Saskatchewan Can Blame Premier Brad Wall For Allowing Terrible Mosquito Infestation To Get Worse Than It Should Be
2011 has been a wet year on the prairies. As a result, trillions of mosquitoes are breeding in every ditch, slough and creek in the province. You can't blame Premier Brad Wall for Mother nature's creations, but you sure as hell can blame him for cutting the funding that municipalities, towns and cities use to control the pests.
"There's an old saying that it's "the little things" that hurt politicians.
Look no further than tomorrow's Canada Day celebrations in Wascana Centre for evidence of the "little things" that are generating increasing criticism of city council and the provincial government.
We're referring to mosquitoes, which are beginning to make their presence felt in a big way. The crowds swatting away these pests tomorrow - particularly around dusk as they take in the fireworks display - will rightly wonder why less money is being spent to control them this year.
After all, it's been a perfect breeding season for skeeters. Following weeks of spring rain the province is basking in warm temperatures and their numbers are rising.
Though the skeeters we're seeing now are mostly of the "nuisance" variety and there's no sign yet of West Nile virus, which is carried by the Culex tarsalis variety, municipalities and the province are under fire for not doing more to control them.
Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco blames the province for cancelling the $1.1 million in mosquito control funding it provided communities in recent years, a move that has cost the city more than $200,000. On Wednesday, the city said it would debate a motion next Monday to use $200,000 from its reserve fund "to control nuisance mosquitoes up to 10 kilometres outside the city limits".
The city is already spending $300,000 inside city limits to control mosquitoes.
The provincial government says the extra funding it provided municipalities was specifically to fight West Nile virus - and there were only two confirmed cases last year compared with 1,456 in 2007. It says it will provide extra money in areas where Culex tarsalis numbers are high, but argues towns and cities can use some of the extra money they're getting under a new revenue-sharing agreement to fight mosquitoes.
Health Minister Don McMorris argued last month that it wasn't the province's responsibility "to control mosquitoes as a nuisance", just on health grounds.
We suggest McMorris and his cabinet colleagues are taking too narrow a view of this issue. Sure, fighting West Nile virus should be the priority, but all mosquitoes are a big deal given their ability to make our short summers so miserable.
The province shouldn't offload this issue onto municipalities already hard-pressed fiscally to fix roads and other infrastructure. Even though mosquito control efforts will have limited impact this year, given the extent of flooding, that's no reason to do nothing. In the context of a $10.7-billion budget, we suggest restoring the mosquito control program to take some of the sting out of vacation season.
This is one of those "little" issues that could come back to bite the provincial government if it ignores public opinion."
© Copyright (c) - Regina Leader-Post
*** Every single day, Potash Corp hauls truckloads of cash out of the province of Saskatchewan. Brad Wall has decided that his political priority is to give the resources of the province away for peanuts. Meanwhile, he goes about 'nickel and dimeing' the very citizens who OWN the potash resource. Maybe Mr. Wall could humbly approach Potash Corp., (hat in hand) and ask them if we could possibly have one hour's worth of their profit grab ... so that we can reinstate the funding previously used to control mosquitoes? ***
My yard is filled with mosquitoes .... I BLAME BRAD WALL! ;)