Saskatchewan - Commentaries
Winds of Change Blow Through Saskatchewan
November 07, 2007After 16 years of NDP rule, Saskatchewan voters decided it was finally time for change. The Saskatchewan Party, created in 1997 by Progressive Conservatives and Liberal MLAs who left their respective parties, received its first ever mandate, winning 37 seats over the NDP's 21. And, if leader Brad Wall holds true to his platform, tax relief and government reform is on its way.
Breathing Life into Democratic Accountability
October 28, 2007Lost amid the flurry of spending promises in this campaign are some positive commitments to make government more democratic and accountable. Many of these changes have already taken place around the country, and Saskatchewan may soon be catching up.
The government's raking it in - are you
August 02, 2007The provincial government's first quarter results are in and things are looking pretty rosy these days. An unbudgeted windfall of equalization money from Ottawa and increased oil and gas money results in a gusher of cash for government, but relief for weary taxpayers is but a trickle.
As usual, the latest update contains a boat load of spin.
Forget rent controls and subsidies - get rid of school taxes
July 19, 2007You can't go anywhere these days without hearing about real estate prices. It seems everyone is talking about how much their house is worth, which neighbour sold and for how much, and asking whether the real estate boom can last.
It's a refreshing change, actually. For years, growth in Saskatchewan property values has lagged behind most other provinces - reflecting a flat economy and mass out-migration. It's like Saskatchewan has been missing out on the party all these years, and homeowners finally got their invitation.
Ethanol needs a closer look
June 26, 2007Part I Part II
Biofuels are all the rage these days. It seems hardly a day goes by without a government announcement or newspaper headline proclaiming another victory for the industry.
We're bombarded with the message that biofuels are the answer to so many of life's problems. Want to stop "global warming" in its tracks Think biofuels. Want to revive the farm economy Think biofuels.
Cutting funding to government agency was the right thing to do
June 06, 2007There's nothing more frustrating than when otherwise rational people make decisions based on rhetoric rather than hard facts.
Such a situation recently arose when the Conservative government in Ottawa attempted to trim some budget fat last September. One of their cuts included funding to the Status of Women Canada (SWC). According to a government web site, SWC "promotes gender equality, and the full participation of women in the economic, social, cultural and political life of the country."
Are school closures the only answer
May 23, 2007As farms get larger and farmers become fewer, it's no surprise rural communities are struggling to deal with the realities of dwindling populations. To compound the problem, newly-amalgamated school boards see closing rural schools as their only realistic way to deal with declining enrolments.
But is closing a bunch of schools really the only option
New front line in the tax battle: Municipalities
May 09, 2007It hasn't always been that Canadians were forced to hand over half their income to three, sometimes four levels of government. The state's encroachment into our lives and wallets was incremental.
Since Canada's first income tax was implemented in 1917 as a temporary measure to pay for the Great War, taxpayers have generally been in retreat on the tax front. During the 1960s and '70s ever-expanding government influence on our lives carried a hefty price tag which brought on massive budget deficits and tax increases at both the federal and provincial level.