Legislative Report (30 May 2005)
Spring Session Wrap Up30 May 2005
Once again, as the Spring Session of the Saskatchewan Legislature draws to a
close, I would like to provide my constituents with a brief summary. Premier
Calvert and his NDP caucus still seems content to do very little to revive the
sagging rural economy nor have they taken any serious measures to stimulate the
growth of new business across Saskatchewan. This despite the fact that increased
transfer payments from Ottawa and rising oil prices have added hundreds of
millions of dollars to the provincial coffers.
While it is our duty, as Her Royal Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, to put
pressure on the NDP government upon their failing policies, we also put forth a
comprehensive new policy package to add to this year’s legislative debate. As
Saskatchewan celebrates its 100th birthday, our Saskatchewan Party caucus
introduced 100 new policy ideas for entry into the democratic process. Leader
Brad Wall and our caucus took the opportunity throughout the Spring Session to
offer Premier Calvert many new policy alternatives geared towards economic
renewal for Saskatchewan.
Sadly, Premier Calvert’s government chose to ignore most of our input,
instead electing to maintain their old course of anti-business policies and high
taxation. Nothing illustrated this more than the attempt by the NDP to proclaim
Section 13.4 of the Labour Standards Act, better known as the “Available Hours”
legislation. Premier Calvert’s attempt at government control of part-time
working hours was a slap in the face not only to free enterprise, but also
towards many union charters and the charter of human rights.
With the help of the Saskatchewan business community, our Opposition Caucus
was able to force the NDP government to withdraw proclamation of this business
We also saw the NDP continue their policy of ignoring the economic plight of
rural Saskatchewan. Farmers are struggling as never before with the combined
effects of BSE, frozen grain, low commodity prices and high input costs.
Needless to say, the rural communities and the agri-business sector are also
under financial hardship. I am pleased to say that pressure from our caucus did
result in the NDP government finally honouring their full 40% commitment to the
federal 2003 CAIS farm support program. However, they have chosen once again to
limit their provincial share of the 2004 CAIS program. While it is widely
accepted that the CAIS program is flawed, the lack of Saskatchewan Government
participation in the program shows clearly the low priority that the NDP has
determined for the plight of our province’s most important industry. It would
certainly be very easy to by-pass the CAIS program and assist farmers directly,
if the will existed.
Even on issues that the NDP claim to have championed, such as health and
welfare, received little attention or action from the Calvert government. Our
Caucus introduced legislation aimed at assisting parents whose children have
become addicted to crystal meth, a dangerous and growing drug problem in
Saskatchewan and across Canada. Clearly, the establishment of new addiction
treatment centers and laws enabling parents to admit their addicted children are
vitally needed. Our health care system continues to be plagued with long
surgical and testing waiting lists and a chronic lack of frontline doctors,
nurses and specialists for our citizens. Yet, on these two imperative human
concerns, the NDP seems content to pay lip service. Certainly the late Tommy
Douglas, whose biography is now being produced with a $600,000 grant from the
NDP, would not approve of the lack of attention to social programs that the
Calvert government has done.
As we head into the summer, I look forward to meeting with my constituents as
I attend the many centennial celebrations held in communities across Last
Mountain-Touchwood. I will endeavor, as much as my schedule permits, to attend
as many centennial events as I can.
I wish all my constituents a joyful summer and every success as we celebrate
the 100th Birthday of Saskatchewan. Thank you for your continuing support.