Lawrence To Run Again
By Robert Thomas
It is going to be another election run for Moose Jaw Wakamow MLA Greg Lawrence as the two term MLA has been nominated to represent the SaskParty in the October 2020 provincial election.
“It feels pretty good the SaskParty members in Moose Jaw Wakamow supported me and nobody stepped up to run against me. My executive is very happy with the work I’m doing. It’s a very good feeling,” Lawrence said in an interview with MJ Independent.
Asked what is the best part of his job he said it was helping constituents navigate the various provincial programs.
“It is very satisfying helping residents in the day to day work who come to the constituency office…it is very fulfilling helping those in need with various government departments,” he said, adding “we help a lot of people in our office.”
Lawrence said as an MLA it is his number one job and he invites everyone needing assistance with provincial departments and programs to contact his office.
“The new hospital is a big accomplishment and with the new hospital the first MRI in a hospital outside Saskatoon and Regina,” Lawrence said.
But despite the hospital being constructed Lawrence said the greatest accomplishment in its construction was being able to get a hyperbaric chamber in the new hospital,
“That was a lot of work on Warren’s (Michelson Moose Jaw North MLA) and my part on behalf of the community. We met with the Minister (of Health) and then Premier (Brad) Wall about it….it was an expert’s decision initially (not to have the hyperbaric chamber) and they we went with what the people wanted.”
When the new hospital was planned the plans were not to have a hyperbaric chamber in the new hospital. But a determined grassroots community effort led by the Moose Jaw Firefighters sprung up to see the new hospital include a chamber as the former Moose Jaw Union Hospital had.
About staffing and what some see as problems with the new hospital Lawrence said “I’ve heard both sides of that.”
But Lawrence said as MLA he will work to help people the best he can.
“If people have problems we help them navigate the different government agencies until they get a decision they are happy with.”
Lawrence said no system is perfect but the Province is working on making it better and “if people didn’t need help with different government agencies and programs we would not have much of a job.”
“I truly enjoy helping,” Lawrence said.
Asked what the negative things are about his job as MLA is the personal on-line attacks.
“I have to limit myself to the stuff on-line,” he said, adding it was the personal attacks which were the worst.
“We are doing our best job in our office and like everything there is always room for improvement…we do our best to help and will continue to do so.”
One of the other big accomplishments was his work as military liason working with the Federal Government and the Armed Services in an effort to make life better for military families,
An example of that work was “there was stuff in the throne speech waving vehicle inspections in new vehicles when they (military members) are moving to Saskatchewan.”
Asked about this year’s Provincial Budget where $10 million was spent on relocating Valley View Centre residents he said the Province is still committed to the resident centric approach and will do what is best for the individual resident.
“The previous government decided to close it 17 years ago with no plan…we are the first jurisdiction in the world to use this model. Experts say for the folks out there this is the best route. We will not be closing it until we have it right for the people out there.”
Former residents have been housed within Moose Jaw and elsewhere in the province but also outside the province to be close to family. The Valley View is being watched closely not just by families and others in the province but worldwide.
“We are moving at the right pace…we are not closing it until everybody has found a new home,” Lawrence said.
Asked about the change of leadership of the SaskParty and how things are progressing under a new Premier, Lawrence said things are progressing well.
“I supported Premier Moe in the leadership and he has done a great job and he continues to fight the Federal Government on the Carbon Tax.”
“We continue what Premier Wall said we need a good economy so we can help those folks who need the help the most.”
Regarding the austerity budget where the Province cut expenditures Lawrence said it is on track for benefits to the province.
“We will deliver a balanced budget this year,”
With a year and a half until the next Provincial Election Lawrence said he was going to continue to work hard to see that “the people of Moose Jaw get what they need.” An example of that is the new elementary school for South Hill.
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“We (Warren Michelson and Lawrence) will be working on getting a new school in Moose Jaw. In getting the ground broke to replace aging infrastructure.”
On the issue of funding for the Wakamow Valley Authority, who had the funding it was receiving from the Province, Lawrence said it was a difficult decision to make when the Budget was drawn up two years ago,
“We made some really tough decisions. We felt it was a city park and a city responsibility.”
Lawrence did commend the Wakamow Valley Authority because they had “done a lot of good work. It is a beautiful jewel in our city.”
Asked if there was a chance of Wakamow seeing its funding restored he said he could not say oine way or the other.
“I don’t have a crystal ball but we are going in that direction…I don’t know we are in the process of drafting the Budget.”
Asked about the comparisons always made between Alberta, where it’s NDP government has spent to stimulate the economy, Lawrence said in comparison to Saskatchewan that “Alberta has a huge deficit but we are going to have a balanced budget.”
Asked which approach was right - austerity or borrowing and spending - he said in his opinion from what he has read in publications and on-line that Alberta is no better off than Saskatchewan.
“If you look the majority of new hires in Alberta are in government and that is unsustainable,” he said.
Regarding analysts predictions Notley had gambled oil was going to be $80 per barrel plus to sustain the lending Lawerence said “oil is not $80 per barrel we need a new pipeline to the coast or at least one to eastern Canada. It makes more sense than importing oil given our reserves…the US is a net exporter of oil and they are building pipeline all of the time.”
Despite the accomplishments while an MLA Lawrence said there is still more work to do.
“I am looking forward to serving my constituents and Moose Jaw over the one and a half years and the four years after that when re-elected.”
“One thing I want constituents to know it has been an honour working for them and the citizens of Moose Jaw,” Lawrence said.