Monday, October 31, 2011 

Why Is Brad Wall Wearing NDP Orange??

Halfway through last week, the Saskatchewan Party pulled all of their overly aggressive 'attack' ads on Dwain Lingenfelter. Clearly, their polling showed that these scathing ads were not being well received by the public. To replace them, the Sask Party is now advancing a softer, friendly Brad Wall ..... wearing NDP orange!??

The brain trust who run the Saskatchewan Party campaign are leaving no bases uncovered!

Photo of 'NDP Brad' courtesy the Saskatchewan Party .....

Sunday, October 30, 2011 

Robert Chisholm Enters New Democratic Leadership Race As A Serious Contender

I've known Robert Chisholm for many years and am very happy that he has thrown his hat into the race for leader of Canada's New Democrats. Robert took the Nova Scotia party from 2 or 3 seats in the provincial legislature to Official Opposition. He is a charismatic, committed and highly skilled candidate for the position.

"Nova Scotia MP Robert Chisholm has joined the federal NDP leadership race, becoming the eighth candidate for the job.

The 54-year-old MP for Dartmouth–Cole Harbour confirmed on Facebook on Sunday that he is now part of an increasingly growing group of candidates to replace the late Jack Layton.

He later appeared at a Darmouth restaurant with supporters, including Premier Darrell Dexter and a group of provincial cabinet ministers.

Chisholm touted his experience as former leader of the NDP in Nova Scotia in the late 1990s. He led the provincial party to a breakthrough in Nova Scotia's 1998 election, when the party won 19 seats in the legislature and achieved Official Opposition status.

The unilingual candidate says he has started taking French courses and expects to learn the language. He was only able to speak a few words of French in response to reporters' questions.

In launching his campaign, he said in an online statement that New Democrats are at a "a pivotal point in their history."

CBC News

Saturday, October 29, 2011 

How Brad Wall Shills For PotashCorp

"Yesterday’s strong earnings report from the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan confirms what this blog and the NDP have been contending: even modestly increasing Saskatchewan’s extremely low royalties on hugely profitable potash mines could fund substantially better provincial public services.

The Saskatchewan Party still refuses to review potash royalties. In a well-timed column, Greg Fingas developed the theme that this gift to potash companies is the provincial election’s most expensive promise.

The Sask Party issued a carefully-worded press release implying that PotashCorp invested $590 million in Saskatchewan and paid nearly $332 million to the provincial government in the third quarter of 2011. Both suggestions are misleading.

While some commentators wrote that PotashCorp reinvested $590 million in Saskatchewan, the Sask Party itself stopped short of making that claim since this figure is a worldwide total. The company reports only that “the majority of the $590 million in capital expenditures” were in potash rather than nitrogen or phosphate.

The Sask Party compares this figure to $700 million of potash gross margin, at least 90% of which is from Saskatchewan as opposed to New Brunswick. If two-thirds of PotashCorp’s investment was in Saskatchewan potash mines, it reinvested something like 63% of its gross margin (i.e. $590*0.67/($700*0.9)), a far cry from the 84% put forward by the Sask Party. In contrast, 100% of every dollar in additional royalties would be reinvested in the province.

The Sask Party went on to claim, “PotashCorp paid another $332 million in potash royalties and income taxes in the third quarter – the vast majority of which would have been paid in Saskatchewan.” This figure is the sum of “provincial mining and other taxes” ($53 million) and “income taxes” ($279 million). The $53 million is Saskatchewan’s potash production tax and resource surcharge.

The $279 million is worldwide corporate income tax, more of which goes to the Canadian federal government than to provincial governments. (Note that the Sask Party wrote “paid in Saskatchewan” not “paid to Saskatchewan.”)

PotashCorp has confirmed that it paid only $82 million of corporate tax to the Saskatchewan government throughout 2010, less than it paid to Trinidad. Saskatchewan people should get a better return."

by Erin Weir
October 28th, 2011
Progressive Economics Forum

Friday, October 28, 2011 

Brad Wall SCRAMBLES To Change Channel From Windfall Potash Profits To ..... No School Until After Labour Day!?

PotashCorp embarrassed Sask Party Leader Brad Wall yesterday by releasing Third Quarter figures which prove that the province is being robbed blind.

The last phase of the provincial election seems to be focusing on the Billions of dollars being gouged out of Saskatchewan by the potash industry. New Democrats want to squeak out an extra 'nickel on the dollar' of these profits while Brad Wall wants to keep enriching the rich.

So back to yesterday. With the Q3 report on record industry profits, Wall desperately needed to change the channel and get the pundits, MSM and hopefully, the public, onto another topic.

Right out of the blue, without any other context, he announced that no school in Saskatchewan will be able to reconvene classes until after the Labour Day weekend in order to help out the tourism industry.

As you would expect, the MSM took the bait and we have a new issue in the campaign today.

Thursday, October 27, 2011 

How PotashCorp Hauls BILLIONS Of OUR Dollars Out Of Saskatchewan Every Year

PotashCorp earns US $826 million in Q3 (Jul-Aug-Sept/2011)

The Canadian Press
SASKATOON - Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan Inc. (TSX:POT) more than doubled its profits in the latest quarter on higher production and record sales.

The world's largest fertilizer producer reported early Thursday its net income jumped to US$826 million, or 94 cents per share in the three months ended Sept. 30.

That was more than double the 38 cents per share, or $343 million in profits the company earned in the same quarter last year.

Sales in the quarter jumped to US$2.3 billion from $1.58 billion last year as the company cashed in on growing demand for fertilizer in China, India and other parts of the world.

PotashCorp, which reports in U.S. dollars, said record third-quarter sales and significantly higher prices raised potash gross margin to $700 million - the second-highest third-quarter total in company history.

This raised gross margin for the year to $2.2 billion, well ahead of the $1.3 billion earned in the first three quarters of 2010.

Production in the quarter hit a record 1.9 million tonnes, up from 1.3 million tonnes a year earlier.

The company says offshore potash demand remained robust during the third quarter and on pace to achieve record levels in 2011.

PotashCorp president and CEO Bill Doyle said the "undeniable need for potash, phosphate and nitrogen" ensured products moved through the system to reach farmers around the world.

"Our third-quarter performance reflected the unrelenting pressure on global food production - and the strength of our growing fertilizer enterprise."

After the rejection of BHP Billiton's hostile $40 billion bid for PotashCorp last year, the Saskatoon company has moved ahead with expansion plans and developments to boost supply.

And despite recent weakness in the global economy, the prospects remain bright for the industry.

"Despite economic uncertainty around the world, a growing population has and will continue to need more food and, ultimately, more fertilizer," added Doyle.

"By recognizing this powerful long-term trend and making the commitment to be prepared for growing demand, especially for potash, we anticipate new opportunities in the years ahead. Our expanding operational capability will be increasingly valuable - in helping grow global food production and in serving the interests of all stakeholders in our company."

Wednesday, October 26, 2011 

Transcript Of Racist Comments Made By Saskatchewan Party Candidate During Debate In Yorkton

An interesting observation in the matter of Sask Party candidate,Greg Ottenbriet's use of racist comments at a Yorkton 'All candidates' debate. The question that prompted the comments almost appears to be a 'softball' question thrown by a Sask Party supporter for Mr. Ottenbreit's benefit. According to financial statements filed by the candidate last election, the person who asked the question is a large financial contributor. (see page 9 of the financial statement):

Transcript of Greg Ottenbreit at candidate’s forum in Yorkton, Oct. 19, 2011

MODERATOR: Lawrence Wegner, you got a question?

LAWRENCE WEGNER: Thanks, Randy. Going back to royalties for a second here. Recently it was announced by the opposition that if they were elected they were going to enter into negotiations with the First Nations in regards to sharing the royalties that our province has. My question is, I’d really like you both to leave your party platforms on the table and come up and answer this personally. How do you feel about a government negotiating the royalties struc--the royalties of our province to minorities and special interest groups?
MODERATOR: Thanks Lawrence. Chad?

CHAD BLENKIN: Thanks for your question, Lawrence. On a personal note, I spent three years at Enterprise Saskatchewan on entrepreneurship council. And during my tenure there, this was one of the areas with the First Nations that I worked hard on. I think the negotiations of potash royalties with the First Nations, what we’re trying to achieve as the NDP is just to get those talks started. We have had a considerable amount of backlash since we made this announcement but I just recall going back to where we were when we made the announcement years ago to do this with the casinos and look at where we are today, especially here in Yorkton. The casino is one of the largest employers. Everybody said it wouldn’t work. It, they’re providing 60, 60 to 70 per cent, 60 per cent of their employees are of First Nations ancestry, so 40 per cent of their employees aren’t even from that community. So I think where we need to work with the First Nations is providing them some entrepreneurship training and some guidance and taking some of these royalty revenues and allowing them to build economies. Like we see even the Petro Canada, that’s a success. We have a lot of people working there. That’s what we need to do is help and train them into building their own businesses so that they can be more [in?]dependent on their own. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Greg Ottenbreit.

GREG OTTENBREIT: Well, I will sincerely agree with Chad on one thing and that is engaging the First Nations people on education, training and in the economy because that is the most important thing. If you talk to, I have a lot of First Nations friends, I’ll talk to them about this, quite a bit and they’ll tell you that. Like, the handouts, the money that comes so free and easy, all it does is go to, quite often, drugs and alcohol and other things and creates more social pro-, er social issues. As far as, with the royalty rates, and I think Lawrence talked about minorities and special interest groups, absolutely not. I felt that, many years, probably the first year I was in government, and some of these issues would come up and we would be talking about it. And in talking to a lot of my First Nations friends, they seem to be very understanding. They will say, well if we get say a portion of royalties, does that mean that we have to pay a portion of roads, highways, schools, hospitals that we use. They realize and I realized quite quickly one of the first meetings I had when I was in government was the office of the treaty commissioner. And when they are interpreting the treaty, the treaty says we are treaty people, like everybody, white, non-First Nations and First Nations alike. And those royalties are for everybody, we’re paying for the provincial debt, we’re paying for healthcare, we’re paying for hospitals, and schools and highways that everybody uses equally. So there’s no special interest group. I feel personally I’m very onside with our policy that they’re for all of us.

More ......
-Federation Of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Calls For Resignation Of Saskatchewan Party Candidate For Racist Comments

Tuesday, October 25, 2011 

Sask NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter Delivers Strong Showing In Televised Leader's Debate

Sask NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter delivered a strong, strong performance in the Leader's Debate tonight. Wall sounded like an opposition leader, having the challenge of defending the minimalist 'status quo' agenda that his party believes in.

Lingenfelter sounded and felt like a premier. Wall repeated rhetoric on the so called 'Boom' - something that simply is not being felt by the middle-class and the poor. The affluent are really 'booming' now and Wall had a hard time explaining how the 'boom' has effectively 'trickled down to average working families'. Good debate!


Stephen Harper's New Libyan Allies Start Mass Executions Of Opponents - Human Rights Watch

Stephen Harper sure knows how to pick great friends for Canada ... 'eh??

"We found 53 decomposing bodies, apparently Gaddafi supporters, at an abandoned hotel in Sirte," said Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch (HRW), who investigated the killings.

"Some had their hands bound behind their backs when they were shot," he added.

In a statement, the group said: "If the NTC fails to investigate this crime it will signal that those who fought against Gaddafi can do anything without fear of prosecution."

HRW's investigator found the bodies on Sunday at the Hotel Mahari in District 2 of Sirte, an "area of the city that was under the control of anti-Gaddafi fighters from Misurata before the killings took place."

"The bodies were clustered together, apparently where they had been killed, on the grass in the sea-view garden of the hotel," HRW said in a statement. "


Monday, October 24, 2011 

Federation Of Saskatchewan Indian Nations Calls For Resignation Of Saskatchewan Party Candidate For Racist Comments

Brad Wall continues to defend one of his candidates for racist remarks. It is typical of Mr. Wall to NEVER back down even when he is wrong. The suitability of a candidate for ANY party is compromised by racist remarks .... regardless of whether an apology was made or not. 

Greg Ottenbreit is NOT fit to be a Member of the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly because of the idiocy that came out of his mouth. Mr. Wall better figure that out quickly because now this says more about him than it does about his candidate in Yorkton!

"The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) is calling on Premier Brad Wall to remove Greg Ottenbreit as the Sask Party candidate in Yorkton for the November 7 provincial election.

FSIN vice-chief Greg Ottenbreit asked for the removal after Ottenbreit made a remark at an all-candidates forum in Yorkton last week.

On October 19, Ottenbreit responded to a question about revenue resource-sharing with First Nations when he said that his aboriginal friends told him handouts or free money can be used for alcohol or drugs.

“Comments such as these cause the public to form opinion and reinforce negative images of First Nation people,” said Watson.

“At their worst ignorance is confirmed and as a result First Nation people again must defend themselves against these kind of attacks.

“We call upon Brad Wall to pull Gary Ottenbreit’s candidacy from the provincial election,” said Yorkton tribal chief Gilbert Panipekeesick adding the removal of Ottenbreit will show First Nations people they are a valuable part of the province.

Ottenbreit has apologized for his remarks, saying they were poorly chosen and that drugs and alcohol are a challenge in every community, not just First Nations.

Wall has rejected calls for Ottenbreit’s resignation, saying he is a good man who understands that what he said was wrong."

Global Saskatoon


Harper's New Libyan Government Pals = "Meet The New Boss ... Same As The Old Boss" ... YIKES!

I hated Gaddafi. He should have been put on trial for crimes against humanity and crimes against his own people. Harper's new Libyan allies had something else in mind.

Daily Mail - NOTE: Extremely graphic content WARNING!

Sunday, October 23, 2011 

Comparing The Platform Costs Of The Main Parties In The Saskatchewan Election

Economist, Erin Weir lays out the fiscal impact of platforms put forward by the two main parties contesting the current Saskatchewan Election:

"Saskatchewan’s two major parties have unveiled their election platforms.

The NDP’s fiscal plan is to collect higher potash royalties and reinvest the proceeds in public priorities like healthcare, education and housing. Columnist Murray Mandryk notes the spectre of Erin Weir.

The NDP has expressed a willingness to discuss sharing resource revenues with First Nations. The Sask Party criticizes the NDP for not costing this possibility.

However, as Mike McCracken observes, successful resource-sharing arrangements with the Nisga’a in BC and First Nations in the Yukon took a decade to negotiate. There is no reason to believe that potential Saskatchewan negotiations would affect provincial finances during the four years covered by the NDP platform.

The Sask Party’s Seinfeld platform is a collection of miniscule announcements (and re-announcements) that can be funded out of projected budget surpluses. Greg Fingas points out the similarity to Harper’s federal campaign strategy.

While the Sask Party revels in the modesty of its campaign promises, guaranteeing rock-bottom royalties for potash companies is extremely costly. It would forgo at least $700 million annually by 2015-16.

As the following table shows, the main difference between the Sask Party and NDP platforms is not the dollar amount but its allocation among various priorities."
Erin Weir
Progressive Economics Forum

Saturday, October 22, 2011 

How Premier Brad Wall JINXED The Saskatchewan Roughriders

"A sports-related curse or jinx is a superstitious belief in the effective action of some power or evil, that is used to explain the failures or misfortunes of specific sports teams, players, or even cities. Teams, players, and cities often cite a "curse" for many negative things, such as their inability to win a sports championship, or unexpected injuries."
The Nature of Sports 'Jinxes'

Okay ... here's MY personal superstitious belief:

Everyone knows that you shouldn't mix politics & religion but most avid sports fans also know that you must always avoid mixing politics and sports. 

Too late now!

One of the strategies of the Saskatchewan Party was to try and co-opt the Saskatchewan Roughriders as their very own. Wall is a fan of the team, no doubt, but so are legions of New Democrats as well as the Greens and the last few Liberals that still exist in the province.

The Roughriders are a 'community owned team' - (sounds socialist!!). You would think that Brad Wall and his Sask Party would want to privatize them. If such a thing were ever proposed by Saskatchewan's angry Right, it would spell the end of the Sask Party in about a week.

So, back to the title of my post. For years the Saskatchewan Party have been playing political games with the Roughriders. A favorite slogan of Brad's was 'the Riders have never won a Grey Cup under an NDP government'. Trust me, the gods of football rolled their eyes at that early attempt by the Sask Party to claim ownership of the team.

It is true that the Saskatchewan Roughriders did win a Grey Cup a few days after Mr. Wall was elected in 2007. What he doesn't advertise is that the Riders have LOST two further Grey Cups under a Sask Party government ... (by a combined total of only 4 points in both 2009 and 2010) !

Going into this election, Brad Wall worked hard to get a playing Roughrider to stand for election as a Saskatchewan Party MLA. Enter Gene Makowsky. He is running against Regina Dewdney NDP MLA, Kevin Yates .... (who by the way once before defeated a Roughrider who was running for the Saskatchwan Party).

Go Kevin Go!

But here's the kicker ... the biggest thing that ticked off the Football gods and jinxed the team is the Sask Party sponsorship of the CKRM 620 Roughrider Pre-Game radio show.

I love the show but I hate hearing ads for Brad Wall every 5 minutes. This mixture of politics and sports is what has angered the dieties of the game of football and jinxed the team the most. It is why (in my humble opinion) the Saskatchewan Roughriders have fallen from Western Conference Champions for the last two years to the basement of the Western CFL Conference at 4 wins and 11 loses.

I blame Brad Wall 


The last time I spoke to Brad Wall was at the Allan Blakeney Memorial earlier this year. He reminded me that he reads my blog.

Friday, October 21, 2011 

Saskatchewan Party Candidate Forced To Apologize For Racist Comment Towards First Nations

"A Saskatchewan Party candidate is apologizing after suggesting First Nations people who get "handouts" sometimes spend it on drugs and alcohol.

Greg Ottenbreit, who is the party's Yorkton candidate, issued a written apology Friday for comments he made two days earlier at an all-candidates forum.

Ottenbreit said he made the improper remarks in response to a question about resource revenue-sharing with First Nations, something the NDP wants to hold talks about, but which the Saskatchewan Party opposes.

"I don't remember my exact words, but I said something like, 'What I have been told by some of my First Nations friends is that sometimes when there are handouts or the money comes free and easy, it can be used for alcohol and drugs,'" Ottenbreit said in a news release.

The exact wording of Ottenbreit's comments at the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce candidates’ forum wasn't immediately available.

"This was an inappropriate comment. I sincerely apologize for any pain my words have caused and ask forgiveness from anyone I have offended," Ottenbreit said.

There are several reserves around Yorkton, a city of about 15,000 people that's home to a First Nations-run casino and several other First Nations-run agencies.

"My words were poorly chosen. Drugs and alcohol are a challenge in every community and not specific to First Nations. This issue has nothing to do with revenue sharing," Ottenbreit said.

On Thursday, Sask. Party Leader Brad Wall criticized NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter for not being specific about how much revenue-sharing with First Nations would cost.

The Saskatchewan treasury takes in billions of dollars every year in oil, gas, potash revenues, money that goes toward hospitals, schools, highways and other expenses.

Wall and his campaign have suggested that based on what some First Nations leaders have said, a revenue-sharing deal could cost the province $1.6 billion over four years.

However, Lingenfelter has said there's no set number because there's no agreement in place — any revenue-sharing deal would have to be negotiated."

CBC Sask

-Transcript Of Racist Comments Made by Saskatchewan Party Candidate

Thursday, October 20, 2011 

.... But How Does Premier Brad Wall Deal With Getting Caught With False Advertising???

So in a nutshell, here's how Brad Wall rolls:

1) He accuses the NDP leader of being hypocritical for wanting to keep head office jos in Saskatchewan - in their TV ad they claim that Lingenfelter was responsible for moving Nexen head office staff to Calgary;

2) The CEO of Nexen says that the decision to move staff was not Lingenfelter's to make and that the Sask Party ad was inaccurate and disingenuous;

3) Brad Wall tries to cover his error (not with a retraction of the FALSE ad), but by rephrasing the accusation ... now they are saying that Lingenfelter was indisputably "involved" with the move of staff.

(your old pal Colin Thatcher would be proud of you Brad! :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011 

Brad Wall Caught With False Election Advertisment

This campaign, the Saskatchewan Party is putting forth a lot of 'attack ads' against New Democrat Leader, Dwain Lingenfelter. In their ususal enthusiasm to slander and slur, they have been caught with yet another falsehood:

"The New Democrats say the Saskatchewan Party is making false claims in a TV ad that touches on NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter's employment with a Calgary-based oil company.

And a retired executive with that company, Nexen, is backing the NDP up, saying the campaign ad is completely inaccurate.

The ad, which has been aired numerous times on Saskatchewan TV stations and has been posted to YouTube, essentially accuses Lingenfelter of serial hypocrisy on nuclear power, rent control and other issues.

"Dwain Lingenfelter says one thing but does another," the commercial says. The specific claim NDP officials are objecting to concerns Lingenfelter's role with Nexen as a vice-president of government relations at a time when the company moved an office from Regina to Calgary.

"He says he wants head office jobs in Saskatchewan but he moved his own head office and all those jobs to Calgary," the ad says.

However, Charlie Fischer, who was Nexen CEO at the time, said "that just is not true," adding the decision to move was not Lingenfelter's to make.

"He had nothing to do with that decision, so it's just not right," Fischer said.

Fischer described himself as a "fan" of Sask. Party Leader Brad Wall, but said he felt he needed to defend his former employee.

The Sask. Party, meanwhile, insists the ad is accurate. Kindersley candidate Bill Boyd says he was lobbied by Lingenfelter in 2001.

Boyd says Lingenfelter wanted the Wascana Energy Act dropped — a law which required his company to keep certain executive jobs in Saskatchewan.

Lingenfelter worked for Nexen as a vice-president of government relations when the company moved an office from Regina to Calgary.

"Once again the Sask Party focuses on negative campaigning instead of positive ideas for the future of our province," Lingenfelter said in a written statement."

As is usual, the Saskatchewan Party refuses to pull the false advertisement.


Supreme Court Of Canada Rules: 'Hyperlinking doesn't constitute defamation'

"The Supreme Court of Canada has erected a shield to protect those who post defamatory internet links to other sites.

The Court was unanimous in ruling that anyone whose site supplies hyperlinks that lead to another site has not published it for the purposes of libel and defamation law.

The decision effectively gives the benefit of the doubt to internet posters who may be unaware that a site they link to could contain defamatory material about another party."

The Globe & Mail

Monday, October 17, 2011 

"Free Markets" And Stock Exchanges Tumble In Fear Of Losing Some Of Their Corporate Welfare And 'Socialism For The Rich' Entitlements

TORONTO - "Resource stocks led the way to a sharp decline on the Toronto stock market Monday as commodity prices slipped after Germany warned that investors shouldn't get carried away on expectations for the upcoming European summit.

The S&P/TSX composite index gave back a big chunk of last week's strong advance, losing 158.7 points to 11,923.04 and the TSX Venture Exchange dropped 16.12 points to 1,541.49.

Finance ministers from the Group of 20 leading industrial and developing countries reiterated their belief during the weekend that Europe, in particular Germany and France, are thrashing out a comprehensive plan to stabilize the debt crisis.

And that led traders to hope that a program would be finalized at a European Union summit which concludes Sunday and then presented the following week at the G20 government leaders meeting.

But on Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s spokesman, Steffan Seibert, said the EU meeting is only an "important step" on a long road.

Seibert observed that Merkel was saying that renewed dreams of having everything solved and done with next month "will again not be fulfilled."

"I think everyone last week decided that the European crisis was over, that it was all going to get solved by the end of the month," said Kate Warne, Canadian markets specialist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.

"Nobody should be hugely surprised because the process in Europe seems to be to promise a lot and deliver a little and we've seen that for the last year and a half."

The Canadian dollar fell 1.12 cents US to 97.84 cents US as the U.S. dollar strengthened following Seibert's comments.

U.S. markets also tumbled following a solid gain last week, with the Dow Jones industrials tumbling 247.49 points to 11,397. The Nasdaq composite index lost 52.93 points to 2,614.92 and the S&P 500 index was down 23.72 points at 1,200.86."


A Slow Burn Underneath Saskatchewan's Ruling Party - By Brian Topp , September 2010

The following article was written a year ago by Brian Topp ... prior to his election as President of the New Democratic Party of Canada and prior to the death of Jack Layton and Mr. Topp's subsequent run for Leader of the NDP. This great article sheds light on a major problem that smolders beneath Brad Wall's Saskatchewan Party:

A slow burn underneath Saskatchewan's ruling party
Brian Topp
Posted on Saturday, September 18, 2010
Globe & Mail

"To my good fortune, I got to go back to Regina for a few days last weekend to attend some interesting meetings at the request of New Democratic Party Leader Jack Layton.

Mr. Layton demonstrated some important truths about the value of deliberative democracy at those sessions. At the end of the day, adult political debate produces the best results, even if some of our country's columnists find them difficult to endure and prefer the discipline of phony "majority government". The alternative they prefer, on offer from both Michael Ignatieff and Stephen Harper, is about infantilizing our Members of Parliament and our democracy. This commentator put things very well.

Meanwhile, visiting the province gave me an opportunity to catch up with some friends and with the always-fascinating world of Saskatchewan provincial politics. The elm trees lining the city's downtown residential neighbourhoods are at their most beautiful this time of year. The marble Legislature gleams. And Conservatives are fighting each other over the net proceeds of a generation of bagmen.

What's with that?

As is explained here, in 1995 Saskatchewan's Progressive Conservative Party set up a trust fund. They reportedly tucked about $3-million into that fund, left over from many years of fundraising by their party among Albertan oil companies, on Bay Street, and among various other (shall we say) stakeholders of the former government of premier Grant Devine.

In 1995 the Progressive Conservatives were four years out of office. They rarely polled in the double digits. They were about to be clobbered again in another election. And so they decided they needed to bring some better order to their sole remaining asset -- that big pile of cash, raised from persons unknown.

In 1997, some Liberal MLAs left their party and formed a coalition with the Progressive Conservative rump in the Saskatchewan Legislature. This new entity, the "Saskatchewan Party," allowed the province's conservatives to slowly turn the page on their lamentable record in office. After a decade's work, they finally took power under Premier (and former Devine political aide) Brad Wall in 2007.

As for the province's Progressive Conservative Party, it took a two-election hiatus.

But then, it turned out, the Saskatchewan PCs had some life left in them. Progressive Conservatives were proud of their long record. As is recounted here, they first elected an MLA in 1887, and played a central role in Saskatchewan politics ever since. They were the party of John Diefenbaker. They didn't see themselves in the soft-focus "Saskatchewan Party" brand. They didn't want to disappear. And so they elected a new leader (former PC MLA Rick Swenson, a formidable politician), and ran some candidates in the 2007 election.

And they asked for their money back.

However, key figures from the "Saskatchewan Party" control the $3-million fund. They declined to make the fund available for its purpose, which (as spelled out in its charter) is to "support the operations of the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan."

So as you'd expect, the whole matter has ended up in court.

Premier Wall's Saskatchewan Party has advanced numerous ingenious legal arguments to avoid handing these funds over to their former co-religionists, but have so far fared poorly. Most recently, on July 22, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal ruled against the Saskatchewan Party, preventing the whole matter from being thrown out.

It's Saskatchewan politics at its best. And it is a gift that gives in a number of ways.

The Saskatchewan Progressive Conservative Party may turn out to have the better legal arguments, in which case a formidably-financed new political player may eventually resurface on the Wall government's right flank. Many Conservatives would celebrate this return of their party, and the ability to vote for an option untainted by Liberals.

Meanwhile, the increasingly successful New Democratic opposition, led by former deputy premier Dwain Lingenfelter, have been handed a useful prop to demonstrate the direct link between Mr. Wall's government and Mr. Devine's former administration and record.

Mr. Wall seems to have a problem with money. His government made a $2-billion mistake estimating the province's revenues this year, patched over through a set of desperate expedients. He must be tempted to take the $3-million in that fund and burn it in the parking lot in front of the Legislature -- not unlike what he has done to the provincial finances. Instead, the fund is doing a slow burn inside the "Saskatchewan Party's" carefully-reconstructed brand."

Saturday, October 15, 2011 

Brad Wall Says 'Overestimation' Of Revenues Was His Biggest Mistake - Yet He Continues To Drag Flawed Estimates Into The Election Debate!

"Asked what was has been the most regrettable mistake of his first term, Wall quickly responded “that we didn’t build more caution in ’09 budget” that overestimated potash revenues by a massive $2 billion. He admits the massive economic boom in 2008 when the provincial government raked in an unexpected extra billion dollars in oil land lease sales alone likely contributed to the discarding of caution.
“But you know what? ’09 was likely the best thing that happened to us in this term,” Wall said, adding that it hopefully made both his government and party more cautious -"

Premier Brad Wall
Regina Leader-Post

October, 14 2011

"Saskatchewan Party leader Brad Wall, at a pancake breakfast Saturday in Regina, claimed the NDP's promise of resource revenue sharing with aboriginal groups would cost the provincial treasury $1.6 billion. Wall noted a return to an NDP government on Nov. 7 would mean a $900-million deficit over the next four years, even without the revenue-sharing promise. [...} The (New Democratic) party also pointed out that the Saskatchewan Party miscalculated the NDP's promise for additional health care clinics, by applying the full cost in each year of the promised four year phase-in of the plan. The NDP also say their opponent double-counted a $25 million promise for University of Regina student housing."
CBC Saskatchewan

"Even Friday's announcement of $320.8 million for a housing strategy - while a tad pricey when added to all the other NDP promises - wasn't all that bad. In a nice north Regina suburban home complete with a friendly mom and a bug's-ear-cute little girl, Lingenfelter introduced his "next-generation rent-control plan" that will include "fair-rent" legislation, $216 million to help community-based organizations build 2,500 affordable rental units and PST rebates to private developers building new homes valued under $280,000. It's not earth-shattering, but it beats Premier Brad Wall's policy of leaving it up to the landlords to sort the problem out with their renters.

Similarly, the NDP healthcare platform unveiled Wednesday was less terrifying than the Sask. Party tried to make it out to be. Again, it's a little pricey when you add up all the $10and $20-million items. But there are some good, affordable ideas here - including the much-ballyhooed 30 new primary clinics that the NDP is now pricing at $850,000 each year apiece. What Lingenfelter and the NDP are really talking about here is once-or twice-a-week walk-in clinics.

Regina Leader-Post
October 15, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011 

New Democrats Want To Engage In Some Resource Revenue Sharing With Saskatchewan's Aboriginal People - But The Saskatchewan Party .... not so much ....

During his first term in power, Brad Wall had NO problem implementing the concept of 'revenue sharing' with Saskatchewan's municipal governments. However, when it comes to working with First Nations he reacts extremely negatively!

Brad Wall is more than content to have mega-corporations gouge the people of Saskatchewan when it comes to ongoing resource royalty structures. As an example, PotatshCorp continues to rip Billions in windfall profits from the province.

New Democrats will ensure that all the people of this province get a fair return for our non-renewable resources.

RED PHEASANT FIRST NATION – Provincial governments need to do a better job connecting with First Nations and Métis people by dealing directly with the issues that matter including training, education, roads and resource revenue sharing, according to NDP Leader Dwain Lingenfelter.

Speaking on the Red Pheasant First Nation, Lingenfelter announced a commitment to a better relationship with First Nations and Métis people and to negotiations on a resource revenue sharing arrangement.

“We recognize that the negotiations will be complex, but just as the NDP worked with First Nations governments to forge a new and groundbreaking Treaty Land Entitlement Agreement, we will seek a new relationship in revenue sharing upon forming an NDP government,” said Lingenfelter.

Lingenfelter also pledged $2.5 million annually toward the goal of increasing the aboriginal high school graduation rate by 50 per cent in four years and to expanding post-secondary and other training opportunities in First Nations, Métis and remote communities.

“We will build on the successful partnerships we have had with the Gabriel Dumont Institute and the Saskatchewan Indian Institute of Technologies to provide training to the people who need it in the locations where they need it,” Lingenfelter said. “And people will actually be able to drive to those locations because the NDP will fix the roads.”

Lingenfelter said that additional funding specifically targeted to roads to First Nations and remote communities is part of the government’s platform and overall commitment to highways and transportation.

The NDP has the largest number of aboriginal candidates running for a provincial party in the province’s history with 11 First Nations or Métis candidates.

“I am proud of the number of top-notch aboriginal candidates that have won our party’s nomination in their constituency and joined our team,” Lingenfelter said. “We encourage First Nations and Métis people to vote for the party that is committed to dealing with the issues that matter to them.”

Thursday, October 13, 2011 

'My Blackberry Is Not Working And I'm Very Disappointed'

The One Ronnie - BBC


Brad Wall Supports 'Single-Desk' Marketing Of Saskatchewan Potash BUT NOT For Wheat!

The following post was originally published in Next Year Country:

"Can someone explain why Premier Brad Wall, now standing for re-election in Saskatchewan, was passionate about his support for single desk selling of potash yet he can hardly lift a finger to support the majority of farmers who just voted for single desk selling of their wheat and barley?

At least Alberta is a little closer to deep water and has oil and the cattle feeding sector, but what does Saskatchewan have? A couple of potash mines that look pretty small by most standards, and a huge grain farming sector. Saskatchewan produces better than 60% of the wheat and barley the CWB markets each year.

For every dollar a farmer earns, he puts about eight dollars into circulation in the economy. Ending the CWB is estimated to remove between 500 million to one and a half billion dollars from the western economy, and most of that will come out of Saskatchewan.

If this does not become an election issue, more than just the premier have their heads in the sand.

Posted by Next Year Country


Mulcair Is IN The Leadership Race!

"Thomas Mulcair officially announced his candidacy for NDP leader Thursday, bringing the number of declared candidates to six and a new dynamic to the race."


When The Sask Party Stumbles - The Regina Leader-Post Helps Them To Their Feet And Wipes Their Nose

While reading Murray Mandryk's little piece on Brad Wall the other day, I realized that the writer's goal was to ensure that I got all misty eyed over the fact that Premier Brad Wall is a really swell guy. #FAIL!

I've met Mr. Wall and I've spoken to Mr. Wall. He seems like a nice enough fellow at a personal level. I am positive that if he were my next door neighbor, I could leave the keys to my house with him while I did a weekend away from home. That doesn't change the fact that I will still never vote for him because his politics are wrong.

But back to how the Regina Leader-Post has adopted an editorial policy that will not allow anything negative to be said about Mr. Wall and his Saskatchewan Party.

As we go into this election, the Sask Party has the advantage of using their role as 'government' to draw upon some of the resources of the public service. Case in point - When the New Democrats unveiled their plan for a number of rural primary healthcare clinics, the Sask Party had the option of asking Saskatchewan Health to quickly bring forward a rough estimate on the cost of the proposal. However, the Sask Party central campaign dreamed up a figure that (as it turns out) was 1000 times the real amount.

So how does the Regina Leader-Post deal with this blatant political idiocy by the Saskatchewan Party? Well .... they blame the NDP for not helping the Sask Party do their job. Yup! The Leader Post helped the Sask Party back up to their feet, dusted them off, took out a hanky and helped them blow their nose.

Nice work Regina LP! I cancelled my subscription years ago. Others should as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 

Saskatchewan Party Math VERSUS Reality - UPDATED!

(Image courtesy Saskatchewan Party Website - Click on image to enlarge)

Everyone in Saskatchewan knows that Premier Brad Wall honed his political skills when he worked for the disastrous Grant Devine administration as a Senior Ministerial Aide in the 1980's. It shows!

The Saskatchewan Party has started the campaign off with a strategy of inflating the cost of all promises and policies of the New Democrats in order to portray them as 'fiscally irresponsible'. Let's take a quick look at how the Sask Party is trying to grossly overestimate the cost of New Democratic policy.

In its faulty estimation of the cost of the NDP’s plan for 30 new primary healthcare clinics, the Sask Party multiplied the annual cost of the Saskatoon Community Clinic’s ($7-million provincial cost by 30), and then multiplied that total by four (to cover 4 years of the next term). They arrived at the bizarre figure of $840 Million and then took the liberty of rounding it up a further $60 Million to a grand total estimate of $900,000,000 (see in the graphic above).

Based on Saskatchewan Health’s 2010-11 Annual Report, the NDP estimates that the average operating cost of a primary healthcare clinic will be $850,000 annually. Therefore, 30 additional clinics by the fourth year of an NDP government will cost $25.5 million in 2015-16 not the outlandish amount that Wall's staffers have stated.

The Sask Party knows a primary healthcare clinic is not the same thing as a community clinic. For example, the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region’s 2010-11 annual report indicates a cost of $4 million to operate all of the primary healthcare clinics in that region.

That investment in the health of Saskatchewan families is practical and worthwhile.

CBC TV News is now reporting
that Sask Party Health Minister Don McMorris has just now acknowledged that the $900 Million figure his party has been using is "grossly in error!" .... ya think?!


Harper Will Spend $28 Million On 'War Of 1812'

Canadians have spend $18 BILLION on the War in Afghanistan. I still have a hard time trying to equate ANY value for this gross waste of tax dollars and human life. But leaving that aside, you really have to wonder what the wisdom is of spending $28 MILLION on a war that was fought 200 years ago.

Harper is NO fiscal Conservative. I have repeated that truism over and over on this blogsite. Harper and Conservatives simply love spending public funds. They always have.

$28,000,000 for the War of 1812 is bloody ridiculous. Torment every Conservative you know with this fact

-The Globe & Mail

Tuesday, October 11, 2011 

Saskatchewan Election Blog

You can follow highlights of the Saskatchewan Provincial Election at Buckdog's Sask Election Blog.

Monday, October 10, 2011 

Saskatchewan Election Called For November 7th

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, timed his official election call for 6:00 pm today, just moments after the Saskatchewan Roughriders finished their match against the Edmonton Eskimos. The problem for Wall was that instead of a joyous Rider victory to set the tone for his speech, the 'Roughies' choked (again) losing 17 - 1 to their Alberta rivals.

The main theme of this election will be Wall's sales pitch that 'the province is booming' versus common wisdom which asks ... "exactly what 'Boom' are you referring to?"

Saskatchewan voters go to the polls on November 7th.

-CBC Saskatchewan

-Buckdog's Saskatchewan Election Blog

-Premier Brad Wall Insists Saskatchewan Is BOOMING! But StatsCan Says Something Different

-Sask Premier Brad Wall Uses Heavy Hand Of Government To Keep Wages Low For Working People In Order To Maximise Profits For Big Business

-What 'Boom' Are You Referring To Premier Wall??

Thursday, October 06, 2011 

For 53 Years Successive Liberal And Conservative Federal Governments Have Allowed Radioactive Leakage From Chalk River Reactor Into The Ottawa River

John Diefenbaker - Lester Pearson - Pierre Trudeau - Joe Clarke - John Turner - Brian Mulroney - Kim Campbell - Jean Chretien - Paul Martin - Stephen Harper: All of these Conservative and Liberal Prime Ministers have turned a blind eye to a 53 year continuous leak of radiation into the Ottawa River. How many people have died from cancer as a result of this criminal negligence over the last 53 years?

"OTTAWA — The aging NRU research reactor at Chalk River has been leaking low-level radioactive water into the Ottawa River for about 50 years, a federal licensing tribunal has heard.

Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. (AECL), owner-operator of the 53-year-old reactor, has been unable to halt tritium-laced water seeping from the reactor’s control rod bays and is instead diluting the concentration of tritium with fresh water before it somehow leaks into the nearby Ottawa River, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) tribunal was told.

The five-member CNSC panel is deliberating on an AECL application to renew the operating licence of the NRU and surrounding Chalk River Laboratories (CRL) to 2016. AECL officials have assured the panel that NRU can run for at least another five years without compromising safety. One of its chief missions is producing medical isotopes. The current operating licence expires Oct. 31.

Tritium is a low-energy, radioactive form of hydrogen generated in the heavy-water used to moderate nuclear fission.

The tribunal seemed surprised to learn of the leak and that it has been depositing small amounts of tritium into the Ottawa River since the 1960s."

Ottawa Citizen

Tuesday, October 04, 2011 

Manitoba New Democrats WIN Fourth Consecutive Majority Government !

Elections Manitoba -Seat Total:
New Democrats 37
Conservatives 19
Liberal 1
Green 0

"Manitoba New Democrats have won their fourth-straight majority government."
Globe & Mail

Monday, October 03, 2011 

Canada’s A Fit Place For Art, Artists And The CBC: Brian Topp

"Why would Mr. Harper want to end this seemingly-profitable relationship, through a lethal attack on the CBC's funding? The Conservatives lost their chance at a majority in 2006 over cuts to the arts (and have remained almost Liberal-like in their irrelevance in Quebec ever since).

I think the answer is a philosophic one. The Conservatives just plain disdain Canada's arts and its culture. They are, it would seem, therefore spoiling to return to the file and to pick up where they left off in 2006"

Brian Topp
Globe & Mail

Editorial cartoon by Brian Gable - The Globe and Mail

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