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Legislative Report (20 July 2005)

Legislative Report

20 July 2005

Border Opening Brings Relief To Farmers
Sask Party Glad To See Cattle Going South Again

It has been a long and difficult two years with the border closed to live cattle, but this week there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel.

Finally, live cattle have been allowed to cross the border into the United States. Everyone involved in the agricultural trade let out a collective sigh of relief when this happened.

Saskatchewan produces some of the highest grade cattle and beef in the world. That is why our product is highly sought south of the border, and that is why we were so affected by the closure of the border. Lets hope that the time has come where our cattle will flow freely across the border. However, we should keep in mind that having a solid slaughter capacity at home is a good way to protect us from such trade disruptions in the future.

The Saskatchewan Party presented a plan for value-added agriculture in March of this year. It includes ways to increase the slaughter capacity in Saskatchewan focusing on tax incentives and fundamental improvements to the economic climate. We want to ensure that farmers and the industry as a whole continues to be an economic driver for this province.

Although the border is open right now, it only takes one judgment to slam it shut again. We must find new and innovative ways to ensure producers and the agricultural industry are better insulated from such mishaps. The Official Opposition Saskatchewan Party has the plan and a vision to get this done.

Financial Controls Still Too Lax in Government Departments
Former SLGA Employee Could Still Sign Cheques One Year After Dismissal

Does anyone in Lorne Calvert's government actually read the Provincial Auditor's reports calling for tighter controls on how departments track and control spending? Because once again, we have an example where the proper checks and balances were not in place.

This week the Official Opposition Saskatchewan Party brought forward the case of a man who left the employ of the Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority in January of 2004, but still had signing authority for an SLGA bank account in March of 2005.

That means there were 14 months when taxpayers' dollars were left at risk.

The account (Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority 1192863) had a balance in excess of $40,000 in March of 2005. The former employee, Leary Claypool, was at that time still listed on the bank's card as one of two people with signing authority.

Thankfully for all us taxpayers, this man is honest and did not take advantage of the situation. However, as we have seen recently in the Departments of Environment and Community Resources and Employment, it only takes one dishonest person to do considerable damage.

Since 1996, the Provincial Auditor has been calling for departments to follow their own accounting rules and conduct proper audits, and as recently as last month, he was once again calling for more effective controls on government agencies.

The Provincial Auditor has repeatedly warned that if something is not done, taxpayers money would be at risk. At what do we see again, another example where our money is at risk because the proper checks and balances were not followed.

The Calvert NDP is being sloppy and careless; taxpayers of Saskatchewan shouldn't have to put up with this kind of lax control over their hard earned money.

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