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Legislative Report (30 November 2005)

Legislative Report

30 November 2005
Culture Of Entitlement Reigns Under Calverts Watch

Mr. Speaker, it means we need a government in this province that views the treasury as a trust and not as a trough.
-Lorne Calvert, Hansard, April 1991

Under the Calvert NDP, two cases of fraud with pending criminal charges came to light. Thirty employees of the Finance department billed taxpayers for a party, and the Premier is building himself and Cabinet Ministers a new airport.

Now by my count I think there is only one member on the government benches now who doesn't receive extra pay for some cabinet or Legislative Secretary responsibility -- only one left who would be considered a true back-bencher. Know what that means, Mr. Speaker, and what the people of the province know it means, is it's not only a question of extra salaries. It's a question of extra pension benefits, it's extra offices in this building, it's extra staff, it's extra cars, extra airplane trips.
-Lorne Calvert, Hansard, April 3 1990

Currently in Calverts NDP government, only one MLA, Sandra Morin, is not receiving any extra pay. Twenty-nine NDP MLAs are receiving some sort of extra pay from the taxpayers.

There is a culture of entitlement in Calverts NDP government. It is culture full of unnecessary spending, regressive priorities, and patronage appointments. It is a culture destined to harm Saskatchewan people. Rather than focusing on how to make a persons life better, the NDP focus on how to make their lives better. Calverts NDP has more money than ever before, but are you any better off?

As your representative in the Legislative Assembly, I was shocked to learn this NDP government was performing such acts, and that they were so ripe with entitlement.

On one occasion, the former campaign manager for the Minister of Agriculture Mark Wartman, alleges in his statement of claim that he was promised a job in government because he and his family were life long members. His name is David Degenstein, and he is the same man that distributed a cartoon depicting the Leader of the Opposition as a Nazi.

And then we learned, 690 employees from Weyerhaeuser were going to lose their jobs. While the Agriculture Minister is promising token jobs, real hard working people were in jeopardy of losing theirs. The Premiers response was to put Eldon Lautermilch back into cabinet - with all the perks and staff that goes with a cabinet posting - and in charge of finding a new buyer.

This is the same man who lied to the people of Saskatchewan over the SPUDCO fiasco. He lost $36 million of taxpayers money and lied about it for six years. He is the man supposed to save jobs... A man who has the lost the trust of the people. It goes to show this NDP government has lost touch with reality.

Lautermilch quickly lived up to his reputation. Two weeks into session, the front page story of the Prince Albert Daily Herald read, Potential Deal Off citing Lautermilchs poor treatment of the buyers as the reason for the deal going sour.

What are the workers at the mill thinking when they see this headline? A man with no public trust negotiating on their behalf, and to top it off screwing up the deal. Its beyond belief.

This is under the watch of Premier Calvert who is busy building himself an airport and increasing the budget of his communications staff. The Premier spends much of his time consumed with doctoring his image; however, he doesnt understand one simple truth. People can see through lies and hypocrisy.

Even with all the wasteful spending, patronage appointments, and its culture of entitlement, thats not the worst part of Calverts NDP. The worst part is he is taking away from the province. Our problems get deeper, yet Calvert does nothing. He is burdened down with taking care of his own, while highways crumble, waiting lists grow and taxes increase. The most basic issues of competence in his government receive no attention.

Agriculture is in crisis as farmers go belly up. There is a tax revolt fuelled by Rural Municipalities because no one has money to pay Calverts burdensome property tax. While this is going on, Calverts government is posting record profits thanks to high oil and gas prices. But instead of helping people out, he is busy stashing the money in an election slush fund. He is putting politics first and people second.

The Minister of Finance Harry Van Mulligen admitted this was standard operating procedure for the NDP government. The day he released the mid-term report showing almost a billion dollars in extra funds, reporters asked him why he isnt cutting taxes. He said because were not in election mode.

Thats no relief to low income earners who pay the highest taxes in all of Canada. For a government that praises itself on helping the marginalized, they are failing. This session we learned food bank usage in Saskatchewan is way up and 46 per cent of those using food banks are children. This is completely unacceptable. Thats 11,411 kids going to bed hungry at night. A government flush with cash should not have starving children blocks from its marble palace.

The culture of entitlement is prominent in the NDP. Premier Calvert has no issue with this, or he would change it. Lorne Calvert said many years ago, But they do expect, and they have the right to expect, honesty. They have the right to expect to be able to trust this government, to be able to trust men and women they elect. They have the right to expect that commitments made ought be binding.

Perhaps Mr. Premier, you should practice what you preach.

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