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Legislative Report (31 August 2005)

Legislative Report

31 August, 2005


In the wake of calls from Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty for the west to share its oil and gas revenues with the rest of the country, the Saskatchewan Party is telling the federal government to steer clear of any such idea. Adding to McGuintys call is Thomas Courchene, a Queens university professor who is proposing an energy revenue sharing formula that would redistribute 10 percent of energy revenues to other provinces.

Many of you will remember what happened in the early 1980s when the Trudeau Liberals introduced the National Energy Program: western Canadas oil patch turned into a ghost town almost over night.

The Saskatchewan Party has written to Prime Minister Paul Martin and NDP Premier Lorne Calvert urging them to reject calls for anything like a new National Energy Program.

Saskatchewan is the second largest producer of oil and the third largest producer of gas and yet Lorne Calvert has remained mum on the issue of a redistribution of resource revenues. Its time Mr. Calvert stood up for Saskatchewan and voiced his opinion loud and clear that we are not interested in anything like the NEP of the 1980s.

The Calvert NDPs recent decision to spend $1 million taxpayers dollars on a new air terminal for government use only shows just how out of touch they are with Saskatchewan people. Instead of leasing existing private-sector space on the grounds of the Regina International Airport, the Calvert government has recently invested $1 million in a new mini-terminal at that will be a facility for government use only. When it comes down to it, the premier, cabinet minister and MLAs only wait minutes for a flight, so why does the Calvert need a brand new building? This expenditure should not top the list of priorities for Saskatchewan.

Earlier this year, Queen Elizabeth II visited Regina and used one of the private facilities already in existence at the Regina International Airport. Apparently these facilities are good enough for the Queen, but not Lorne Calvert. What kind of executive comfort does he and his ministers need?

If the Calvert administration has its heart set on putting this money into air infrastructure, there are better uses than an air terminal. Northern and rural air terminals are in poor shape. A million dollars would go a long way to improving terminals in areas like Stoney Rapids or Wollaston Lake economic and tourism opportunities would multiply.

There are also other infrastructure needs that should be higher on the priority list than a government air terminal. Over the course of the summer, Saskatchewan Party MLAs have been traveling the province and hearing directly from people about the sorry state of the provinces highways. Surely this is another priority that should outweigh a new government air terminal.

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