had no problem calling for a public inquiry regarding the liberal sponsorship scandal and former Prime Minister Paul Martin agreed. It was the sponsorship scandal that brought down the former liberal government. What happened to the accountability and transparency principles that Harper always demanded in opposition and stated would be the noble hallmark of his government?

These are just some of the reasons why the Harper conservatives are at present going nowhere in the polls. More are likely to come if Harper doesn’t share power with his elected colleagues and begin to show a little respect for the institution of parliament.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Hasty Decisions

Premier elect Brad Wall is making some hasty public decisions before he has officially been sworn in as Premier. He has decided to cut a cheque to people who are still required to pay the PST on used cars until his government can officially remove the tax. It is a Premier-designate proclaiming law without any legislative or regulatory authority to support the law. Since he has waited since boyhood to become Premier one would wonder what difference a few weeks would make to provide Wall the opportunity to make these decisions with the proper authority. On the other hand maybe Wall and his inner circle believe that Premier-designate Brad Wall is the only authority required.

The other decision Wall has made is to reconsider the legal action against the federal government initiated by former NDP Premier Lorne Calvert over the equalization formula. When Wall was in opposition he supported the NDP on this issue. Now he questions the legality of the legal action against the federal government. One would have thought he would have questioned the legality of the action against the federal government when he was the leader of the opposition. Federal conservative candidates in Saskatchewan, singing from the same page, claimed that oil and gas revenues would be removed from the equalization formula under a Harper led conservative government. Everyone who isn’t over their head in conservative partisanship believes the conservatives broke an election promise. Goodness, even John Gormley believes they technically broke their promise. The Harper government did move in the March 2007 federal budget to make changes to the formula and has removed oil and gas, but he also introduced a cap which kept oil and gas revenues in play regarding the formula.

I am excited about the prospects of better government with the young, energetic Premier-designate, Brad Wall leading the troops of hope against the challenges that face our province. I can only hope he doesn’t move too quickly and trip out of the starting gate. I don’t think anyone in the province expects our new Premier and his government to start making decisions before they are well prepared to proceed. I believe the SaskParty has a good chance of winning the next three elections, but they will have to move forward strategically and give Saskatchewan residents an opportunity to gain trust in our new Premier, Brad Wall and our new SaskParty government.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Election Results

Well, the election is over and the results are in and so is a new SaskParty government. I extend my personal congratulations to Premier elect Brad Wall and the SaskParty. I extend my congratulations to everyone who was a candidate in this election. It is a business of rejection and losing is always hard to take, but at least these women and men had the courage to run for office. I know it is little consolation, but in elections there are always more losers than winners. Lorne Calvert was gracious in defeat and will be remembered for what he said to his supporters when it was finally known that he had lost power to the SaskParty.

The real challenge and the work ahead is now in the hands of all those whom were elected. Brad Wall is to be especially congratulated for his victory speech. He sent a clear message to the province and to Canada that there is a new day of hope dawning for Saskatchewan and that hope in Saskatchewan has been victorious over fear. I believe Brad Wall will serve this province well as our Premier and I wish him every success. He has many promises to keep and a vision for our province that he must now turn into reality. Failure to do so will cost him this hard earned victory if he fails to deliver.

In summation, there were many good women and men elected and more whom were defeated. As voters we should look ahead with hope that this new generation of politicians will serve our province and us well over the next four years. I will error on the side of hope and trust that this new government will succeed for many years to come. It was a great election and there should be no question now that our Riders will go on to win the Grey Cup. Remember, hope beats fear!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Election Day

Well, the big day has finally arrived. It is Election Day. It is time for the voters to pass judgement on who they believe should form the next government. Everything is pointing to a huge SaskParty victory. Brad Wall will be the next Premier of Saskatchewan and his boyhood dream will have been realized.

The SaskParty has run a better campaign. They have been picking up support each week as the campaign has progressed. It has been a hard one to predict other than the final outcome. I had thought initially that the race would be close, but I revised my numbers to give the SaskParty 37 seats and the NDP 21. That was only a few days ago and now it seems that there is a real possibility that the SaskParty will win by an even greater margin. There are going to be some surprises in this election so hang on and enjoy the ride and don't forget to vote.

Tomorrow all attention will point to whom will be in Cabinet and whom will get what appointments. This is where it will get really interesting. The voters will also be watching very carefully to see if the SaskParty can deliver on all it has promised. If they do, then watch very carefully to see where all the money will come from. We know it will be from you and I, but which pocket will they have their hands in and will they spend our money wisely?

I suggest we give the new SaskParty government the benefit of the doubt and not be too hard on them in the first year. I also predict that the SaskParty will win the next two elections as well and if they are smart we should expect a SaskParty dynasty. The NDP should prepare to be out of power for a long time. The liberal party may even become the official opposition after the next election and displace the NDP for the next two decades.

Have a good election. Again, be sure you get out and vote and Have a Great Day.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

This election began with talk about a wolf in sheep's clothing wherein the NDP were referring to Brad Wall and the SaskParty. To this point in the election the NDP have failed to convince voters that there is any truth in this allegation. They have now decided to turn their attack on Grant Devine to see if maybe he is the wolf that Brad Wall will turn out to be when he is elected Premier come election day. The NDP have trivialized this election with all this nonsense about some damn wolf.

Here is the reality. The NDP are the black sheep, there is no wolf, except in the cavernous minds of a few ill advised NDP strategists, and the sheep will be lost in the dark as the SaskParty prepares to bring light and a new day to the province of Saskatchewan.

My point is clear, the NDP have run a poor campaign and they are soon about to pay the price come election day. Count on a SaskParty victory who will be challenged with governing our province in a wolf less manner.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Election Forecast

Well here we are only days before the Saskatchewan provincial election. Everyone is trying to guess by how much the SaskParty will win this election. My first instinct on November 1, 2007 was 33 seats for the SaskParty, 25 for the NDP and none for the liberals. I have since looked deeper into my crystal ball and looked at all the factors that contribute to who wins and who loses in a provincial election. Initially, I thought some of those factors would not come into play, but have now decided they will. This will change the final outcome of this election.

What are some of these factors? To begin with, the NDP has annoyed almost everyone in the province on at least one issue or another over the last four years. The voters will remember these on Election Day. The economy is strong and the voters believe it can be even better with a new government. That is only a belief with little to support it and only time will tell if the economy will be kind to the SaskParty. Regardless, the voters feel it will be and that will serve to satisfy their ever-outstretched hands for more.

Pollsters have told us for years that the political lines are blurred resulting from voters being less conscious about the ideological and philosophical factors that influence how they vote. I agree the lines have been blurred, but only as it relates to how the political parties have all become to look the same respecting their policies. I believe with our aging population and the advances in technology among voters whom are under sixty-five years of age that there is a new attitude about how Saskatchewan people see themselves and how they see the future of Saskatchewan. They are more prepared for change now than they have been in the past and the SaskParty represents that change. The NDP represents the status quo and that is just not on at this time in our political history. I believe the voters still have firm ideological and philosophical beliefs that have been on slow burn over recent years. The SaskParty has provided the political environment for these beliefs to once again flourish as it once did among the pioneers of our great province.

Politics is odd at the best of times and so will be the numbers when the polls close and the results of this election are known. The SaskParty should win 37 seats and that will leave the NDP with 21 if voter turnout is up from the last election. The SaskParty margin of victory will depend on an increase in the total number of votes cast. I believe they will attract new voters in this election. This election will signal to all of Canada that things are about to change very significantly here in Saskatchewan. Get out and vote and be part of our province’s great history.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Which Way?




Well, here is one voter that doesn't mind you knowing how they are going to vote and they seem prettey sure of which way this election will go on November 7, 2007. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. It will be interesting to see if this voter has guessed this election correctly. If so, then Haloween will have more significance to the NDP in future years. My congratulations to this voter for making Haloween more than simply handing out candy, which is more than the SaskParty and the NDP can claim when you look at all the promises they have made in this campaign.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Leader's Debate

The leader's debate Tuesday night on CBC served no useful purpose other than to make politicians look as bad as the voters have already concluded. The CBC had a terrible format for the debate and I am surprised that the leaders even agreed to debate in such a poorly crafted format.

Regardless, I listened carefully through all the mixed chatter among the three leaders and gave the respective leaders a point each time their jabs connected with their opponents. I rated it similarly to the way boxing officials score a boxing match. This system ranked David Karwacki first, Lorne Calvert second and Brad Wall third. Brad Wall came to this match all dressed up in a pin stripped suit trying to look like the next Premier of Saskatchewan. On this count he will be the next Premier, but he had poor advice on how to dress for a televised leader's debate.

Lorne Calvert was his usual self, smiling, repetitive and boring. Brad Wall both failed to answer important questions and to make himself heard when he was attempting to answer a question. Brad Wall was also visibly surprised that David Karwacki would be so aggressive. Karwacki squarely directed his attack on Wall as the Premier in waiting and the person whom Karwacki and the liberals intend to hold accountable.

So what is the result of this debate? Lorne Calvert and Brad Wall were not measurably hurt by the debate and David Karwacki proved he would make the best Premier. Karwacki may have paved the way for a few undecided voters to park their votes with the liberal party. In short, the debate will not likely change the election outcome. Look for a 33/25 split of the 58 seats up for grabs with the SaskParty forming government and the liberals again being shut out completely.

This will be too bad for the liberals and the voters because David Karwacki and two or three other good liberal candidates would serve as a strong voice for the people in the opposition benches of the legislature. They would also serve to displace, over time, the NDP from the legislature completely. We would then be left with the best possible scenario, a moderate SaskParty government and a moderate liberal opposition. They could both hug the hell out of the middle and take turns governing. That may be the best hope for the voters. Count me in. I could live with that.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Best Leader

In my view David Karwacki is the best leader in this election campaign. He has the best background and qualifications to serve as this provinces' Premier. Unfortunately, this will not happen as the voters will follow party lines and the liberal party will do well to elect a handful of members. In fact, Karwacki will do well to win his own seat. I wish him well, but he is in an uphill battle.

When you look at his background you have to credit him for even entering the world of Saskatchewan politics. It is not like he needs the job, but he would be an excellent Member of the Legislature if he is fortunate enough to be elected. Check out his qualifications on this report of him by Murray Mandryk.

David Karwacki Report

Candidate Lost

The SaskParty has lost their candidate in the constituency of Regina Walsh Acres. This is one seat the SaskParty won't win as it is too late under the provinces election laws for the SaskParty to replace their candidate in Regina Walsh Acres. The details surrounding this matter are vague, but at a minimum it would seem the SaskParty is facing a certain amount of embarrassment, which will will have little effect, if any, on the final outcome of this provincial election.

What is clear is that there needs to be some form of electoral reform to be assure the voters that the candidates seeking election at their doors have perfectly clean closets. All political parties should be addressing this issue as it is they whom are most affected during an election campaign. It may be necessary to remove the screening process for election candidates from the political parties completely and place it with an independent professional body. This election has proven that the political parties have failed to adequately screen the candidates they nominated to run for their party.

Finally, I don't believe it is unreasonable for candidates to be required to submit a police check on their background and a complete financial disclosure of their assets and investments. As voters, we need to know that the candidates are at least honest people of integrity before they get elected. As we know, that may often change after candidates get elected.

Historic Election

With about a week to go before the voters cast their votes there is only one major event that may change where the voters will park their votes on Election Day. That event is the Leaders Debate on October 30, 2007. The SaskParty has little to lose as they have a lock on this election. The NDP has even less to lose, as they should now be preparing to serve in opposition. The liberals, on the other hand, have everything to gain and a lot to lose.

If David Karwacki can score better than his opponents then look for two or three liberals to get elected. Maybe even more if the stars are perfectly aligned. Karwacki is capable and he will be given a big hole up the middle to run and make his case as the SaskParty and the NDP will be focusing all their arguments against each other in a bitter argument. I don’t think the SaskParty nor the NDP will be prepared for Karwacki if he comes to the debate with a carefully planned strategy.

The final outcome in this election may hold an historic potential. If the liberals can elect a handful of members then we may be in store for a SaskParty dynasty with the liberals eventually displacing the NDP completely. This would be good for the province to have a SaskParty government held accountable by a moderate left liberal party and the NDP gone for a long time. This scenario would position Saskatchewan to finally realize its great potential as an economic power and unprecedented population increases over the next few years. Turning the governance of this province over to Brad Wall and David Karwacki whom are both young, bright and capable leaders of their respective parties is precisely what this province needs to move forward to the benefit of all Saskatchewan residents.

Regardless, the voters are always right and we will soon see what future they will vote for themselves. Make sure you don’t miss out on this important election. Get out and vote and make sure you have your say on Saskatchewan’s future.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Harper - Hillier Clash

The latest clash of differences between the leader of Canada’s government, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and the leader of Canada’s military, Rick Hillier should be of grave concern to all Canadians. The recent Throne Speech indicated that it would take until 2011 to complete the training of Afghanistan’s military. Hillier has argued that it will take at least five years longer than the date set out in the Throne Speech. Hillier believes it will take at least ten years to build a national army that can defend the government against insurgents and potential external threats. Further, he argues that these matters cannot be achieved overnight and that it will take time with the involvement of the international community before you've got an Afghanistan government that works effectively. It could be argued that our own Canadian government is not working effectively and we have been working on that since 1867. Rick Hillier’s differences with Prime Minister Stephen Harper would suggest he agrees our own government is not effective and that Harper is wrong about how long it should take to train Afghanistan troops.

My position on the differences between the leader of our government and the leader of our military is crystal clear. Our democratic system of government elected our government and I trust that our government, and only our government, makes decisions on important matters of foreign policy. It is our government we should trust to make the final decisions as to when we go to war, how we are engaged in that war and when we decide to bring our troops home. These are not decisions that should be made by the leader of our military. It would be a tragic day for Canada if it were run by the military. In the end, Prime Minister Stephen Harper is Canada’s top soldier. If Hillier wants to be the top dog in this country I suggest he get out of the military and run for elected office. In this regard, he may find Canadian voters are tougher than the Taliban.

I respectfully suggest that we all trust in our Prime Minister to make the tough decisions we expect of our government. Further, the opposition parties in the House of Commons are dead wrong to trust Hillier’s assessment over that of our government. You have to question who wants our troops to stay longer in Afghanistan and who wants them home in a timely manner. You have to question who wants peace and who wants war. All the opposition parties are standing with General Rick Hillier against Prime Minister Stephen Harper on this issue. I stand with my Prime Minister and my government. Where do you stand?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

SaskParty On Road to Victory

Here is what we know about the election to this point in the campaign. The SaskParty will form the next government. What we don't know is by how many seats.

We know the campaign is boring and has been reduced to a blizzard of promises that has the potential to run up the province's debt if our resource sector should falter. Of course, that can be avoided if many of the promises made by the SaskParty are broken. They may be left with no choice or they will have proven once and for all that conservatives cannot manage the fiscal affairs of the province if we consider the performance of the Devine conservatives. A government can deliver, but if revenues are not there then you must run up the debt or fail to deliver on your promises. I don't think the Wall conservatives will want to make that mistake twice.

The other thing we know about this election is that the NDP are in free fall. Their campaign is not going well and the SaskParty has not yet tripped over itself on the road to victory.

That brings us to the liberals. Karwacki is light years ahead of his last campaign and is looking stronger as the campaign progresses. If the NDP vote should completely bottom out in this rocky campaign of expensive promises and Karwacki liberals continue to move forward then election night may provide some surprising results. It is kind of like predicting the weather. The perfect storm in this election campaign could happen and produce some surprising results. If it happens, you can expect to see liberals in the legislature and the NDP beaten easily by the SaskParty.

The last thing I know for sure is that Karwacki was well advised to make it clear that the SaskParty is on their way to victory. Many voters are now left free to vote for the best candidate in their constituency and in many cases that is a liberal.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Democratic Dictatorship

I can hardly believe what I am hearing coming from the free enterprise conservative government of Stephen Harper. Further, make no mistake it is Harper’s government as he controls every aspect of what happens in government. It is a democratic dictatorship that has rendered Parliament, Members of Parliament and government department heads useless.

The finance Minister is now calling on retailers to lower prices due the rise of the Canadian dollar against the American green back. Where was the Finance Minister when oil companies raised the price of fuel beyond what was fair in relation to the world price of oil? How often did you hear him call on the oil companies to sell gas for less?

The Harper conservatives, it would seem, have become liberals. I would suggest the government keep its nose out of business. Individual consumers are best positioned to manage the retail matters of the nation. There are numerous ways a government can help consumers deal with rising costs, but meddling with free enterprise is not one of them. It is interesting to note how this government supports free enterprise for farmers selling their own grain, but not for retailers to set their own prices.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper should get back to his free enterprise conservative roots. That is where he came from and that is where he belongs.

No Green Incentive

The SaskParty's green policy to provide a twenty percent reduction on registration and insurance for those of us who buy energy efficient vehicles is next to no incentive at all. It is a token offer and will do little to encourage people to spend the extra two thousand dollars for a hybrid vehicle. Who wants to make the switch and wait ten years for the reduction in registration and insurance fees to make up the difference.

The SaskParty should consider a Saskatchewan price for fuel to offset work related fuel costs and one that is not hinged to the world price of oil. As a major producer of oil and gas, Saskatchewan residents should get some kind of break on vehicle fuel and home heating costs other than another social program that we may or may not need. One thing is sure, we need gas to heat our homes and we need fuel for our vehicles.

Of course it could be worse. The NDP may buy us all a new bicycle, which would cost about two hundred dollars and that would be one tenth the cost of the SaskParty green proposal as it would be a one time expenditure that would last about ten years. Now wouldn't that be exciting. We could all bike pool to work in minus thirty degrees Celsius facing a twenty mile an hour wind.

What the heck, get on the wind powered wagon as we all go green. It's the in thing right now and all the political parties are trying to lead us where we may have to go as fuel prices are forecast to hit $1.50 per litre in the spring of 2008.

As the election moves along it is becoming possible that we may have a hybrid government if we add a few liberals to the opposition seats in the legislature. If that happens then we will see who is the greenest of all the parties. A lot of the newly elected will be green in more ways than one and that should make for an interesting legislature. Add all the promises and it seems like Christmas is coming sooner than later. I can hardly wait to cash in on all my tax dollars these parties have promised to spend.

Let me end it with this note about green. Who was the last leader of a political party that claimed they would turn the province green if that person became Premier? Regardless, the only real green is Rider Green.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bidding War

The provincial election has turned into a good old auction sale. The NDP and the SaskParty are using our credit cards to spend millions on campaign promises. At last count the SaskParty had promised to spend more of our tax dollars than the NDP.

The SaskParty has a plan for everything. They will do all of the following and we are only into the second week of the campaign:

$ Rebuild our communities
$ Reduce the burden of property taxes
$ Encourage tourism, heritage preservation, arts, culture and recreation
$ Invest our tax dollars wisely
$ Balance the budget, pay down the provincial debt and deliver important public services for each of us and our families
$ Pave our roads
$ Pay a fair share to educate our young people
$ Provide urban and rural ratepayers with education property tax relief
$ Provide long term help to school boards by increasing education funding
$ They will make us the green capital of North America using a host of alternate energy sources
$ They will create an energy Centre of Excellence
$ They will develop a plan for training, recruiting and retaining nurses
$ Keep our youth and grow our province
$ Provide quality health care. Goodbye waiting lists
$ Educate all from K-12 to Post-secondary to a new and inspired level of competence
$ Put the brakes on crime, youth gang violence and internet crimes
$ Provide a level of security for all residents day or night and improve the resources our police services require to keep us safe
$ They will provide new exciting goals for each of us and our province
$ They will provide the new direction you and I require to reach these exciting goals
$ Finally, at least to this point, they will not touch our Crown Corporations. More important, they will develop and build on the Crowns to give them a more focused role in our lives.

The NDP has nearly matched this impressive list of promises the SaskParty is offering Saskatchewan voters, but they will never out bid the SaskParty. Going once, going twice, gone. What’s not to vote for? The SaskParty will form the next government. Brad Wall will be your new Premier. Prepare to receive your credit card statement. No problem, you only have to pay the minimum required, but interest charges will be applied to your next bill. Congratulations voters you have just been bought with your own money.

Finally, here is a brief comment on the David Karwacki liberals. They may have missed the auction sale, but they would be great in opposition to make sure we get what we paid for and expect to receive.

What Campaign?


Yesterday I took a little trip into Moose Jaw and through some parts of the Thunder Creek constituency to see how the election campaigns were going. I could hardly find anyone that had a view on the provincial election and three people didn't even know there was an election going on in the province. When you look at how few signs are up in those constituencies you may come to the conclusion the lack of knowledge and interest in the election is partly the fault of the politicians for not getting their message out. I don't know that for sure, but I do know that no one seems to give a damn one way or the other.

I came out with little information to base an opinion on, but then I don't need a lot to come to a likely conclusion. The general sense of the few who had an opinion was that the NDP government had to go and the other view expressed was why the P.C. Party candidate, Rick Swenson, was wasting his time running. In fairness, you have to give Swenson credit for throwing his hat in this election. It is better than most voters who just don't seem to give a rip one way or the other. I don't know if Rick Swenson has any signs up, but his old adversary Lyle Stewart has a few signs. You can see one of them that I have posted in this blog.

It is hard to believe that the NDP could lose in Moose Jaw, but on the other hand it has happened in the past when the NDP were going down hard as they did in 1982 when the Devine Tories came to power. I believe the SaskParty already has this election won under the non-controverial leadership of Brad Wall. If the SaskParty surges ahead through the balance of this campaign then the NDP in Moose Jaw may go down as well, but don't bet on it just yet. You would be better off going to the casino. In Thunder Creek, count on Lyle Stewart winning all the way and, if you are a gambler, put a loonie or a toonie on Rick Swenson losing his deposit.
Come on Moose Jaw and Thunder Creek. Get in the campaign. Get out and vote.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Harper's Strategies

Prime Minister, Stephen Harper has grabbed a lot of headlines with all his talk about forcing an election by introducing a Throne Speech that the liberals can’t accept. The media have used it as hype to excite the country into thinking we are going to have a fall election. They have reported how Harper has outmaneuvered the Dion liberals on Afghanistan and other issues that would force the liberals into voting against the Throne Speech and tripping the country into an election they don’t want.

So yesterday the government introduced the Throne Speech and the conservative government moved to the left and are now clearly in the middle of the political road. That is precisely where the liberals were when the more right wing conservatives defeated the liberals in the last federal election. The result of this strategy will not force an election and the Harper conservatives in the process have alienated many conservatives across the country as they have failed to pay down the national debt, reduce taxes and most important, reduce government spending to the extent expected by conservative minded voters. These were all promises made by Harper when he was in opposition. In the end, it would seem Harper has outmaneuvered himself in his obsession and failed attempt at forcing the liberals into an election.

In my view there will not be a fall election and nor should there be as we would only end up with another minority conservative government. The strategy should be simple for Harper, provide rock solid government with less partisan politics and prove to Canadians that he is worthy of a majority government. Move back to being a moderate conservative government that addresses the key economic issues that conservative voters expected from a conservative government. Harper has failed to deliver on conservative policies and has abandoned conservative principles in his obsession with power. Could it be that this new conservative government, lead by Stephen Harper, has outmaneuvered itself? As a long time conservative, I see them looking more like liberals every day.

To put all this simply, the Harper conservatives should just quit all the fancy stick handling, shoot the damn puck and put it in the net. That will give Harper the majority government he is so desperately seeking.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Too Much Control

As a long time conservative, I have to ask when too much control is too much control? In the case of Prime Minister Stephen Harper I think I have found the answer. He was controlling before he became Prime Minister, but as Prime Minister, Harper’s obsession with control is out of control.

From Afghanistan, to the House of Commons, to the party, and now to the national media we have witnessed Stephen Harper’s style of control, control, and control. The recent news that Harper is planning a new government run national media centre at taxpayers expense should be of concern to all Canadians. The national media will have their freedom of speech significantly curtailed as some may be restricted regarding access to the proposed new $2 million dollar facility, who gets to ask questions and what they will be allowed to report either through television, radio or print.

What’s next? Maybe the new Harper government will build its own television, radio or newspaper network. The national media should consider boycotting anything the Prime Minister or the government has to say and let Harper live with that for a while.
Stephen Harper is a ruthless and controlling Prime Minister. This is a matter of fact as defined by Harper’s own actions. Harper has the right to prepare his government’s message, but controlling every aspect of what parts of that message are conveyed to Canadians and the manner in which it is conveyed is a dangerous precedent and threatens freedom of speech. When should I become fearful of my own government?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Accountability_Karwacki

Yesterday liberal leader, David Karwacki announced his plans for political accountability. On principle it is a plan everyone should support. Interestingly, Ken Rasmussen, a University of Regina administration professor, made critical comments on Karwacki's accountability plans, as reported by CBC Saskatchewan, indicating that the provincial auditor can't dictate how a government spends money on itself. He went on to make the ludicrous statement that accountability is a non-issue in this election and that this isn't Ottawa where you had a big scandal and an accountability issue. More interesting, he said Saskatchewan doesn't need new laws and more third party officials.

I have never understood why these well paid professors should be consulted for their views on political matters in Saskatchewan. If Rasmussen is an expert on administration he should be working for some government or maybe he should risk it all and run for elected office in the next provincial election. I just can't stand these supposedly smart guys sitting on the sidelines taking pot shots at the policy proposals of the various political parties and their leaders.

Further, for all their education, I have never understood how they can be so wrong in their assessment of politics in Saskatchewan. To begin with, every election is about accountability and especially as it relates to our elected officials unnecessarily padding their own pockets with our tax dollars. Karwacki is correct to question how tax dollars are being spent. The primary responsibility of opposition members in any legislature or parliament is to be a guardian of the public purse. Why Rasmussen doesn't know this is beyond me. Maybe we should also have someone audit how our universities are spending tax dollars.

Rasmussen's comments that we don't need new laws and more third party officials are also dead wrong. What would he have our government's do? Maybe they should just stop amending existing legislation and regulations. Maybe they should just stop introducing new legislation, which is new laws or maybe they should just stop governing. Now wouldn't that be a catastrophe! The public is constantly calling for the government to take action on one thing or another. How do you do that without introducing new laws and sometimes third party officials?

Rasmussen must be on some political agenda supported by the CBC. He has dug a big hole with his criticism of David karwacki's accountability policy. Maybe he should just jump in that hole and stay quiet until after the election or until he has some intelligent comment to make on the policies being announced by the various political parties in this provincial election.

David karwacki is attempting to address the issue of accountability in Saskatchewan politics and deserves the support of voters in this regard. It is expected that his political opponents may criticize him on his policies, but he shouldn't expect to be blind sided by some uninformed political professor with the support of the CBC.

Friday, October 12, 2007

SaskParty Drug Deal

The drug deal proposed by the SaskParty is more responsible than the universal plan proposed by the NDP. It is more cost effective, targeted and relevant to individual income. I could argue that the SaskParty drug plan is not anymore necessary than that proposed by the NDP, but then we are in a bidding war by the NDP and the SaskParty for votes leading up to the November 7, 2007 election date. The liberals may benefit at the polls if they stay out of the bidding war, which all comes at the expense of the voters. If the NDP vote collapses then the liberals may surprise at the polls.

Drug Deal

The drug deal proposed yesterday in Saskatchewan's 2007 provincial election is a prescription for disaster. The NDP proposal to extend the senior's drug plan to all Saskatchewan residents was most likely intended to be a trap for the SaskParty. Getting the SaskParty to say they are against universal medicare will not happen in this election.

The NDP drug deal promise is not well thought out and has not been costed out. It is ill conceived and the NDP have just handed thousands of votes to the liberal party and a majority government to the SaskParty.

Accountability

The liberals may find that dealing with the issue of accountability is more than a walk in the park. Regardless, it will be interesting to see what their policy is on accountability as they make their announcement today from the Trafalgar Overlook Platform in Wascana Park.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Liberal Signs

Well, the liberals may not be front runners in the Saskatchewan election, but they are currently leading the sign war in some parts of Regina. Here is one of their signs, which are larger than life along the Lewvan Expressway. If the liberals put up any more signs we may have to rename it the Liberal Expressway.

Election 2007

Well we are finally out of the gate and off to the Polls for a provincial election date on November 7, 2007. Premier Calvert came across cool and humourous in his announcement. Brad Wall seemed a tad jumpy in his excitement, but I am sure he will settle down and hit his stride as the campaign progresses.

Watch for this important election to be decided over a few important issues that will be the key to victory for one party or the other. Also, watch for the liberals to score a few points as well. I expect an exciting campaign and the voter turnout may be higher than we have seen for a while. Regardless, get involved in the campaign and get out and vote for your favourite candidate.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Swenson Attacks Wall

Well, the war of words continues between the angry Rick Swenson and the SaskParty. In a recent Letter to the Editor last week Swenson attacked the SaskParty leader, Brad Wall for how he handled comments made by the SaskParty MLA for Cannington, Dan D’Autremont. The comments apparently made by D’Autremont suggested Crown Corporations should compete with the private sector, and in particular, as it relates to the Securtek division of SaskTel.

Personally, I prefer the private sector to the public sector in how they operate and serve the province, but there are measurable differences that sometimes weigh on the side of one or the other. A good government will make decisions on privatization based on those differences and an open discussion with the public where it is required to make clear what those differences are and how it will better serve the interests of Saskatchewan residents.

Regardless, this letter is not about my concern over the private sector versus the public sector. It is my concern over Rick Swenson’s spiteful attack on Brad Wall and Premier Calvert. The provincial election is shaping up to be another dirty fight and Swenson is only fanning the flames of dirty politics in his attack on Brad Wall and Premier Calvert. Rick Swenson’s attack on Wall may well be less about policy and more about his ongoing differences with the SaskParty and his old adversary, the MLA for Thunder Creek, Lyle Stewart who defeated Rick Swenson for the SaskParty nomination in the spring of 1999. Rick Swenson has apparently been at odds with the SaskParty and Lyle Stewart since that time.

In Swenson’s letter he makes this statement, “Many people have asked me why I want to still belong to the P.C. Party of Saskatchewan.” He then went on in his letter to justify why he still belongs to the P.C. Party of Saskatchewan. Interestingly, his justification had more to do with his high notions of integrity in politics than with the big axe he has been grinding against the SaskParty. Rick Swenson agreed to the unceremonious burial of the P.C. Party of Saskatchewan when they joined with the liberals to form the SaskParty. In fact, I believe it was Rick Swenson who made the motion to bury the old P.C. Party. He should now take his big axe and bury it in the same way he buried the P.C. Party that he now wants to unearth and rebuild.

I don’t belong to any party, but if your goal is to defeat the NDP in Saskatchewan then your best choice is to vote for the SaskParty to achieve your goal. Rick Swenson knows this as well as I do and his motives for running as a Progressive Conservative seem more about defeating his old adversary Lyle Stewart and the SaskParty. It’s the old divide and conquer strategy. Further, Rick Swenson, as leader of the P.C. Party, will not rebuild the party through negative slurs on other politicians. On the other hand, respectful and fair commentary on public policy may gain some respect and support for the party, and maybe even for Rick Swenson.

Swenson has a rich opinion of himself and asks in his letter if there are no Saskatchewan politicians left who stand for something other than their own ambition and a fat pay cheque. This is an unjust statement and a slur on all politicians and the voters who elected them. No one is more politically ambitious than Rick Swenson and his MLA pension should amount to a fairly fat pay cheque.

In my humble opinion the P.C. Party of Saskatchewan is forever dead unless the SaskParty folds in defeat. How likely is that? Further, mean spirited politicians with unworthy intentions are the very reason I don’t hold a membership in any political party.

Finally, in his letter, Rick Swenson calls for a debate in a public forum regarding a security company inside SaskTel. I can’t imagine any intelligent politician accepting that challenge to provide the podium Swenson so badly needs. On the other hand, if Rick Swenson wants a debate in a public forum on party politics, public policy, truth and maybe even the infamous Metro Fund, then I’m your huckleberry.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Goodale Versus Lukiwski

Tom Lukiwski, Member of Parliament for Regina Lumsden Lake Centre, took exception to a July 11, 2007 letter written by Ralph Goodale. Goodale argues Saskatchewan fared well under the previous liberal government and Lukiwski argues we have fared better under the new Harper conservative government. Interesting, I thought Harper was going to get government spending under control.

I think the argument is a waste of time and fails to serve the interests of the public. I would rather believe both governments and both Member’s of Parliament in question here are working as best they can to serve the public interest. They are paid well enough to do so and if they aren’t working in our interests then we should not be voting for them at the next election.

Lukiwski would be wise to look at Goodale’s record over the years as a politician. Regardless of what anyone thinks of the liberals or Ralph Goodale we know one thing and that is that Goodale has been a successful politician by the standard all politicians strive for and that is to be re-elected and apparently at any cost. Tom Lukiwski needs to set his sights on Goodale’s record at election time. Lukiwski missed the cut when Harper made his recent changes to his cabinet. I would respectfully suggest that Lukiwski focus on his own record of achievement and quit giving Goodale free press that Goodale doesn’t need.

Lukiwski and his advisors will eventually learn that you can never prop your self up by attempting to tear others down by innuendos or facts. I have known this to be Lukiwski’s nature for some time and it seems he hasn’t changed. Regardless, if he can be as convincing to the public that he is the greatest as Goodale has over the years then it really doesn’t matter if he is truly good, bad or indifferent because the public may re-elect him anyway. Tom Lukiwski and his predecessor are proof that anyone can get elected. Goodale and Lukiwski have never been humble, but they could at least try.

Without prejudice!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

PM Stephen Harper Displays Leadership

Are we fighting for our enemy? Recent high-level meetings are an attempt to convince Afghan President Hamid Karzai to oppose the Taliban our way and only our way. This is not surprising. When you fight a war for some other country you should be able to decide the eventual outcome. That is the US and Canadian position.

Prime Minister Harper’s recent visit with President Karzai can be praised as a morale boost for our troops, but I don’t believe he made a risky visit for that purpose alone. President Karzai has been keeping so-called back channel communications open with the Taliban. It is reported that the Afghan parliament's upper house voted to end offensive military operations and enter into direct talks with the hard-line Islamists. And it is reported that in March the lower house passed another controversial bill promoting national reconciliation that would grant all warring factions, including the Taliban, immunity from prosecution. So, are we fighting for the enemy? We are certainly fighting for the government of Afghanistan that has a different view of how peace shall be determined than that of the western world.

Prime Minister Harper didn’t go to Afghanistan to deliver hockey sticks to our troops and pencils to Afghan children. He went to tell Karzai to get on side with our troops and stop offering olive branches to the Taliban and Islamic extremists who are killing our troops while they are fighting Afghan’s war. Harper went to tell Karzai to show some leadership that will support the Canadian troops effort in Afghanistan. Harper even went to the front lines and no other serving Prime Minister of Canada has been closer to the danger zone. Is there a better example of leadership? Prime Minister Harper wants to be sure we are not fighting for our enemy and so do Canadians. Prime Minister Harper deserves a lot of credit on these counts.

The west has had a military presence in Afghanistan for over five years. How are we to end the war? Is an end possible? Harper stated on his visit to Afghanistan in a speech to our troops that we couldn’t simply lay down our arms and hope for peace. I agree, but the larger question is how do we obtain peace that is only on our terms? This is an Al Qaeda driven war and we can never kill all our enemies or negotiate with them. This is an endless war, and as in all wars, takes the lives of thousands of innocent civilians.

Finally, democracy has nothing to do with this war. A vote in the Afghan parliament or in our parliament or in the US congress will not end this war. It will end the way the west wants it to end and on our terms or not at all. If not, then have we been fighting for our enemy?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Canada - For Sale?

The take over of Canadian companies recently has to make one wonder if Canada is flaunting a For Sale sign. The most recent sale was Alcan Inc. to American Alcoa Inc. for a price tag of 33 billion. One also has to wonder if it is time to take at least a casual look at whether or not the sale of Canadian companies to foreign investors will be in Canada’s interest in the long term.

Some argue it is time to step in and protect Canadian enterprises. At this time I disagree. The federal government was well informed prior to the latest sale of Alcan Inc. I am prepared to give Stephen Harper the benefit of the doubt at this time. I may be taking a risky position considering how the Harper conservatives managed the now infamous trust accounts where individual Canadians lost millions.

Regardless, the Canadian investment business had better be playing heads up ball or things could get out of hand. To that extent, it needs to be noted that Canadian companies invested in foreign companies to the extent of 70 billion in the last quarter of 2006. So it would seem we now have trade deficits and investment deficits that must be balanced if Canada is to be anything more than a price tag relying on other countries to provide many of the consumer products Canadians are buying.

The Stephen Harper conservatives need to pay very close attention to what is going on in the investment world. They should at least read the 1985 Investment Canada Act.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Alleged Fraud

The public is left with less respect for both NDP and SaskParty politicians after a lengthy debate in the Saskatchewan legislature over allegations of fraud. The SaskParty released confidential police documents in the legislature they claim were obtained in a brown envelope. Was it really a brown envelope or was it lily white or environmentally green? Why are leaked confidential documents always sent in brown envelopes? As the debate unfolded it became apparent that a former employee of the NDP caucus in 1992 allegedly had committed fraud according to her own letter of confession.

It was also alleged the NDP was involved in some form of cover-up by not reporting all the information to the Regina City Police until 1994. Interestingly, the police failed to lay any charges after they received the 1994 report from the NDP. The NDP stated their submission to the police was a full and complete report regarding the alleged fraud of a former employee of the NDP caucus.


It is now reported that the Regina police have launched an internal investigation into how two confidential department files made their way into the hands of Saskatchewan Party MLAs. Additionally, it is reported by the police that there is also a review underway of the investigation of the alleged fraud in 1992. Police are attempting to determine whether the information they've received merits reopening the probe.
The information the police had on this alleged fraud apparently had no merit to lay charges in 1994. Why would this same information now have merit in 2007? I can only assume that the police had some good reason not to lay charges in 1994. What was the reason? On what merit should the case be now reopened?

It could be that the police investigation will expose who leaked the confidential documents to the SaskParty MLAs. If that person is found to be closely linked to one of Saskatchewan’s political parties then a whole new debate will unfold regarding this sad trail of events in Saskatchewan politics. If the police reopen this case then others may be implicated and the plot will thicken. It is unfortunate to have all this happen at the same time when we are attempting to promote Saskatchewan as a great province. Regardless, it is the cost of seeking the truth.

The public, based on all that has been argued regarding this whole affair by the NDP, the SaskParty and the Regina City Police, deserves to know all the facts. To this extent, Premier Calvert has asked the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to investigate and report sometime in June of 2007.

It is now time for our well-paid politicians to move on with other important public issues. It is now time to let the police and the Conflict of Interest Commissioner perform their reviews and investigations. It is apparent our politicians cannot fully investigate this matter in the Saskatchewan legislature. It is apparent they have embarrassed themselves and lowered the bar of respect the public holds for our politicians. Move on!