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Tuesday, December 11, 2007 

Saskatchewan NDP Caucus Better Get Their Act Together In Opposition Quickly

Normally you allow someone who is new in a job a bit of time to get trained and familiarized with their new duties. In some cases, the time available for 'learning the ropes' is, by necessity, far too short. Such is the case for Saskatchewan's new Official Opposition.

Premier Brad Wall's new government delivered their first speech from the Throne yesterday and it was full of code words that should have Saskatchewan progressives extremely concerned. For starts, Wall proposes to 'oversee a major review of the province’s health care system'. That should scare the bejesus out of anyone who values publically funded universal health care.

Wall also has indicated that we may see one or more nuclear power reactors constructed in Saskatchewan to utilize our available uranium resource.

Finally, Wall is planning to 'balance' exixting labour legislation and that is where the fight is going to occur against this right wing crew.

So .... what of our new Official Opposition? I make no apologies when I say that the Saskatchewan Party has made a smoother transition into government than the New Democrats have made into opposition. There is NO time for error and there is NO time for learning curves to be indulged. Saskatchewan's new Official Opposition has to hit the pavement running ... and to date there is not much evidence that this is what is happening.

The first Question Period of the fall session occurs today, and here's hoping that the Saskatchewan NDP Caucus can do their job and hold Brad Wall's feet to the fire on these key proposed legislative changes.

Sorry. Your wish isn't going to happen quickly for two main reasons.

First, 16 years. See the federal Liberals in opposition. Same story.

Second, any training for the shadow cabinet is a waste of time. There'll be a leadership review soon enough, which Calvert will lose. Then there will be a convention, which an unknown quantity will win.

That person will create a new shadow cabinet and it won't be composed of the old-guard.

The SP's have at least a year or better of useless opposition.

Cheers though,

I take issue with, among other things, the fear of a review of our health care system.

This term I took a class at university in which a portion of it was spent looking at the Canadian health care system. One of the our professors made a convincing argument that the biggest problem with our system isn't wait times, nor inadequate spending, it is that we haven't ensured that we are using resources efficiently. While I don't remember every point he made, he did make one based on family doctors in the UK (I think). In the UK, in days gone by, the way patients were booked was similar to the way patients are booked here in Canada (with the corresponding waits of days, weeks to months to see your doctor). They then had a number of doctors change the way that they booked patients (I can't remember the actual way that they did that- sorry) but it completely eliminated wait times to see your family doctor. A simple administration change fixed the problem of waiting to see your family doctor.

If Canada, and specifically Saskatchewan, is missing the boat on something as simple as that, do you still hold the position that an efficiency review is something to fear?

There is nothing wrong with a review of the efficiency of the health care system. There are a lot of changes that can be made without bringing in (cue scary music) private health care. The changes that do bring private health care will probably be based on court cases such as Chaoulli, IMO. To protect public health care, one would have to make the system as efficient as possible so that nobody instigates a case such as that.

Maybe if Lorne hired political people in the Caucus it would be more effective. There are many good and politically smart people in the party, however they have not been the ones called to serve.

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