Legislative Debates (9 November 2005)

Legislative Debates

From Hansard - 9 November 2005

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Throne Speech Debate
Mr. DAutremont: Ms. Deputy Speaker, its a pleasure to rise today to address the Speech from the Throne. Before I get into the main body of my speech Id like to address a couple of the comments though that the previous member mentioned.

In this one particular case I happen to agree with the member that there is indeed a Santa Claus, Madam Speaker a Santa Claus for the NDP MLAs because each and every one of them, with one exception, has received additional pay. So there certainly is a Santa Claus if youre an NDP MLA.

And I agree with that same speaker, Madam Speaker, that there is no free lunch. Because there is no free lunch for every person and every taxpayer in this province in paying the extra bill for all the extras that every one, save one, of those NDP MLAs. So there is a Santa Claus, Madam Speaker, for the NDP and theres no free lunches when it comes to paying for the taxpayers of this province, Madam Speaker.

Madam Speaker, on another area though the member from Coronation Park was wrong. The policy of this party is not to sell the Crown corporations as he was saying. Hes misinformed, Madam Speaker, or else hes trying to misinform the public on this particular area. Hes either misinformed himself or hes trying to provide misinformation to the public of Saskatchewan.

Cell service across Saskatchewan, Madam Speaker, from SaskTel works very well where it works. But obviously the member doesnt get out of Regina very often and drive around the province or he would notice that his cellphone isnt working. Maybe if all he does is drive from Regina to Saskatoon, yes his cellphone works, but take a drive on a few of the other highways, you know. And I suspect, Madam Speaker, that most of the members opposite never drive on any of the other highways or they wouldnt have let them get into such a deteriorated state as they are today.

So those members would know that both their cellphones dont work once you get off those main highways, and that its not safe to drive on those highways that are not the main highways across Saskatchewan. So I think the member from Coronation Park needs to get out around the province and see whats actually happening across this province, see whether his cellphone is working, see whether its safe to drive on the road.

The member from Regina Albert South a few years ago went down to Redvers in my constituency to attend a health meeting. Drove down No. 8 Highway this is about 10 years after the NDP have been in power and tore the muffler off his car on No. 8 Highway. Thats the condition of that highway. But Im sure the member from Coronation Park has never even been down that road, Madam Speaker, because his cellphone wouldnt work there either. So, Madam Speaker, when the member stands in his place it would be somewhat helpful if he was at least informed.

Madam Speaker, there is some good things that have been happening around the province though in spite of the member from Coronation Park and his colleagues. Madam Speaker, centennial year was a good year across Saskatchewan. It gave an opportunity for our friends, our family, our neighbours to return home to Saskatchewan return home, Madam Speaker, because so many of them are no longer in this province. Theyre not in this province, Madam Speaker, because the opportunities are not here in this province under that administration.

And while its great to have them return to their original community its great for families to have an opportunity to see their family members and their friends again after so many years its even good for the economy, Madam Speaker. It even was good for the economy because people, the celebrations . . . People needed to spend money. Hotels were in use. Parks were all being used. Gasoline was being purchased to travel in from across Canada and the US [United States], Madam Speaker. So there certainly was a benefit. And there was a warm feeling across Saskatchewan for the centennial year and for the return of the people.

But, Madam Speaker, when the celebration was over on the weekend and the families packed up and headed back to where they now lived, it left a hollow feeling in the hearts of people across Saskatchewan. It left a question of, why do you have to go back? Why cant you stay here in this province? And that question was being asked across Saskatchewan, Madam Speaker, by families, by grandparents, by children, Madam Speaker, as to why they couldnt stay and be with their cousins, their aunts and uncles, their grandparents. Why, Madam Speaker, couldnt they stay? Because theres no opportunities here under an NDP government. Theyre the ones, Madam Speaker, that drive people from this province. What do they do to encourage them to come back? What do they do, Madam Speaker?

Yes we got an oil boom going on in Saskatchewan right now. And we got 6,200 less people working in Saskatchewan this year than last year with an oil boom going on, Madam Speaker. Thats the kind of thing that the NDP government trumpets as a good thing in Saskatchewan. Well its good for government coffers that theres an oil boom, but the people across Saskatchewan arent seeing the benefit of it.

It reminds me of the member from Coronation Park wanted to relive the 1986 and 1991 campaigns. Lets take a step back even a little further and relive the 1982 campaign. I remember the statement: the family of Crown corporations is strong Allan Blakeneys theme. The member from Coronation Park was a part of that. And what did that say to the people across Saskatchewan? Yes the government is doing well, but Im losing my home because of the interest rates. Im losing my business. Im losing my house. Did the government care? No.

And its the same thing today, Madam Speaker. The government revenues are doing well, but people are suffering and the government doesnt care. The same as in 1982, Madam Speaker. The same as in 1982.

Id like to address some of the points from the Speech from the Throne and they tie into what Ive already been saying. The third paragraph in the speech to the throne, Madam Speaker, talks about that:

    Our ancestors were people of vision, courage and optimism. They dreamed of a prosperous land and a progressive society in a province richly blessed . . . [with natural] bounty.
And thats true, Madam Speaker. Our ancestors did have vision and courage or they would never have picked a frozen plain that Palliser said was a desert to live. They took that, Madam Speaker, that vision, that courage, and that dream and they did build a good province.

They also believed that its not mentioned in here though, Madam Speaker they believed in growing this province, in growing it. They werent prepared to settle for the first 10 immigrants that came to this province and say thats enough and if anybody leaves, as the member from P.A. [Prince Albert] said, that leaves more for the rest of us. No, they believed in growing the province.

The member from Saskatchewan Rivers last year says, grow, grow, grow. Thats all you guys ever talk about. Why do we need to grow the province? Madam Speaker, we need to talk about growing. We need to grow this province so our kids have a place to live and work instead of going someplace else.

Thats what the members opposite dont understand and dont realize. Theyre only concerned about what they have today, not about what their children can have tomorrow. There is no vision on those benches over there. Its simply about what I can have today and thats why every NDP MLA, except for one, has additional pay, Madam Speaker. Its about todays greed in todays pocket, not about the future.

Madam Speaker, the Speech from the Throne goes on to say, a province offering them abundant opportunities to pursue meaningful and rewarding careers. Thats what people when they founded this province were looking for, thats what they hoped to build, and that is the promise that has been betrayed by the NDP-CCF [New Democratic PartyCo-operative Commonwealth Federation] Party since it came to power in 1944.

They have understood wealth redistribution but they have never understood wealth creation, and thats why our population remains the same stagnant since that time. No vision on how to build a province. And its certainly not the fact that the people of this province dont have the ability to build a province because at that time Alberta was almost half the size that Saskatchewan was.

The people from Saskatchewan moved to Alberta and built a province thats three times the size that Saskatchewan is, and its economy is booming. Its the envy not just of Canada but of the world. And yet its Saskatchewan people that built that economy. They would have loved to have done it here but were denied the opportunity.

Madam Deputy Speaker, the Speech from the Throne also talks about the governments goal that children in the centennial year have the best possible chance to grow up free from addiction. And thats a very laudable goal. Everyone in this province supports that.

In fact it was my colleagues, the member from Kelvington and the member from Weyburn-Big Muddy, that brought forward the problem of crystal meth addiction in this province. The government didnt want to hear about it. They tried to sweep it under the table. And the fact is the minister of Education said that there was no need to focus on crystal meth, that there was no need to have a program in place for it. Tried to deny that there was even a problem there. That was the NDP vision.

So what do we have today? What do we have today for the leadership from the NDP on this issue? Well they proclaimed Project Hope. I think a better name for it would be project hype because all its amounted to, to today is an advertising campaign.

Theres lots of talk on the radio about a program thats going to happen in 2007 or later, but wheres the help for the kids today? Its not there. The money is being spent on an advertising campaign which the Premier was opposed to previously, and now he promotes it. Now he signs the cheque to allow the spending. Madam Speaker, the Premiers words dont match his actions. He spoke one thing at one time and does something the complete opposite. He has now become what he was criticizing.

Madam Speaker, the Speech from the Throne talks about a green and prosperous economy. And Id like to read from it. It says:

    Today, because of the vision and hard work of Saskatchewan people, we are a have province, and the only have province in Canada that does not charge its citizens a health care premium.
And thats true, Madam Deputy Speaker. Thats right. And the member from Athabasca says, right on. But you know our neighbour to the west doesnt charge PST. So I guess we got a choice here health care premium, PST. You know, how does that work out? Well in Alberta a family of four pays $1,056 a year for their health care premium. You know thats a significant amount of money. What does a family of four in Saskatchewan pay on average for PST? Well if you look at the budget book it works out to, Madam Deputy Speaker, $4,064. So health care premium for a thousand bucks, PST for 4,000. Whos getting the bargain? Who is being served by their government, Madam Speaker? Who is getting the return?

Madam Speaker, when the government brags about no health care premium, maybe they should also mention what the cost is to this citizen because, to quote the member from Coronation Park, there is no free lunch. And its the same thing in health care, Madam Deputy Chair there is no free lunch. So the people of Saskatchewan, every man, woman, and child in Saskatchewan pays $1,000-plus in PST, in part for their health care premiums, for the health care costs in this province. You know.

And one other thing that might be of interest, Madam Deputy Speaker, to you, is that in Alberta seniors are exempt from the health care premium. So not only do they not pay the PST, they dont pay the health premium either. You know, interesting isnt it? Somehow the government keeps forgetting to mention these cost comparisons.

So, Madam Speaker, some of the other things that are going on in this area. It talks about:

    Active work will be undertaken to include more youth and Aboriginal people in the labour market and business sector.
Thats very good, Madam Minister. Thats important that we get more youth working. Well I know that the governments program for getting youth working in this province is to have them hired by the Crown corporations. After all, it was the member from Saskatoon Nutana that put in place a program to hire more youth in the Crown corporations. That was the goal for youth in this province; they wanted to work for the Crown corporations, Madam Speaker.

This statement that was in the Speech from the Throne also talks about Aboriginal people. And I would like to read a quote, Madam Speaker, from this years Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority 2004-2005 annual report. The very first sentence, Madam Deputy Speaker, says:

    Creating employment for First Nations was one of the primary reasons the Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority Inc. (SIGA) was established in 1995.
And this is signed by Chief Alphonse Bird, Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. The primary reason that SIGA was created was to create employment for First Nations. Very good. I agree with that. And fact is, I supported the original casino down in White Bear for that very reason.

So whats happening today? Well First Nations under SIGA are trying to establish a new casino at Dakota Dunes outside of Saskatoon. Now remember one of the primary reasons for SIGA and the casinos was to find employment for First Nations. So what did the minister for Economic Development do here a month or so ago? He mandated that SIGA had to take every employee from the Emerald Park Casino regardless of whether they were First Nations or not.

How does that fit into the criteria to hire First Nations, to provide employment for First Nations people? And fact is, SIGA was given an exemption from the human rights Act to be able to hire up to 80 per cent First Nations. How does the minister of Economic Development forcing SIGA to take the employees from the Emerald Park Casino theyre not taking over their business how does that square with the role of SIGA to provide First Nations employment?

Where were the members of the NDP caucus on this issue? Did they support that mandate from the minister of Economic Development that forces SIGA to take those employees? Where were the individual members? Where was the member from Athabasca? Where was the member from Cumberland? Did they support this?

Madam Speaker, there was a reason why SIGA was given exclusive right to casinos in this province, excluding Casino Regina. It was to provide employment for First Nations. That was the primary reason, one of the primary reasons as stated by Chief Alphonse Bird, as stated previously by government in their contracts with SIGA. And yet the government just throws that out the window when they want to.

And I would like to know, and Im sure people across this province would like to know, where was the NDP caucus on this issue? Where were the members of the NDP caucus on that issue? Were they supporting the mandate of SIGA for primary reasons for the employment of First Nations people or were they playing the political expediency? Where were they, Madam Deputy Speaker? I think thats a question that needs to be answered.

Another thing that caught my eye in the Speech from the Throne, Madam Speaker, was a statement that during the session:

    . . . my government will continue a process of consultation with northerners towards the recognition of the Churchill River as one of Saskatchewans natural legacies.
What does that mean, Madam Deputy Speaker? What does that mean? Is that a code for a new hydroelectric plant being put in place on the Churchill River? Does that mean that theyre looking at putting in a dam on the Churchill River and are in negotiations with the First Nations up there?

You know if youre looking at . . . because there is talk about new electrical production in this province and one of those talks is about new hydroelectric in the North. I know what the fight was like down at Rafferty-Alameda when it come time to dam off a couple of streams. And from start to finish it took 18 years, Madam Deputy Speaker, from the time the decision was made to go ahead on that to the time it was all finally completed.

So when it says that were in consultation with northerners on the Churchill River, what does that mean? Does that mean that the government is looking at putting in place a new hydroelectric dam someplace on the Churchill River and theyre in negotiations with the First Nations in the area to do that? Are they going to go through all the environmental steps that are necessary to put in place a hydroelectric dam? Because its not a short process, but if youre going to do that you need to let people know.

So, Madam Deputy Speaker, its important that these things be laid out clearly before the public and not being covered up and done in some sort of nefarious manner, Madam Deputy Speaker.

Under energy and mining, which falls under the critic area of not only energy and mining because this deals with electricity as well, theres some actual misinformation in the Speech from the Throne, Madam Deputy Speaker. It says under energy and mining:

    To capture the energy of the wind, projects already underway will produce 172 megawatts of zero emission power, five per cent of Saskatchewans electrical generation . . .
Madam Speaker, there may be 172 megawatts of capacity put in place, but theres a difference between capacity and generation. Just the other week in Crown Corporations Committee, I asked Mr. Waller, who is the head of CIC, Crown Investments Corporation, that exact question. How efficient are your wind turbines? They have a capacity, lets say, of 100 megawatts. What do they produce? If you have a thermal generator that has a capacity of 100 megawatts, they produce 100 megawatts. What does wind generate? And his response was, well roughly 30 to 40, 35 to 40 per cent.

So if 172 is the generating capacity, youre actually only producing about 60 megawatts. So thats what the government should have said in here or they should have said that they have 172 megawatts of capacity, not of generation. So again the government is trying to mislead what its telling the public, Madam Deputy Chair.

It goes on to say in this very sector, it talks about ethanol production in this province.

    [That] . . . Saskatchewan is poised to become a major producer of grain-based ethanol . . .
Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, it is indeed. Saskatchewan is moving ahead with the production of ethanol, but its happening in spite of the government, not because of the government. And fact is this government put every roadblock up that it could to prevent the Lloydminster and Weyburn facilities from going ahead. The only ones who were going to be able to produce ethanol in this province was the government-designated company Broe.

And fact is the Premier marched out there just west of Regina and had a sod-turning ceremony with the kids out there and a big sign and a circus tent. Well it turned out to be a real circus because the only thing that dug in the ground that day was the sod-turning spade and nothing happened after that. Its now just a barren spot. There was no ethanol plant going in there, Madam Speaker. But there was an election coming up, and the Premier had to make believe that he was actually doing something in this province, and it was all a sham. There was no ethanol plant. Eight hundred and some thousand dollars . . .

An Hon. Member: $100,000 worth of gravel went in there.

Mr. DAutremont: $100,000 worth of gravel. Im sure the farmer thats now farming that appreciates that gravel being on his crop land now. It probably came from Findlater.

Madam Deputy Speaker, the Premier and the NDP government have done everything they could to prevent ethanol from coming to production in this province, but its moving ahead in spite of them not because of them, Madam Speaker.

You know, and I mentioned earlier the oil boom thats taken place. You know and it takes place right in my own constituency. There are rigs drilling, but not near what you would expect when oil is at $60. Everybodys busy. You try to hire somebody in my constituency, and youve got a tough time because theyre working. But theyre not living at home.

Theyre out working in Alberta. Theyre not working in Saskatchewan. The crews and the crew trucks are all out in Alberta working. The contractors are all out in Alberta working. The engineers and the construction, the prefab places theyre building stuff for Alberta. Its not for Saskatchewan. Sure our people are working, but theyre working in Alberta and coming home once a month. Not a very good way to live with your family, Madam Deputy Speaker.

But thats the way it is because you have to support your family and you have to support your other enterprises in Saskatchewan because the Government of Saskatchewan has no vision on how to build that economy and get that production happening here. Theyre living on the backs of the production that was built previous to them on programs that they criticized at that time.

Madam Deputy Speaker, it goes on to talk about in the Speech from the Throne One of the richest uranium mines in the world is gearing up to go into production at Cigar Lake in 2007.

Saskatchewan produces about one-third of the worlds uranium. We produce the very richest uranium in the world, Madam Speaker. Yes, and I heard the Premier the other day say hes willing to look at further uranium production, uranium usage in Saskatchewan. You know, the Minister for Economic Development talks about refining uranium. He even talks about electrical production, and yet the Premier the next day turns around and says, not on my watch in Saskatchewan. You know, one day hes on side, and the next day hes on the other side. Well which way is he, Madam Deputy Speaker?

In fact oh was about a year or so ago, he talked about uranium industry as being the tailpipe of the energy world, the dirtiest energy possible. And yet here a couple or three weeks ago, he was talking about having that very production in Saskatchewan.

Well I would suggest to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, that there is a moral question here as well. If were prepared to dig out of the ground the richest uranium in the world, if were prepared to ship that around the world, have we given up moral responsibility for that product when it leaves our boundaries? I think thats a question that the government and the people of Saskatchewan need to ponder. Where does our moral responsibility with uranium begin and end because the Premier seems to be all over the map on this issue.

One day hes for it. The next day hes against it. The Minister for Economic Development seems to be for it. The Minister for the Environments against it. I think you got a fairly schizophrenic caucus over there, Madam Deputy Speaker, that doesnt know what they want or where to go. And its strictly a finger in the air to check where the political winds are blowing.

You know I note that there was a very small mention of agriculture in the Speech from the Throne, and that small comment is that the government has agreed to pay the 2005 CAIS program. Well the government pushed for an expansion of the CAIS program with the federal government. The federal government agreed to expand it. And then the province said, but were not going to pay for it. This was in 2002-2003, 2003. So every year they have said, no were going to put in the base amount that they believe in which was the original agreement, and were not going to fund the rest. Even though theyre the ones that demanded it, were not going to fund the rest.

And then, so you go through that crop year, and you go through the next year. And finally the government says, well in 2004, they said for the 2003 year between Christmas and New Years, well yeah, I guess well put in the money. So we come to the 2004 year. It wasnt till this summer that the government said they would fund the 2004 CAIS payments. So at least theyre getting a little bit further ahead. We actually are still in 2005. Thats an improvement, Madam Deputy Speaker, that the government would say in 2005 that they would fund the 2005 CAIS program.

But what does that mean for next year, for the 2006 year? The government called for the expanded CAIS program. The federal government agreed to it. Now can the agricultural producers across this province go to their banker, because theyre in desperate straits and say, yes the government will fully fund the 2006 crop year, so you can give me a loan based on that so that you know and I know what my protection is in case theres a crop failure. It hasnt happened yet. It hasnt happened yet.

And people are out there, have been buying their fertilizer and their chemical and their supplies for next year already. Even though theyre struggling to make those payments, some of them are out there doing it. Some of them arent doing it because they dont know where the money is going to come from.

Commodity prices are in the tank, the lowest theyve been proportional-wise probably since the 1930s or before. And yet the government is proud of themselves because they finally managed in one year to agree to pay that years CAIS program. Because every other year, they were a year late in making that determination.

So when is the government going to make that decision to say yes to agriculture producers across this province, that were going to meet our commitments? The Premier seems to have a problem with that. He says one thing and then does something completely different. When is he going to meet the commitment that he made to agriculture producers that the Deputy Premier went to Ottawa and fought for? When is he going to make that commitment for the 2006 crop year so next year agriculture producers will know what their coverage is?

Its totally unacceptable that this Premier makes the promise and then completely breaks it. Agriculture producers across this province have not forgotten that Premiers broken promise on property rights . . . property taxes, Madam Speaker.

An Hon. Member: Property rights too.

Mr. DAutremont: Property rights as well. Thats right.

The Speech from the Throne talks about honouring veterans. And veterans are a very, very important segment of our society. We owe those veterans our way of life. And a lot of them sacrificed the ultimate sacrifice to give us what we have today, to give us the right to stand in this legislature even and speak our minds. You know, and to honour them by naming a highway after them I think is fitting. I think though that those very same veterans, it might bring back unpleasant remembrances to them when they drive that highway though because of the craters on the highway. It might remind them of what they went through in the First World War and the Second World War with craters by the mile, Madam Deputy Speaker.

You know if youre going to name a highway after veterans, dont you think you would want to pick a highway thats fit to travel, that people would want to drive on, that people would want to see whats along that highway?

Madam Deputy Speaker, the highways in this province are atrocious. And now the government, the Premier, has appointed a new minister as the Minister for Highways. Its the SPUDCO minister the member who was responsible for the SPUDCO debacle, you know. And he had to apologize. He was let go from cabinet because of that. And now the Premier has seen fit to reappoint the man who betrayed the trust the people of Saskatchewan put into him, you know. And people of Saskatchewan believe in fairness. But they also believe that people who disabuse their trust should not be trusted again.

So this morning I was listening to the radio. And the members might find this interesting. I was listening to the CBC [Canadian Broadcasting Corporation].

An Hon. Member: You were listening to the radio?

Mr. DAutremont: That I was listening to the radio, but also that I was listening to the CBC. And I heard a comment on there from Tom Roberts. And he had been talking to the new Minister of Highways. And to quote Tom Roberts, he said, Right now the government is talking to other governments and other parties on how each party will pay for the upgrades.

Upgrades for what? Well what hes talking about is the governments discussion on upgrading the roads in northern Saskatchewan. Its a good idea. The fact is, part of the Saskatchewan Party policy is to rebuild and upgrade the roads in northern Saskatchewan absolutely through the member from Athabascas constituency, through the member from Cumberlands constituency. We support that. We believe those roads need to be upgraded. And theyre in desperate shape. The roads in southern Saskatchewan are in equally desperate shape. But the roads in northern Saskatchewan are in desperate shape. And so we have a minister of the Crown who talked about a partnership arrangement, who talked about a partnership arrangement between the government and Con-Force and yet, Madam Deputy Speaker, I would like to describe to you a comment that was written into the deputy ministers report to the Premier on SPUDCO. And this is dated February 17, 2003, and I quote. And it says, and this is a quote, Madam Deputy Speaker:

    The response of Minister Lautermilch to Mr. Sawby is troubling . . . The Ministers correspondence was less than forthcoming in terms of the arrangement with Con-Force . The characterization of this business relationship as a partnership where government enjoyed a minority interest was inappropriate.
Inappropriate. And for that misinformation the government member, the minister of the day, had to apologize. And now that very same minister is looking at entering into partnerships with governments and other parties across northern Saskatchewan to pay for the governments promised highway upgrades.

Well the members on this side of the House, Madam Deputy Speaker, believe that the government should be paying the entire cost of the upgrades. The government reaps the resource benefits from that area. Thats what those monies in part are used for. Why is the government going to someone else to pay the bill? They already pay their road tax, they pay their income tax, they pay their PST, they pay all their fees and other things that they have to pay. So now youre going to go back to them again and demand more money for a road that is rightfully theirs in the first place. But thats not new with this government.

In my own constituency, No. 48 Highway . They let it deteriorate to such a state that the heavy trucks on that highway were no longer driving on the highway, they were driving on the municipal roads and wearing them out. So what does the government do? They go to the municipalities, to Maryfield and to Walpole RMs and say, gee isnt that terrible that your roads are being pounded out? We have a partnership for you. If youll pay for 50 per cent of the highway, well fix the highway so they wont drive on your municipal roads. There was no corresponding offer to reduce their fuel taxes or their income taxes or their PST or any of the other monies that the government collects from the people living in those two RMs. But theyre expected to pay, Madam Deputy Speaker, for half of the highway.

You know theres talk of building a bypass around Regina. Are the tax payers, property tax payers of Regina going to pay half of the cost to build the bypass around Regina? You know, I doubt it. I dont think the government would dare go to the tax payers, property tax payers of Regina, and demand that they pay half of the cost to build a bypass around Regina.

But they have no qualms whatsoever of going to two RMs or going to northern Saskatchewan, to the government and other parties there and saying, if you want your road fixed then youve got to pay for it. Well most people are already paying for it, Madam Deputy Speaker. Theyre already paying just like every other member, every other person in Saskatchewan is paying. So why do they have to pay extra? Why? Because the government is forcing them to with threats.

You know, in another time, in another jurisdiction, in another venue, it would be called extortion. If Al Capone came into your business place and said, you know, fire is a real threat, you know, theres so many people are getting Molotov cocktails thrown into their stores and theyre all burning up. You know, if you pay us well protect your establishment.

An Hon. Member: Al Capone used to hang out in Moose Jaw.

Mr. DAutremont: Thats right. In fact is some of the hotels in Moose Jaw burned down even.

So, Madam Deputy Speaker, you know, so Al Capone and his colleagues were going to protect that establishment from those arsonists, you know. And as long they paid then there was no fire, but if they quit paying all of a sudden there was problems. And that is exactly what this government is doing. If you want your highway fixed, pay us. If you dont pay us, were not fixing your highway and theyre going to destroy your municipal roads or in northern Saskatchewan youre not going to have any roads.

That, Madam Deputy Speaker, I believe is absolutely wrong. The people of this province have paid for those roads and highways and the government has no right charging the people in those areas again to get those roads.

An Hon. Member: More. More, Dan, more.

Mr. DAutremont: Oh yes. Im just turning the pages here for my next sticky.

And you know, I listen with interest to the member from Saskatoon Eastview speaking the other day, and actually the member from Saskatoon Rosemont today, speaking about the issue of midwifery . . . Regina Rosemont, about midwifery.

You know, I remember this issue coming forward probably six years ago or so. We had a group from the midwifery association came and made a presentation to us, gave us their pitch as to why we should be supporting midwives in this province. And we did. We believed that they offered a valuable new possibility within the health care system new to Saskatchewan, certainly not new to other jurisdictions. There have been midwives, perhaps in other provincial jurisdictions. I know there have been. But certainly in England and in Europe the practice of midwifery is well-known and utilized.

But it was interesting listening to the members opposite talk about that because in the statement here, the Speech from the Throne, it talks about:

    Midwives will offer their skill and training as part of multi-disciplinary teams in hospitals . . .
Very good. Very good. But it sets off some alarm bells for me as well because there is only five or six midwives in this province. Does that mean that there is only going to be five or six multidisciplinary teams in this province? What happens in those hospitals where there isnt a midwife? Are they going to lose their obstetrics? You know, is Estevan or Yorkton or North Battleford or Moose Jaw, if they dont have a midwife, are they going to lose their obstetrics? I think thats a real problem, Madam Deputy Speaker, that I think the government needs to clarify.

Are they planning on eliminating obstetrics in those hospitals that do not have midwives? Because, Madam Deputy Speaker, I remember a campaign back in the 80s where the NDP ran around the Assiniboia constituency telling the constituents there in a by-election that the government of the day was going to close every hospital in that constituency. There was five of them. The NDP went around and said that the government of the day was going to close every hospital in that constituency.

Well, Madam Deputy Speaker, when the NDP became government in 1991 they closed four of those hospitals. It wasnt the previous government administration. It was the NDP that closed those hospitals.

And so when you take a look at this, five or six midwives, theyre going to be part of the multidisciplinary teams. Does that mean the multidisciplinary teams are going to be limited to five or six? I think the hospitals across Saskatchewan need to know whether thats what the NDP plan on doing. Are they going to eliminate obstetrics in all of those hospitals that dont have midwives?

I think theres a serious concern out there, Madam Speaker, and I havent heard the government comment on that because they say one thing and then turn around and do something else. Theyre very good at blaming other people, Madam Deputy Speaker, but then they turn around and do the very same things that they are accusing others of doing.

Now weve seen the province go through amalgamation, the education amalgamation process. And the governments bragging now about providing a pre-kindergarten program for four-year-olds. And there are a good number of four-year-olds that can utilize those kind of services.

The fact is my own son when he was a little guy hes not little any more. Hes way up there used to sit on my knee when he was three and four years old and watch me on the computer. And he was about four years old, and one day I did something different on the computer. And he had not asked me any questions yet about the computer, but he had sat there quite a bit and this one day he says to me, why did you do that? Well what do you mean? Well you did it this way this time, and you did it that way last time. You know, so while he wasnt asking questions, he was certainly learning. And there are a good number of four-year-olds around the province that are capable of handling pre-kindergarten.

But when were looking at expanding education in some areas, we look across Saskatchewan, and we see education costs on the rise. You go to most municipalities in my constituency, and you will see that the cost of education is rising to them. And what do they receive in return? Actual fact theyre receiving less service. We had two schools close, close to me this year so theyre paying more and getting less service, and thats how this government is treating education across this province. They talk a good show, but they dont deliver.

The same with youth the government has been talking about a new Saskatchewan youth award. You know, when I heard that I wondered, what is this, a new Saskatchewan youth award? Theyre going to give youth a medal or some sort of certificate. You know what youth want in this province, Madam Deputy Speaker? They want a job. They want a meaningful job, a job thats going to lead them up the career ladder. You know, is the Premier . . . You know, I can see him right now sitting in his high chair with a fancy ermine stole on and a big silver-coloured wig saying to the youth of this province, let them eat cake. You know. The Premier acting out the role of Marie Antoinette and let them eat cake. So his message to the youth is: sorry theres no jobs, but heres a medal.

Madam Deputy Speaker, the people and the youth of this province want jobs. They want a meaningful job. They want a job thats going to let them grow and prosper in this province. They want a job thats going to let them stay in this province and raise their families.

And why do they want those jobs? Certainly for their own benefit. But they want those jobs so that they can also support their parents and their siblings and their friends and neighbours. Because you cant pay . . . As the member for Coronation Park said, theres no free lunch. You cant pay for our social services. You cant pay for our health. You cant pay for our education unless theres people creating wealth. And the youth of this province want to stay in this province and create this wealth, but the government is denying them the opportunities.

Madam Deputy Speaker, what this province needs is a vision a vision of prosperity, a vision of growing this province where our youth are going to stay here, where their grandparents are going to remain here because their grandkids are here. We need a vision for the future a vision that we will have prosperous streets, prosperous blocks, new buildings going up that will have people in our universities that are able to graduate and come out with a real job. Not with a muck job, not with a job in Alberta, not with a job in Toronto, but a real job in Saskatchewan where they have an opportunity to grow.

And that job, Madam Deputy Speaker, is not necessarily in a Crown corporation or working for the government. When you work for the government youre living on somebody elses taxes. Theres a need for the private sector and the co-operative sector in this province to grow, to play the role that they play across the world.

You know even, Madam Deputy Speaker, even in China the private sector is growing. Its only in Saskatchewan where the government is trying to diminish the role of the private sector, only in Saskatchewan. Even in China the private sector is growing. The private sector is creating the wealth. The private sector is creating the jobs. You need . . . There is a role for government, and there is a role for Crown corporations, but they should not be the sole economic generator in the province as the NDP envision.

You know, we had new citizens I believe there was 15 of them in here earlier in the week that received their Canadian citizenship. We receive an extremely low number of people as immigrants into this province. You know 50 per cent of the year or better, we have no problem with bugs. You know theres no mosquitoes here for roughly six months of the year, you know. And yet people dont come. Why is that?

We certainly have a beautiful province that people love to visit. We certainly have the natural resources to develop a prosperous economy. You know, we have uranium. We have oil. We have huge wheat fields, cultivated land. We have potash. And yet we dont have the economic development that others have. We have the new diamonds that are coming on stream. We have huge coalfields.

And yet why arent the immigrants coming here? Theyre not coming here because theres no job opportunities. Their career advancement is not able to happen in this province. So thats why, Madam Deputy Speaker, people in this province . . . or the immigrants dont come to this province. Even Manitoba, even Manitoba is certainly outpacing us when it comes to immigrants because the government there even though its an NDP government, even though its an NDP government have seen the value of bringing immigrants into this province.

You know, you take a look. Each and every one of us is either an immigrant or a son and daughter of immigrants. So our families came to this province years ago. And they recognized the benefits of Saskatchewan. They recognized the benefits of Saskatchewan.

And so, Madam Deputy Speaker, we need to engage the people around the world. We need to let them know that there are still opportunities in this province opportunities that are yet unrealized. And we need, as a government, to step back and let them realize those opportunities. Let them build their future in Saskatchewan, as our ancestors saw the opportunity to build their future and their childrens future and their childrens future.

But that vision is not here today in that government. They are busy trying to manage the decline and have forgotten if they ever knew what it took to build that vision. That, Madam Deputy Speaker, I think, is a huge disservice to what this province should be and could be. I believe the governments philosophy has failed this province miserably. We were 1 million people back in the 1930s and 40s. Were still 1 million people, and in fact is those numbers continue to decrease, decrease when we should be growing, when we have such huge potential. Its unrealized because of the philosophical brakes that this government puts on our economy.

You know, this government likes to talk a lot about its social conscience you know, how it helps people, how it takes care of those that are more vulnerable. But its forgotten, in its own desire to be strong economically within the governments circle, the impact its having on individuals outside of that government circle.

You know, if I recollect correctly, Saskatchewan Housing a few years ago entered into contracts for natural gas with someone other than SaskEnergy. So the governments new program for natural gas rebates . . . because of the high increase in cost, the government is not providing that benefit to the people who are living in Sask Housing houses. Theyre excluded from that, Madam Deputy Speaker.

The Deputy Speaker: It now being 5 p.m. this House stands adjourned till tomorrow at 10 a.m.

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