Management of Public Finances

In 2009, Saskatchewan’s total debt was $7.7 BILLION.
By 2014, government documents show that debt will be $11.9 BILLION.
In five short years, that is a 55% increase.
The following is an excerpt from a column in the Leader-Post on Nov 26/10:
“Public debt in Saskatchewan has increased by $448 million in the
first half of the 2010-11 budget, and there’s a big reason why we should
be wary when we begin to see numbers of this magnitude:
During the 10-year reign of the Progressive Conservative government
in the 1980s, total public debt in Saskatchewan increased to $13 billion
from $3 billion — a billion dollars a year.
… this Sask. Party government isn’t taking a hard enough look at
the long-term consequences of its extra spending. And that extra
spending — according to the government’s own numbers — will increase
debt by $4.2 billion in the next four years.
Yep, you read that right, folks. That’s a familiar extra billion dollars of debt each year.”

We come first

By Eldon Sweet, The StarPhoenix November 3, 2011

Checking the news on my smartphone, I see that PotashCorp had another record profit of $826 million in the last quarter. I also see Dwain Lingenfelter is visiting a soup kitchen in Moose Jaw.

What’s wrong with this picture? The recipients of the goodwill of the soup kitchen are Saskatchewan citizens, but the recipients of the record profits from Saskatchewan’s potash are not.

We are giving away our potash to corporations that just want to turn a fast buck and make billions in our province. When the potash is gone, so will they. We have to get what we can, while we can.

I feel if PCS didn’t make contributions to political parties and the users of the soup kitchen did, Brad Wall would do what’s best for the soup recipients. We need to start looking after our own and taking care of “us,” the people of Saskatchewan, not the corporations of Wall Street.

Eldon Sweet

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Read it as a PDF: We come first

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Green skeptics simply tilting at windmills

By Bronwyn Eyre, Special to The StarPhoenix October 29, 2011

NIMBY-ism – as in not-in-my-backyard-ism – used to describe public opposition to a chemical plant, nuclear waste dump or highway expansion project.

Not anymore. Nowadays, the label is used almost exclusively to discredit those who dare question green policies.

Residents of Saskatoon’s Montgomery neighbourhood were recently accused of NIMBY-ism after they challenged plans to build an 80-metre tall wind turbine at the nearby landfill. (more…)

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Hospitals unopened

By Ray Heather, The StarPhoenix November 1, 2011

With the provincial election around the corner, the political ads and rhetoric have started.

Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party are saying they don’t want to go back to the deficit budgets of the

1980s. Yet Wall and some members of his party were at that time avid supporters of the Progressive Conservative Party and its policies that got Saskatchewan into such massive debt.

When the voters elected an NDP government, that party had to slash government spending, to avoid bankruptcy.

One of the results was the closure of 52 rural hospitals.

This move cost the NDP a lot of support in rural Saskatchewan and led in part to the rise of the Saskatchewan Party’s support in rural areas.

Now Wall and his party state that the NDP is no friend to rural Saskatchewan because of the hospital closures.

Since the Saskatchewan Party formed government, it has had unprecedented revenues coming into the provincial Treasury.

It has increased spending, but strangely enough, none of this new spending has resulted in the reopening of even one of the rural hospitals that were closed.

Could this mean that, although the closures were politically unpopular, they still were a restructuring that was needed?

Ray Heather


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Read it as a PDF: Hospitals unopened

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Doesn’t add up

By Justina Robinson, The StarPhoenix October 31, 2011

I have noticed funding cuts in the school system over the past couple of years.

If we have experienced a housing boom for the past few years, we should also be seeing higher portions of taxes allocated to education from property taxes. And according to the paper, we also have higher enrolment.

What’s going on?

Justina Robinson Biggar

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Read it as a PDF: Doesn’t add up

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It’s time to say ‘not’ to not-for-profit

paul alofs, Special to Globe and Mail Update

Published Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 2:00AM EDT (Last updated Monday, Oct. 31, 2011 3:02PM EDT)

This is part of The Globe and Mail’s in-depth look at the evolution of philanthropy. Read more from the series here.

It might surprise you that the not-for-profit sector is larger and more important to Canada than the oil and gas sector. It might also surprise you that the not-for-profit sector is in the midst of a major identity crisis.

This crisis starts with the sector’s name. After all, what other sector of the economy refers to itself by what it’s not? Grocery stores don’t call themselves “not furniture stores.” It creates an expectation that we should not be profitable. This negative naming has created a severe disadvantage for us compared with the other sectors in how money is raised, how it gets spent and who gets to “profit” from success. A better name is the “social profit sector.” (more…)

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Letter to the Editor: Welcome support

By Nathan Holowaty, The StarPhoenix October 20, 2011

Since the Occupy Wall Street protests started more than a month ago, it has been encouraging to see how Canada and the rest of the world has embraced this movement in a show of solidarity with the American protesters.

Many Canadians who have family members in the U.S. such as myself, (my mother is an American citizen) have much sympathy for the plight of the so-called 99 per cent who have been victimized by a greedy, unregulated and unaccountable financial sector. (more…)

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Letter to the Editor: Tuition shell game

Tuition shell game

By Chris Mulhall, The StarPhoenix October 21, 2011

The Saskatchewan Party’s announcement that it will provide $500 per year and up to $2,000 to each student pursuing a postsecondary education in the province may seem like a great relief to many.

However, look at the numbers to get a full sense of what’s happened to tuition over just the past few years.

Statistics Canada data show that tuition in Saskatchewan for a general bachelor’s degree in 2008-09 was $5,064. After the government lifted the tuition freeze for 2009-10, the fee increased by 3.4 per cent, to $5,238. For the 2010-11 school year, tuition jumped by 3.6 per cent to $5,431, and in 2011-12 it increased again by 3.1 per cent to $5,601. (more…)

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Letter to the Editor – Switch Roles

Switch roles

By Bob Gilewicz, The StarPhoenix October 17, 2011

People are so fickle. You hear nothing but complaining should any government – civic, provincial or federal – propose any kind of additional tax to pay for the services the public wants, such as pothole-free roads, a children’s hospital, community facilities or low-cost post-secondary education.

And yet, when the world price of oil is at a two-year low, what do the oil companies treat the consumer to – increased gas prices. (more…)

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Tax isn’t a four-letter word

alex himelfarb

From Saturday’s Globe and Mail – Published Friday, Oct. 14, 2011 4:43PM EDT

Ironically, it is in the anti-tax United States that a conversation has erupted on taxes. Warren Buffett and a few other billionaires helped to open the door, if only a crack, and President Barack Obama made taxing the rich a key means of funding his jobs plan (though it was ultimately ill-fated). In the context of all that is happening right now on Wall Street and beyond, these now seem like small and belated steps. Bigger things are in the air. But the conversation on taxes is now engaged and, judging from the reaction – accusations of class warfare, “no-tax” pledges – tax is a proxy for these bigger things. (more…)

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New Identification Requirements at the Polls

Provincial Election poster Photo ID YFS version

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