Legislative Report (22 December 2006)

2007 Promises To Be Decise Year in Saskatchewan Politics

2007 promises to be an interesting year for politics in Saskatchewan. Depending on what happens nationally, voters in Saskatchewan could be going to the polls in a provincial election as soon as this spring or perhaps in the fall. Moreover, while the warmth and glow of the Christmas season may linger for a few more days, there is every indication the political heat is about to be turned up.

The NDP is facing a number of critical problems. Their biggest problem is that the NDP’s level of public support remains stagnant. Despite recent moves aimed directly at boosting their fortunes, independent polling information suggestions the NDP is finding it extremely difficult to escape their dreadful record created during 15 years in government. According to Sigma Analytics, a Saskatchewan-based polling company, the NDP is trailing the Saskatchewan Party by 16 points. What’s even more alarming for the NDP is the Lorne Calvert’s dismal numbers. When you mention the Premier’s name, voter support for the NDP drops.

These numbers are having immediate consequences. Long-time NDP cabinet minister Eric Cline, viewed by many in the province’s business community as a voice of reason within the NDP, has announced he is not seeking re-election. At a hastily called news conference in Saskatoon, Lorne Calvert was questioned closely on the polling results. He was asked if there will be further announcements about cabinet ministers abandoning ship. The Premier could not rule out that possibility.

We are also seeing, in the words of a recent Star Phoenix editorial (November 22nd, 2006) a Premier “madly spending his way to the next election” with “…the spigot on the public treasury to open wider”. Witness the $900 million election slush fund that has been set aside to buy votes in the next election. Witness the creation of a so-called “infrastructure fund” with no rules on how money should be spent—a fund that was also recently used by the NDP to fund projects in constituencies where the vote was extremely close in the last election.

Voters are going to put all of this in context. They will remember the NDP has shown it will do anything and say anything as they try to hang on to power for another term. 2007 is shaping up to be an interesting and exciting year politically in Saskatchewan. I’m asking voters to remember that Saskatchewan has tremendous potential, and the next few years will be crucially important to our long term future. The only real way to get Saskatchewan back on the right track is by electing a new Saskatchewan Party government.

If you have a question about this report or any other matter, just Contact Lyle.

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