PC Leader Swenson: Budget is "Same Old, Same Old"
“I was really hoping with a new Premier, maybe a different vision but really it’s the same old, same old,” Rick Swenson, leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan said about the Provincial Budget.
“It’s so short sighted. Its one of the SaskParty surviving until the next election,” Swenson said.
Rising debt with no real returns on money spent angered the PC leader.
“They never curtailed the big items at all. The debt keeps on going up some more,” Swenson said.
He pointed to the summary financial statement of the last three years, at the back of the budget documents, being in his opinion, the real story of what the true state of the Province’s finances are. The budget itself is not the real numbers, he said.
Those numbers show $2.4 billion “big chunks of money. Six hundred million under a big fancy name. It’s like it is ran up on a credit card and they say it wasn’t debt.”
Vision for Swenson would be planning for future things, such as alternative energy.
“There’s the whole issue of alternative energy. It’s really topical and all kinds of people doing things. A real growth industry and not a peep about it. The good old SaskParty, in Brad Wall’s rut; carbon capture and fight Trudeau,” Swenson said.
One item which saw no mention was the PC Party’s plan for a waste heat initiative.
“We have a refinery right here in town. Generating waste heat, convert it and generate heat and grow food with it,” Swenson said it is one idea where local innovation could yield a better future.
“Moose Jaw is an ideal location for alternative energy. There is a natural advantage that you have and all sorts of sources of a commodity. With a little bit of imagination and real help it could work. But they have no long term vision.”
Expanding the PST to used cars and surcharges on SaskEnergy were seen as opportunities for “nickel and diming tax payers.”
“It’s time for the regime to take the shackles off and start cooperating with rate payers…the Crowns are still backdoor taxes.”
“What we have here is a structural problem. It starts right at the top and goes all the way down” he added.
As Premier Swenson said, he would work with a long term vision to encourage jobs and development over the long term.
Regarding the eventual closure of Valleyview Centre, Swenson said it means lost jobs and opportunities.
“They have no ideas. Its important to Moose Jaw and the tax base.”
One idea was to use the present infrastructure and turn the facility into an enclosed seniors community. The first climate free community in Saskatchewan.
Another idea is restarting the decade long idle Moose Jaw beef plant, he said.
“They need to tell people to step up or there’s enough taxpayer dollars in there to go and find a use for it…not one word about the potential just sitting there.”
Despite criticisms Swenson did like initiatives like providing some of the funding for children on the autism spectrum under six years old, checking all new born babies for hearing loss and the creation of a single health district to allow more nimble allocation of resources without duplication. The creation of a single health district was initially a PC Party campaign platform plank.
Despite liking these initiatives, Swenson still typified the SaskParty government as a “train wreck getting longer all of the time.”
“When the wreck is big enough people will wake up to the fact there is a $20 billion debt larger than the $10 billion they started with.”