Saskatchewan Op-ed Cautions Us To Look Tory 'Gift Horse' In The Mouth
Watch The Fine Print In Tory Promises
By Murray Mandryk
January 24, 2009
"So while the Conservatives may very well have an impressively long list of projects, there are legitimate reasons why these projects don't quickly translate into people working. (This has certainly been the case with last year's $240-million federal budget commitment to clean coal technology [for Saskatchewan].)
The even bigger problem, however, is the Conservatives' penchant for not being especially honest in making such promises. The sad track record after three years in government is one of our Saskatchewan Conservative MPs making claims that are either unsubstantiated or untrue or unfulfilled.
Remember the claim on the day of the 2007 federal budget that Saskatchewan was getting $900-million-plus -- more than we would have got from equalization? Or how about Regina-Lumsden-Lake Centre MP Tom Lukiwski's boasts around the time of the 2006 election that, through equalization, this province was owed (and likely to get) something in the neighbourhood of $2 billion?
On Friday, Lukiwski penned a letter to the editor claiming that "Saskatchewan received $635 million through Building Canada in 2008". This must come as a surprise to the normally supportive Premier Brad Wall, who earlier this month compared the Building Canada Fund with Ottawa's Rideau Canal in the winter: both are frozen and don't move.
But Wall has a legitimate point. According to the provincial Municipal Affairs Ministry, while it did budget $185 million from Building Canada, Ottawa (as of Friday) had failed to approve a single dollar. But what about Lukiwski's $635 million, you ask? Well, a federal framework agreement unveiled a plan to provide Saskatchewan with about $635 million for infrastructure projects. But that was over a seven-year period.
This stream of embellishments, half-truths and whole untruths are good reason to be wary of more Conservative promises Tuesday. And we won't get what we need for beef and forestry."