October 22, 2008

Kevin Yates

It appears that the NDP leadership is quickly turning into a one-person race. While this isn't entirely true, Mandryk wants you to believe that Lingenfelter is the only choice to beat Brad Wall, and that his only obstacle is an unforgiving membership.

And so enters Kevin Yates. Kevin's always been kind of a buffoon: he's loud, self-important, and tends to exaggerate. A lot. But he's well-liked in his constituency, and his head's usually in the right place, so he's been tolerable. Now we hear Mr. Yates piping up about his involvement in Link's campaign: he talks about what Link's requirements were before he'd come back to the province, speculates on how many caucus members support Lingenfelter's leadership bid, and suggests that other potential candidates will bow out now that a concensus is forming.

But the best bit in this article is how Kevin comes clean about an attempted coup he organized in 2006, to try and oust Calvert as leader. And how 14 members of caucus supported a leadership change, but in the end, he was the only one with the balls to demand it. And how unrepentant he is about it all.

Kevin Yates: have you lost your tiny little mind? Session starts today, you ass, and nothing says "effective opposition" like a splintered caucus. In case you were too dumb to realize this, Link hasn't been elected and you still have to work with Calvert. This wasn't an act of principle, Kevin -- it was mutiny. In one act you've shown everyone that you're not only a liar, but you can't be trusted. If it were me I'd kick you out of caucus immediately and make you sit as an independent.

And if I were Link, I'd distance myself from your sorry ass as soon as possible.

September 27, 2008

Return of the Blog

Hi folks. Please forgive the hiatus. This poor blog has grown as cold as the attitude of the government toward its people.

I've been pursuing other projects for the last little while, but it's time to get things back into gear. There's just shy of three weeks left in the federal election, and that's more than enough time to do some damage.

Naomi Klein was in Regina on Tuesday, and her talk was peppered with cries for the progressives to take this country back. One of the websites she mentioned was VotePair.ca, which pairs voters in two ridings in the hopes of making more votes count. Until we get a form of proportional representation federally, voters will be forced to jump through hoops like this.

FWIW, the NDP has lead the charge in the House of Commons for electoral reform. I know the Greens have been yapping about this for some time, but until they actually end up with some seats, the NDP remains your best hope for progressive policies in Canada.

Don't let them tell you it can't be done.

July 17, 2008

Raw Adoration

If this picture looks like anything other than Brad's fawning idolization of Stephen Harper, I'll eat every scrap of the equalization court challenge Wall so kindly tore up.

He also looks just about the right size in the picture to fit in Harper's pocket. Which is good, because he seems to have already made himself a home there.

July 16, 2008

How Soon We Forget

Let's jump in the Way-Back Machine to a glorious time when the SP, then in opposition, gave a fuck about the province:
First, I want to state in the strongest terms the Saskatchewan Party, Saskatchewan’s Official Opposition, stands in full support and agreement with the Premier and the government of Saskatchewan [emphasis mine] on the solution:

The federal government should immediately agree to a Saskatchewan Energy Accord that allows Saskatchewan to retain 100% of our non-renewable resource revenues
beginning in the 2005-06 fiscal year and continuing through 2012.
(Equalization Debate Speaking Notes for Brad Wall, March 15/05)
While we're back in 2005, let's visit Stephen Harper of the federal Conservatives, then in Opposition, to see what he had to say:

The Prime Minister [Paul Martin] is also failing Saskatchewan on equalization. The government promised to reform the equalization program in 2004 for Saskatchewan. The government now says it will not get to that until at least 2006, costing Saskatchewan over $750 million in lost revenue.

When will the Prime Minister overrule his finance minister and make the changes necessary, so Saskatchewan does not lose this money?
(Hansard, November 16, 2005)

But now we see what the trappings of power do to people. When the Conservatives took power, they gave Saskatchewan $225 million -- less than a third of what Harper himself is on record saying Saskatchewan deserved from the Liberals. But Harper definitely should not be challenged on this: he was pissed off by the NDP and their stance that the Conservatives should honour their 2006 election promise to Saskatchewan, and when the SP took power, Wall said Harper "made it clear" in a January meeting that the NDP's lawsuit should be dropped (Prince George Citizen, March 17/08).

Let us now return to the dismal present, when we find Mr. Harper's lapdog has told Saskatchewan's people they may as well piss up a rope as expect that money.
At stake is about $800 million in federal transfers annually, according to provincial calculations.

But [Justice Minister Don] Morgan said Saskatchewan is on an economic roll and does not want to go "cap in hand" to Ottawa looking for a handout.

The federal government is also doing its share for Saskatchewan, said Morgan, pointing to $240 million allotted in the budget to help the province build a carbon-capture system for coal plants.

"We're getting very large amounts of money from the federal government and we don't want a litigation to be an impediment," said Morgan.

"If we get the money, that's all my concern is. The label that's on it to me doesn't make a lot of difference. As a province we want to maximize the amount of money that's coming here — it's coming, let's just take it."
(CBC, July 10/08)
And this here seems to be the crux of it all. Thanks to climbing resource prices, we are rolling in money right now. So how can we go to Ottawa and quibble about a few paltry million? It'd be different if we didn't have $2 billion sitting in the bank right now, and if Ottawa weren't kicking us some scraps of the equalization money we're owed. If we don't get money from the feds, can't we just turn on the money tap?

No, we can't. We can't just assume money is going to magically appear. What matters is stewardship.

This entire time, Wall has stuck very closely to the line of turning Saskatchewan's current boom into a lasting prosperity. But with all the money coming in, Wall and his buddies are being lazy. They've forgotten -- or, more likely, never knew -- that they need to be good stewards of the province's income as well as the expenses. They can't just continue to pretend a debt of $800 million doesn't exist year after year and expect things to magically work themselves out.

Saskatchewan's money should be staying in Saskatchewan, not going to Ontario so the Conservatives can secure more votes. We gave you a majority government, Mr. Wall. The least you can do in return is fairly steward this prosperity you seem so enamoured with.

July 15, 2008

Mandryk Sees the Light

Murray -- God bless him -- is less than kind in his assessment of Wall's decision to drop the equalization challenge:

Simply put, Wall and his government have allowed themselves to be bullied by Harper. The big brother has taken the little brother's allowance, threatening him bodily harm if he dares tell mom.

And Wall's determination to keep big brother happy instead of looking out for Saskatchewan people's interests is deplorable on several counts.

First, it simply rewards bad behaviour. It might not be the Saskatchewan Party's role to enforce political ethics, but make no mistake that Wall is not only allowing the federal Conservatives to get away with a broken promise. Far worse, the Saskatchewan Party is not only shilling for its federal big brother, but also engaging in a little deceit of its own.
(Leader-Post, July 12/08)

Murray goes on to say that we're owed $3 billion since the Conservatives originally made this promise in 2004, and that we'd fools if we believe anything other than Saskatchewan's equalization money -- promised to us by the feds -- is going to flow into Ontario and Quebec so the Conservatives can shore up more seats in the next election.

This is our payment for electing 13 Conservative MPs: use our money to buy votes where it matters.

How does this differ from the Liberals and their "Green Shift"? Or, right: it doesn't. Saskatchewan has lots of money but few votes, so now both the Liberals and the Conservatives are going to suck one away from us and put it where they can get the other. We've been sold out by two parties, neither of whom cares how many seats they get from this backwater landfill, so long as they get our money.

This is sickening and deplorable -- politics at its worst. My province deserves better than this.