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Legislative Report (19 0ctober 2005)

Legislative Report

19 October 2005
Government Awash In Oil Revenue But Wants To Keep It A Secret

One of the basic lessons you learn in High School physics is that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. The same thing happens sometimes in economics. You and your family are about to start paying considerably more to heat your homes with natural gas. But while you pay more, the government gets more.

The difference between the Saskatchewan Party and the Calvert NDP is that we in the Opposition want you to know how much more your government is collecting. For some reason, the NDP wants to keep that a secret.

According to our calculations, higher oil and gas revenues will generate an extra $720 million in provincial revenues. Whats the NDP estimate? When asked that direct question Tuesday, Finance Minister Harry Van Mulligen brushed off reporters. He also refused to say what if any plans are afoot to help Saskatchewan people facing higher energy costs.

The Saskatchewan Party believes there should be an intelligent discussion about the various policy options based on facts. The Calvert NDP believes everything should be done in secret, without consultation. The number one concern we are hearing from constituents is higher natural gas prices. Lets have that debate, and lets have the facts, not secrecy and evasion from the Finance Minister.

Cabinet Choices Send Wrong Message

At the end of last week, Premier Lorne Calvert announced he was making his cabinet bigger. But if you can believe it, that wasnt the most frustrating part. The most frustrating part of the story was who he added.

Eldon Lautermilch, the man responsible for losing $35 million during the SPUDCO scandal, is now the new Minister of Highways and Transportation and the Minister responsible for STC. If this doesnt reek of government mismanagement and a laissez-faire attitude towards taxpayers money, then what does? A man who misrepresented the facts is now responsible for ensuring your highways are adequate and your families are safe.

There is a saying, Actions speak louder than words. By putting Lautermilch into the cabinet, Lorne Calvert is showing his true stripes. Hes saying that its OK to promote someone who wasted taxpayers money; hes saying even though you got kicked out of cabinet over SPUDCO, you can come back because I want to make government bigger. This is not what Saskatchewan people want to hear; especially when, they are facing some of the highest utility rate increases in the provinces history. While they are trying to scrape up extra money, bureaucrats are getting promoted. It doesnt seem fair.

The second addition to Calverts cabinet is Graham Addley. The man Calvert put in charge of addictions after the Saskatchewan Party raised the issue. In true NDP fashion, rather than directing money and resources towards treating people, Calvert expanded bureaucracy and made Addley the Minister of Healthy Living Services. This is not the way to help our kids addicted to crystal meth. They need resources now, not bureaucracy.

Expanding cabinet is just another indicator that the NDP is out of ideas and is simply looking after their own Saskatchewan families deserve better then that.

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