Legislative Report (30 August 2007)

The Election Campaign Has Started

A sheep in sheep's clothing.”
(Winston Churchill describing a political opponent "Sayings of the Century” Nigel Rees, pg. 106.)

Make no mistake. The election campaign in our province is now on. Saskatchewan voters may not know exactly when they will be heading to the polls, however, voters can be certain of this: a tired, old NDP government is going to stop at nothing in their desperate attempt to retain power.

First came grants to communities far and wide under the “Building Communities Program”. The community projects given extra money are by and large worthy of support. However, you have to ask yourself: Why was this spending delayed until the weeks before an election call?

Then came the bus advertisements featuring a wolf covered in sheep’s clothing. A brochure obtained and released to the media by the Saskatchewan Party showed the bus ads were part of a broader attempt to suggest the Saskatchewan Party had a hidden agenda that included privatization of the crowns, private for profit health care and a lower minimum wage for our young people. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Who, in fact, had the hidden agenda? Well it appears it was the Calvert NDP. Someone in their campaign headquarters failed to mention to the City of Regina that these were political ads that would go against city policy. The city has a policy that prohibits ads considered demeaning or defamatory on buses. Once the true nature of the ads was discovered, the city pulled down the advertising. Funny, the NDP were adamant the Liberals take down bus ads in 1998 that said “Save The Plains” (hospital) because the NDP considered them political. The ads were removed, and they weren’t even mean-spirited like the wolf campaign!

Then, the NDP’s attack website became active. That website repeats the bogus hidden agenda theme outlined in the original brochure, plus takes direct aim at Brad Wall, complete with extremely selective quotations from media coverage.

Example One:
The NDP website takes this quote from a Star Phoenix article dated September 24th, 2004. It states: “While his parents were entrepreneurs, Wall admitted that the entrepreneurial gene may have passed him by”. This self-deprecating remark is taken totally out of context from an article headlined “What’s the big idea? Sask Party has a few”, that also includes the following observation deemed unworthy of repetition by the NDP:

  • Wall, by taking a lot of time to think through the sectors of the economy and where he sees Saskatchewan’s potential, is setting himself up so he can speak with authority to both urban and rural people who want Saskatchewan to move ahead.”
  • Wall is not an ideologue about whether the province might still put money into the economy in new sectors such as life sciences.”
  • Economic development has not been the strong suit of the Calvert government so far”.
  • Industry Minister Eric Cline felt the need to instantly respond to it and then could find little bad to say about Wall’s paper. In fact, Cline appeared to be downright embarrassed the NDP has been caught flat-footed on honing its economic vision, having delayed the economic summit that was supposed to take place this fall.”
Example Two:
The NDP quotes a small section of a January 19th 2005 article in the Regina Leader Post to suggest it is the universal media opinion that the Saskatchewan Party has had a “year of wheel-spinning—one step back for every step forward. That kind of “selective editing by the Calvert NDP is a complete distortion of an article headlined “New policy book could help Saskatchewan Party take off” which makes, among others, the following observations:
  • Today Wall and the Saskatchewan Party are scheduled to release the policy review of the party’s 2005 policy convention and, if initial indications from Saskatchewan Party sources prove to be true, it may redefine how we view the party.”
  • Both in the breadth and depth of what Wall will be putting forward far exceeds anything we’ve seen from the Saskatchewan Party in the past."
Example Three:
The NDP quotes two sentences from a January 20th article in the Saskatoon Star Phoenix stating that the “moderate new face of the Saskatchewan Party has perhaps been a long time coming”.

Read on in the article, and you discover these interesting observations the NDP chose to neglect:

  • On all of this, the NDP will argue that Wall can’t be trusted. On its website, the party (NDP) already features a selection of quotes from Wall’s pronouncements over the years designed to discredit his aspirations…”
  • Wall himself is an interesting mix of right and left. One of the themes that runs through his policy document is respect for diversity

So there you have it. Rather than trying to put forward honest alternatives and a sincere debate about policy differences and differences in vision, the NDP has lowered the bar. It has chosen to begin an early pre-election campaign with lies, scare tactics and selective quotations. The people of Saskatchewan will see this for what it is—a desperate attempt to hang on to power.

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

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