Saskatchewan - Commentaries
Sask: Blinded by the Light
December 28, 2008
How many dollars does it take to screw-in a light bulb? According to documents obtained by the Canadian Taxpayers Federation through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, since 2006, SaskPower has spent $2.3-million on campaigns to promote the use of compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs).
The crown has spent $893,000 to advertise the energy-conserving CFLs in various ad campaigns. In addition, $1.44-million went to Project Porchlight, a non-profit organization that distributes CFLs.
Sask: Right Move, Wrong Message
December 14, 2008
Whenever the government announces something on a Friday, it’s almost guaranteed to be bad news. On December 12, Christine Tell tried that strategy with hopes everyone would check out for the weekend instead of hearing her message.
Commentary -- Saskatchewan needs a savings plan
December 08, 2008
Oil prices are in a freefall, to the delight of motorists and the consternation of officials in Saskatchewan Finance. Minister Gantefoer wants to put more money into school funding and municipal revenue sharing. Yet relying on the topsy-turvey world of oil prices and the revenues that follow is the Fool's Gold of government finance.
Sask: Gantefoer, Flaherty must say no
November 16, 2008
Finance Ministers Rod Gantefoer and Jim Flaherty should recall the catch phrase "Just say no." It was taken to heart in the early 90’s when many governments said no to never-ending deficits. Saskatchewan’s NDP took dramatic measures to get the province back in the black, including hospital closures. In 1998, Paul Martin delivered Ottawa’s first balanced budget in 28 years, largely by curtailing spending. Since then, deficit budgets have been taboo.
No jewels in the crown
October 30, 2008
After years of failed investments across Canada and around the world, Saskatchewan's Crowns are finally pulling out. The province's new "Saskatchewan First" policy for the crowns means SaskTel, SaskPower, SaskEnergy, and SGI will focus on opportunities in their home province. But even though the era of boondoggles abroad has ended, the problems posed by existing Crowns remain, and, in some ways, may even get worse.
Senate Reform Deserves Pursuit
October 22, 2008
Few would argue with a statement in the Conservative party's recent election platform: "the current Senate must be either reformed or abolished. An unelected Senate should not be able to block the will of the elected House in the 21st century."
The Urban Reserve Advantage
October 15, 2008
The first business is set to open on Regina's first urban reserve. Last March, eleven vacant lots at 1101 Angus Street in North Central Regina (coined by MacLean's as "Canada's Worst Neighbourhood") became the reserve land of Piapot First Nation. But what is obviously good news for Piapot is bad news for non-Aboriginal businesses, and, to a lesser extent, residents in the area.
Right to Know Falls Short
September 25, 2008
Politicians aren't fans of open government. In opposition perhaps, but not after taking the reigns. Stephen Harper famously ran on his accountability platform, but once in office exempted promised reforms to access to information laws. Similar tales can be told in many provinces. Even where good laws exist, governments can still erode transparency through generous interpretation of exemption clauses, moving slowly on requests, charging exorbitant fees, cutting funding to information offices, or by insisting a document doesn't exist.
News & Notes: Surprises at Sunrise
September 21, 2008
The village of Invermay declared a one-time civic holiday on August 22 in celebration of its 100th anniversary. However, this meant an unanticipated problem for the Sunrise Health Region. Under its collective bargaining agreement, all 42 employees of the Invermay Health Centre region must be paid as if it were a statutory holiday. The additional cost is estimated at $8,000.
Bovine Belching Latest Tax Sinkhole
September 09, 2008
What started with a strange tip ended up in 2000 pages of documents. The rumour Researchers at a federal facility near Swift Current were putting gas masks on cows to monitor their greenhouse gas emissions. Freedom of Information Requests proved that not only was this true, but that many such studies have and are being conducted-mostly paid for by taxpayers.