Rhino's Ramblings - Half Full Glass of Water

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Each New Year the media always looks back on what has happened and what to expect to transpire in the coming year.

The past year financially has been very tough on many people and local businesses. The money that was once there is now gone. The SaskaBoom for all intensive purposes is over. Has it gone SaskaBust? Well I might get some flack for saying this but for the most part the economy is like Swiss cheese right now. There is some good solid portions but in other places there are some holes. 

The continued weak price for crude oil coupled with what many see as the lack of actions to get pipelines built and a better return from Canadian oil has impacted the economy hard. 

Despite there being no major oil finds in the immediate area of Moose Jaw there are plenty of jobs tied to oil and gas in this city. Whether it be a local labourer who each Winter headed off to Fort Mac to work, to people who once worked around the clock manufacturing trailers at Doepker the oil crash of 2014 lingers and in some cases deepens. 

It has had a major impact on the city.

Other areas of employment which have worked their way through the economy has been the closure of the Valleyview Centre and the loss of some good higher paying jobs. 

There is actually two economic points on this with one group pointing at the impact on those lost wages. While others point out the closure has meant the construction of group homes which now access things like groceries and other services locally as they never did in the past. 

Agriculture, the local backbone, also took some hits with tough access, lower prices and the drought taking a hit on farm incomes. The tariffs in India on lentils was no help either.

Even the local potash producers cut back one way or another most noticeably in the area of community donations.

The amalgamation to a single province-wide health district I’m sorry to say resulted in some local job losses. 

On the real estate front it was a buyer's market out there with housing prices correcting and financially stretched buyers listing homes in an attempt to not lose too much in home value and equity. 

The number of new homes built in 2018 can easily be counted on ones fingers and adding a few toes. It has been painful and it has hurt many people in the trades.

The once promised multi-million dollar restoration of the Town and Country Mall is according to numerous sources set aside. If true the good rumours and indicators for the local retail economy have just fizzled. 

The City is still struggling with the budget and trying to find the funds to somehow complete the needed infrastructure replacements. A quarter of a billion dollars in infrastructure upgrades in five years time is astronomical. The City desperately needs help and hopefully the election series we are set to enter into brings us a multi-million dollar relief for our core infrastructure. 

On the Federal front we are seeing the makings of one of the nastiest elections in memory. All sides are starting to line up with their respective partisans becoming much more vocal. This could be one of the most ugliest elections out there.

I took a look at the House of Commons Question Period recently and it showed one of the most boisterous and divisive episodes in my recent memory.

On this weekend's column about the Yellow Vests and the factors surrounding them I will be honest and tell you I PERSONALLY BANNED three people (two pro Yellow Vests and one counter) for 30 days for taking unwarranted personal shots at people. 

Personally I have no problem with people debating an issue on facts but once you attack someone on a personal level sorry but you are banned. If you don’t like someone personally please express your opinion elsewhere. Other than that comment away. 

Does it prevent those banned from reading the news? Nope not at all our site is still open. And if you so chose you’re welcome to write a letter to the editor. 

Despite all of the bad news out there I can tell you there is the start to some good things coming to the City. 

Although I haven’t seen it announced officially well placed sources tell me it looks like Canadian Tire is set to proceed in 2019. IF it does occur it is very good news for the city. It means plenty of work and a lot of related spin offs to the community. 

Although it is not going to be built immediately the announcement the City and the Province have signed an agreement in principle to sell land to build a new natural gas fired power plant is some of the best news the City has had in awhile.

But in it all I think it all needs to be taken in perspective and I say that is I look at it from the viewpoint of a friend and a potential immigrant from Ukraine to Moose Jaw.

In Ukraine the economy through their austerity has in many ways collapsed. The once prosperous country which saw great hope in 2014 has not received what they were promised. 

Reforms and the changes have not come and despite some well publicized efforts at hemming in corruption it still continues. It has adapted with the people at the top continuing to profit while the people at the bottom face massive increases to their cost of living most notably in the area of utility increases.

The young people are leaving and as such in many ways so is the future. Moose Jaw for many is a promised land of a better life and many tell me my family was lucky to have fought our way out when we did. 

I asked my friend why they would want to come to Moose Jaw and Saskatchewan and the only word was “opportunity”. 

Perhaps despite all the seeming economic clouds out there we need to realize in many ways we live in a place where the glass truly is half full. 

Happy New Year to Everyone! 

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