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Legislative Report (21 September 2006)

Legislative Report

21 September 2006

Premier Fires Wrong Minister

It’s difficult to disagree with a provincial columnist who says recent events prove beyond any doubt that the wrong person is out of the NDP cabinet. At a hastily arranged Friday afternoon news conference (no doubt timed to limit media coverage), Lorne Calvert announced his Minister of Corrections and Public Safety was leaving cabinet. The reason given was cryptic at best. Kevin Yates was leaving “due to personal circumstances”.

The actual reason for Mr. Yates’ departure soon became apparent. The NDP ship of state has been a particularly leaky vessel of late. Mr. Yates had the courage to say what everyone in his party had been thinking, and what the people of Saskatchewan had been openly saying for several months: this NDP out of touch with Saskatchewan people.

The person who really needed to go was not Mr. Yates, but Buckley Belanger, Minister of Community Resources. In a scathing report, Saskatchewan’s Children’s Advocate said the NDP failed completely in its obligations to protect our province’s most vulnerable children. The reports clearly show the NDP knew there were serious problems at the Oyate Safe House, yet continued to place children in what was a dangerous environment. That raises a very interesting question: why did Mr. Belanger say he had no evidence that anything was going wrong at the safe house when he clearly had that evidence?

We’ll soon know if Mr. Yates is going to stick with the NDP, or take some other course of action. Depending on what happens, Premier Calvert will have to decide whether he’s going to fight for the leadership of his party, or step aside. However, it really doesn’t matter. The important issue is that we should have a government that’s focused on the major problems of the day—our crumbling roads, a shortage of skilled labour, and no targets for recruiting and retraining nurses to name but a few.

Instead we have an NDP government that is focused on itself. Regardless of what happens in the weeks ahead, I don’t think that will change. In fact, nothing will change unless Saskatchewan has a new government and one that is determined to start fixing problems and healing the province we are so justifiably proud of.

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