Mr. Wall’s clown car get­ting full

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - OPIN­ION - KEN MAC­DOUGALL

It’s not even De­cem­ber, but it al­ready ap­pears as though Au­gust 11th – the day that Pre­mier Brad Wall an­nounced that he was re­sign­ing as leader of the Sask Party – may be the day that Saskatchewan vot­ers fi­nally woke up to what was hap­pen­ing, fi­nan­cially speak­ing, to this prov­ince’s econ­omy, and how close we are to a fis­cal melt­down of the type not seen since Grant Devine’s gov­ern­ment was de­feated in 1991.

In an­nounc­ing his re­tire­ment, Mr. Wall in­ti­mated that it was “time for re­newal” of the spirit that has man­aged to keep the Sask Party in power for the past ten years, but in ac­tu­al­ity he was fi­nally ad­mit­ting that the ve­neer that had once gifted him as “Canada’s most pop­u­lar pre­mier” was wear­ing thin, and rather than take the blame for the prov­ince’s fis­cal morass, he was sim­ply run­ning away from any share of re­spon­si­bil­ity for cre­at­ing that mess.

Most of Saskatchewan’s me­dia sources didn’t see it that way, though. The Leader Post, for in­stance, de­voted a full sec­tion high­light­ing Mr. Wall’s “many ac­com­plish­ments”, adding that the next leader of the Sask Party would have “big shoes to fill”. John Gorm­ley, never one to look re­al­ity in the face and call it “as it is”, urged mem­bers of the Sask Party to carry on its obli­ga­tions to be “a uni­fied, fo­cused and fu­ture­ori­ented [SIC] party tired of en­abling years of so­cial­ism by free en­ter­prise vot­ers split­ting their votes.”

Mean­while, in First Na­tions coun­try, the re­sponse was more akin to some­one hav­ing just won the Lotto, with peo­ple break­ing into their own ver­sion of a “happy dance”.

The stark con­trast in re­ac­tion to Mr. Wall’s an­nounce­ment high­lights a point that the Sask Party, with its now seem­ingly end­less list of can­di­dates vy­ing for party leadership, fails to grasp: its poli­cies are not only de­stroy­ing the prov­ince’s econ­omy, but its internal cor­rup­tion fu­eled by a GTH land scan­dal, the money sinkhole of the Regina south­ern by­pass and in­creas­ing num­bers of RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tions into these and other af­fairs kicked into high pro­file by an also-re­tir­ing Bill Boyd, spells dis­as­ter for their party of the likes that only for­mer fed­eral Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive Prime Min­is­ter Kim Camp­bell could ever fully ap­pre­ci­ate.

And then, there’s the hardly sub­tle edge of racism that con­tin­u­ously seems to en­ter into what­ever new poli­cies the Sask Party an­nounces in their des­per- In the story ti­tled Se­niors’ Trans­porta­tion Gets a Boost, Cur­rent ‘Mary’ Sheila Go­ertzen was misiden­ti­fied as Glo­ria Mahussier. Go­ertzen was in the sec­ond, bot­tom photo, not Mahussier. Glo­ria Mahussier was also present, as she is the Com­mu­nity Ser­vices Cen­tre board chair. The Co­op­er­a­tors, who con­trib­uted to the bar­be­cue, were also mis­tak­enly left out. We re­gret the er­ror and apol­o­gize for any con­fu­sion it may have caused.

ate at­tempt to shore up what­ever is left of its “base”. Take, for in­stance, the an­nounce­ment made just over a week ago about the for­ma­tion of a po­lice task force to try and get a han­dle on ru­ral crime.

Not only has pub­lic re­ac­tion to this new pol­icy been tepid at best, but both FSIN Vice Chief Heather Bear and StarPhoenix writer Doug Cut­hand have sav­aged it for its less-than-sub­tle ap­peal to the “shoot first and ask ques­tions later” hill­bil­lies who went apoplec­tic on so­cial me­dia when a cen­tral Saskatchewan farmer was charged with sec­ond de­gree mur­der for the shoot­ing death of Red Pheas­ant res­i­dent Colten Boushie.

Prince Al­bert po­lice chief Troy Cooper didn’t seem es­pe­cially pleased by this an­nounce­ment, ei­ther. For it to be suc­cess­ful, he sees the city hav­ing to “re­pur­pose” the du­ties of three well­trained of­fi­cers in or­der to cre­ate some form of “net gain” in ru­ral crime sta­tis­tics, and com­ing at a time when provin­cial po­lice man­power needs are al­ready overex­tended, not to men­tion that the Sask Party’s re­cent bud­get also slashed mu­nic­i­pal grant lim­its that the Prince Al­bert Po­lice Ser­vice in­tended to uti­lize to train of­fi­cers on how to han­dle drug pos­ses­sion of­fences once the fed­eral gov­ern­ment le­gal­ized mar­i­juana laws later this year.

Un­for­tu­nately, we have yet to hear from the var­i­ous unions that rep­re­sent the var­i­ous of­fi­cers, the RCMP, Saskatchewan’s mu­nic­i­pal po­lice ser­vices, or the high­way traf­fic and con­ser­va­tion of­fi­cers that will be in­cor­po­rated into

this ru­ral task force. This is sur­pris­ing, as they are only now start­ing to be trusted fol­low­ing the decade-long fall­out over “starlight tour” pub­lic­ity and roast­ing by First Na­tions lead­ers for their own abysmal record of not hav­ing solved a ma­jor­ity of cases in­volv­ing mur­dered and miss­ing Indige­nous women and girls – and now, men, as well.

Still, the Sask Party seems more than will­ing to uti­lize Saskatchewan’s po­lice ser­vices as pawns in the shoring up of its po­lit­i­cal base. Gord Wyant, the now “for­mer” Min­is­ter of Jus­tice for the prov­ince that an­nounced the for­ma­tion of this ru­ral task force, has now even ea­gerly tossed his hat into the ring of can­di­dates want­ing to suc­ceed Mr. Wall, adding to the strain of over­load on the ve­hi­cle that MSNBC Chris Matthews once called “the clown car” filled with self-in­flated ego­tists that vied for the op­por­tu­nity to run as the Repub­li­can can­di­date in the last U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Ms. Camp­bell, if she’s even pay­ing at­ten­tion to these mat­ters, must be shak­ing her head in dis­be­lief. As for the rest of us liv­ing in Saskatchewan, we’re still await­ing the Don­ald Trump clone will­ing to en­ter this sideshow. Don’t worry, though; Leader Post colum­nist Murray Mandryk still has a list longer than the av­er­age man’s arm of “po­ten­tials” hav­ing noth­ing bet­ter to do than waste $25,000 in try­ing to fill Mr. Wall’s “big shoes”.

Re­gret­tably, that list doesn’t in­clude Bill Boyd – yet.

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