Saskatchewan - Commentaries
Has anyone been fired yet
June 29, 2006The things politicians get away with can make your head spin. Canadians have witnessed countless scandals over the years and rarely see a politician actually take fall.
One of the worst examples of this phenomenon is Spudco. The government lied to the people about the nature of the deal with a private partner by portraying it as a 50/50 partnership with a private business, when in fact it was 100 per cent tax dollars. After the government lost a vicious court battle taxpayers were out nearly $40 million.
Are you really getting your money's worth
June 15, 2006The day Saskatchewan taxpayers stop working for the government and start working for themselves falls on June 26, according to the Fraser Institute - an economic think tank. That means Saskatchewan taxpayers will work the equivalent of 177 days each year to feed the three levels of government.
The only province with a greater tax load than Saskatchewan is Quebec - and they come just a day behind this province.
A taxpayer three-pack
May 31, 2006Raise the topic of equalization in a room full of people and you're likely greeted with a chorus of yawns and bewildered looks. Experts say there are maybe a dozen people in Canada who fully understand the equalization program.
The purpose of the program is to transfer tax dollars to less well-off provinces so they can provide roughly equivalent services like health, education and highways. The problem comes when trying to decide which provinces are "have" and which are "have not."
Stephen Harper: Keep your word
May 18, 2006Every time you put $50 worth of gas into your vehicle, $15 goes to one level of government or another - that's a 30 per cent tax rate on fuel. While the price of gasoline has soared over the years, putting a vice grip on drivers' wallets, the government is rolling in surplus cash.
The price of gasoline consists of the cost of crude oil, the refining margin, the marketing margin and the taxes. At 30 per cent, taxes make up the second largest chunk of the price next to the price of the crude oil to make the gas.
Why business subsidies are a bad idea
May 04, 2006When the Saskatchewan government announced a $1.5 million subsidy to the bankrupt World Wide Pork in Moose Jaw, the news was received with open arms in many circles.
The employee union was happy because it gave them hope that 200 workers might continue to work in Moose Jaw at jobs they knew and liked. The government was happy because the deal essentially threw a lifeline to one of the biggest private employers in Moose Jaw. The Opposition Saskatchewan Party applauded the move saying it helped maintain jobs in the much-loved agri-food business.
Population woes: Who's to blame
March 28, 2006The latest news that Saskatchewan lost nearly 4,000 people since the beginning of last year caused many people to sit up and pay attention. Population numbers have declined to levels not seen since 1982.
While our population declines, our politicians spend time inventing excuses rather than changing government policies. At the very least, the latest statistics should provide cause for some deep government introspection.
Mr. Speaker: My question is to the Premier
March 12, 2006With the spring legislative session underway there's a lot of hot air blowing around the provincial capital. As has been the case for more than a century, there will be overblown rhetoric, deceptive and ambiguous answers from politicians and a healthy dose political treachery.
We have a win - but what's next
March 05, 2006No, you aren't hallucinating -- the Saskatchewan government is indeed providing desperately-needed school tax relief for agricultural producers. And while this announcement has taken far too long, progress is welcome.
For decades, rate payers made a compelling case that school taxes on property are too high and inherently unfair. For this government, it was surprisingly difficult to acknowledge this injustice and act on it.
Do budgets matter anymore
February 21, 2006It's clear from the third quarter update of the province's finances that government budgets are increasingly irrelevant in Saskatchewan. 2005-06 is shaping up to be a banner year for the Saskatchewan government. Turns out Premier Calvert and company are collecting tax dollars at a record pace. Revenues are a billion dollars higher than forecasted in their budget. What gives