Wall government gave agriculture portfolio respect

The response to Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s announced departure from politics last week has been largely laudatory — even to the point of eye-rolling, with former Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeting that Wall “will go down in history as the man who turned the fortunes of Saskatchewan around.”

Inheriting a budget surplus and then running five deficit budgets over the next decade during booming oil and commodity prices and leaving the province vulnerable to the recent collapse in prices (and thus revenues) renders Harper’s comment debatable.

Regardless, when it comes to agriculture, the Wall government’s performance was largely positive. For the most part, policy is set by federal-provincial frameworks, chiefly the Growing Forward initiatives, in which the Wall government had input. They have been successful, though the AgriStability insurance program remains a sore point.

Wall was not an activist, policy-oriented premier in the agriculture sector. He largely served to let farmers conduct their business and responded to what they needed.

Early in his tenure, Wall signed the New West Partnership Trade Agreement with British Columbia and Alberta, signalling his intentions to pave the way for a better regulatory environment for the movement of goods in the private sector.

He would later bolster that effort as a signatory to the Canada Free Trade Agreement, which took effect in July. That deal addresses regulatory standards, trucking rules and labour mobility, among other things.

Wall earned national praise for his efforts to prevent the sale of Saskatchewan’s PotashCorp in 2010 to Australia’s BHP Billiton. He outlined his case in an impressively researched speech to the Regina Chamber of Commerce in October of that year, forcing Harper to pay attention. The Conference Board of Canada contends that preventing the sale saved Saskatchewan $2 billon in revenue over 10 years.

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Also that year, when flooding left farms in parts of the province a soggy mess, with more than 70 communities declaring states of emergency, Wall worked with the federal government on a package that was valued at $360 million for Saskatchewan.

During the grain transportation fiasco of 2013-14, in which large parts of a record crop sat in bins because of bad weather and a failure of rail companies to provide adequate transportation, Wall sent a delegation to Ottawa to pressure Harper to take action. The Harper government responded with Bill C-30, the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act, which mandated grain shipping volumes for railways and extended interswitching up to 160 kilometres of an interchange. It was largely successful, so much so that farm groups lobbied for it to be extended pending new legislation.

The Wall government also addressed the almost no-win issue of drainage, chiefly by requiring that farmers acquire permits for drainage on their properties, despite farm organizations calling for a delay. But something had to be done, given that, by one estimate, there is non-permitted drainage on 150,000 quarters in Saskatchewan.

It’s safe to say that in the main, agriculture was a strong file for the Wall government. Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart remains popular, and Wall’s ardent campaign against a federal carbon tax — calling a federal white paper on the initiative “more like a ransom note,” adding he would take the federal government to court over any such imposition — placed him squarely on the side of farmers.

It is fair to expect that the Wall government’s direction on agriculture is likely to be followed by his successor.

Bruce Dyck, Barb Glen, Brian MacLeod, D’Arce McMillan and Michael Raine collaborate in the writing of Western Producer editorials.

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  • ed

    I guess that is why Brad and Steven respectively left the Province of Saskatchewan and our great nation of Canada in the most perilously debt situations in history with about 100 unpopular policy changes need in each case to have it so the citizens can ever see the light of day again financially. That is just brilliant and akin to giving your unemployed kids a limitless credit card and bragging about how successful they look. That is definately great governance. At least it “looks” like it was. Hats off to these guys for sure. Purchasing your own legacy with tax payers money and munipulation of facts. Right on.

    • Stephen Daniels

      So glad Trudeau is fixing that perilous debt situation.And Brad was a decent premier time for him to go as he himself said but all in all he was good for Sask.Not his fault opposition gave him a free ride.

      • Harold

        Perhaps you should spend more time examining Trudeau and the Liberal party before you draw any conclusions. The fact that he is FAILING to fix “that perilous debt situation” is already last year’s news. The debt is skyrocketing and Trudeau’s is also failing to live up to his other election promise’s and is in fact doing the opposite of what was conveyed. There are two faces of Trudeau; one is the face that he gives to the public, and the other is the face that he gives to the corporate globalist elite. The Media does not report any of Trudeau’s or the Liberal Party’s failures, or misdeeds, and therefore we can only accept that there have been none, so the Media then is aiding the “Trudeau-mania”, which is in fact the illusion-mania. Media has been very handy for the cover up of the Prime Minister, and so handy, that you and others can see that Brad Wall and other world leaders are the villains when standing next to the media protected golden boy Trudeau.
        The last “Trudeau-mania” was led by an accomplished Lawyer with charisma, charm and masculine sex appeal, and wealth (Pierre) and this new silver-spoon-mania is led by his unaccomplished selfie-taking feminine son Justin who now in his first real job runs corporation Canada.
        If my direction upwards had to come to me from the mind of a snowboarding drama teacher and world traveling playboy and his new orchestra that elected Trudeau as their leader, I like Brad Wall, would step back and seek something a little more inspiring, self-empowering and more beneficial.
        On a side note, it is comical to watch what happens when Justin Trudeau is without a written or memorized script and then his lack of genuine sincerity and lack of subject matter knowledge is exposed. Like any good drama actor/teacher, he covers up by reciting the script starting at the top or bottom-up in his best theatrical spitting voice and then exits to pose for pictures with his thrilled audience members, and then exhausted, he awards himself with 13 “sunny ways” vacations a year while Canadians struggle to pay for or enjoy even one. It is interesting that at the very foot of the “intelligent” Liberal government there is Ottawa and the province of Ontario and since the Liberal government’s election Ontario’s citizens have become more impoverished. Go figure.

        • John Fefchak

          This leaves me with the impression that the two faces of
          the Roman God Janus are not just suited to mythology; for it is well recognized that the majority of our politicians are too faced!

          • Harold

            Good comment. The Roman God Janis was never a myth; our failure to interpret correctly made it a myth. Any God is representative of a power that cannot be altered by a mere mortal. Gravity is a god for example. The Sun is a god for example and there are many more. The features of a un-changeable power is named god and given a symbol or statue. Christianity have their symbols too because they cannot fathom an all encompassing power so they limit themselves with symbols and doctrine to fraction it. In science these powers are called laws and they’re given symbols and in public interpretation or religion, laws are called god; both law and god are identical and only the vibration of the vocal chords are different.
            God Janis is representative of a power that none of us can alter or overcome and that is our two faces that each of us own. Our secret private face where our own truth and evil is known and our public face that deny its truth. Halloween is its celebration and the face masking that unifies us all whether one participates or not; Janis if you will. Try and remove your two-faced-ness and it is like the power of god is holding it there. What will you call this singular phenomenon and what symbol/identity will you give it? Will Janis do? Satan perhaps? .If you believe Satan then Janis is a myth and if you believe Janis then Satan is a myth yet both are identifying a human frailty that unites us all.
            In Roman times only the Robed Elect could own books and could read and write therefore the public could not read and write but knowledge from books were given to the public orally. The public were exceptionally hungry listeners, as a child is for a bed time story, but they could not read and write. Halls were the public meeting places where the words in books could be heard and thereafter they became churches. (I’m laughing because where do we see robed men today; Judge, Legislature, Parliament ,Churches, who still own the books and paint us colored pictures and give us their symbols, so have we changed even with literacy?)
            Given a picture, the illiterate could speak a thousand words as we do anytime we see a picture. God Janis was only a picture to “read”: and the Illiterate knew more then, than we know today being literates.
            When you bring Janis into it, two faces assumed ordinary knowledge; we are talking about four-faced: North, south, east and west and a man without the benefit a compass.
            Is Roman God Janus a myth? Not according to you and for a good reason.

          • ed

            Good Comment.

        • ed

          Exactly.

        • Jd Francis

          Well said

      • ed

        When you smash up your Dad’s car like Steven and Brad did with the Canada’s and the Province of Saskatchewan’s financial engine and framework, the way forward is expensive, as Justin Trudeau is finding out. Repairs are expensive and take time. Each piece of legislation that needs to be reversed to stop the bleeding can take months, even with majorities. It took the Federal Liberals 4 years to reset policy in the early 90’s to finally stop the federal debt from continuing to coast higher and the following 9 more years to bring the debt back down $120 billion and those years were tough slugging but very miraculous as well. This was necessary after the disastrous policies and shenanigans of the Brian Mulroney government that landed many of his MPs and Cabinet Ministers in the Crowbar Hotel for their crimes. Stevie Cameron’s #1 Nation Bestseller book “On The Take” about the Mulroney government’s crime, corruption and greed documents the era quite extensively. Brad and Steven had no choice but to leave. The difference is that Brad was smart enough to realize it so he could at least attempt at to save face. Steven sadly was not.

        • Happy Farmer

          Maybe the problem is that we as a society allow any government to spend more than they take in. When will society finally be willing to hold ALL governments to a higher level of accountability? Perhaps when we go the direction of Greece??

          • Harold

            Society is not in a position to allow anything when they have not been informed by government on what is being offered. In other words, how can you allow something that you cannot see and have no knowledge of or have any control over? In regards “to a higher level of accountability”, how can there be accountability when the governments are allowed there secrecy.
            An open and transparent government and its Agencies is accountability. The average citizen does not have to be an accountant or an expert per say, but there are many accountants and experts among us who can spread the word of their findings and so forth as information is provided to the public. You don’t have to tell anyone of knowledge that they are a telegraph machine: they just become one and that is what those in secrecy and corruption fear the most and they socially engineer us away from. Now what have we been socially brainwashed to do? Piss on the one who is seeking accountability and call him a delusional activist and keep the party line of government authority. This happens over and over again. Simply, if a government file says that 2+2 =4, on the street it means that 2+2 =4 and when the math is incorrect the evidence will speak for itself. Now what have we been socially engineered to fear; society being wrong – so therefore government is the only level of correctness and they earn their secrecy.
            It doesn’t occur to most that the politician that we are listening to is the neighbor who looks over your fence who is now been elected into government. Does your neighbor know all there is to know and electing him you are now a fool and an illiterate? People have to understand that government are a mass of limited minds and that any full mind comes to them by the inclusion of society’s collective mind. This is why a politician is called your public servant and it is your duty to keep him one at all times. I once spoke to a young politician who patiently informed me about, shall we say, “the facts of life” to avoid details. I responded by saying “nice story” but I’ll give the “facts of life” and you go get it done. Whose opinion mattered when two or more agreed with me in the same setting? Put yourself in the politician’s shoes; would your sole opinion matter if there were a hundred more of me? How then does a politician’s brain enlarge from half-wit? If we don’t enlarge his brain, a member representing corporate interests will. We are in a mess because we have willing become the servant of a half-wit politician and I don’t mean this in a derogatory sense. So how do we fix the problem; by continuously asking the government half-wit to fix it? The things that Canadians are not educated to do are: to pick up a phone, write a letter or email and ask a question or demand a solution or a document, sign a petition expressing a clear and undeniable majority will, and lastly, how to come together on a topic of importance.

          • ed

            The GST cuts that rewarded primarily the 1% at the expense primarily of the 99% with no backup plan is a fine example of moving towards the “Greece event”. Borrowing money to shore up that lost revenue only ballooned the national debt at a unprecedented speed. But it is the national debt and not something that the ultra rich need to worry about much. It’s all good, right!

          • Harold

            The “Greece event” was not spontaneous it was a manifestation of a brewing started by the bank elite many years ago when Greece was impoverished and nearing/in bankruptcy. What is happening in Greece is by design of the bank elite. A few decades ago wall Street went to Greece and offered them a “sweet deal” low interest, money bail out and with confused contract wording Greece accepted the terms and contract. Greece thereafter started to prosper and to “live it” up unaware that the contract’s fine print would cause them a far greater future bankruptcy. The reason the event didn’t happen 5 years ago or more is because the government was afraid to tell the public of their incompetence with Wall Street and that they were now bankrupt so they faked their security instead and now it is impossible to cover-up any further. The newly elected Greece government, is now the newly elected scapegoats. We don’t get real news.
            I’ll finish by saying that the debt is owed to the banking elite, so no, the “ultra rich” want more public debt and not less. The public debt is accounts receivable and we lay victim in money slavery and servitude to their fraud. The “dumb Farmer” (no offense) knows more about finance and investing than our finance minister or Trudeau does by just staring into the field. (offense) Put a potato in the ground and get twenty back. Does Trudeau or the finance minister know where to put a dollar and get twenty back? A farmer places a seed in the ground and more money is produced from out of free thin air and free water. Does the finance minister or Trudeau know what to do to encourage the creation of free money? They only know of one thing. Take the carrot (new money) from you and tax it, license it, regulate it, and give it back so you can eat it or sell it to someone else treated in kind. Does a Farmer deep in debt and loans get another loan so that and he can give the money to the charity of someone rich in wealth? The finance minister and Trudeau do. Is a politician smarter than the average farmer or smarter than the average Bear?

          • ed

            Yes. Hopefully Happy Farmer reads that. Thanks for that.

        • Harold

          Government and policy are a piece of paper; they are not a car or an engine or anything in comparison. More correctly, the government is the bill of sale piece of paper and is not the car, and the car is not the piece of paper. The bill of sale piece of paper does not pay the debt listed on the piece of paper; the flesh and blood owner pays the debt by creating money from past or future labor. The piece of paper which is government does not at any time pay a debt; it is the labor of the flesh and blood that pays the debt. The Liberals (a piece of paper) did not pay down any debt; we did. The repair for the “car crash” is done by the labor of the flesh and blood and the money created when doing so. The repair is not done by a dead a piece of paper with words placed upon it found in some government’s filing cabinet. If the enactment of a government piece of paper is known to have created harm, selected words of the document are repealed or the entire bill is repealed. The act of repealing offers a relief to the flesh and blood but it does not reverse a thing. Once burned you are burned and repealing only means that further burning has ceased. If any Government cannot understand a document and it takes them four years to respond to a harm, at what time do we label them as incompetent? The changing of a simple light bulb would also take four years. If the past conservative government was incompetent in writing a bill and the present Liberals cannot figure out how to repeal the bill, how are they not less competent? It’s all a carnival game my friend. You say that Justin Trudeau is finding out something; exactly what is it? What is Justin Trudeau’s and the finance Minister’s masterful plan – to pay down Canadians debt?

          • ed

            You obviously have a very shallow understanding of how the House of Commons works, but you are not alone in that. It is glacial in speed even with a majority. Paul Martin did get a record number of pieces of legislation thru the house one year under a minority government, but that takes a lot of diplomacy and the things you are doing have to be very popular and in the no brainer category. Tough stuff like adding in more taxes are slower or finding efficiencies after years of incompetence as you have eluded to are much slower even for a majority government. Just the GST cuts alone cost the nation $12 Billion dollars per year per point, (so $24 Billion / year) in lost revenue. Even though it is the rich 1% that pocketed that money in GST savings on their million dollar condos and half million dollar sports cars year on year, it is the 99% not saving 60 cents of GST on their next $30 toaster that will vote you out if you try and change it back. It pretty easy to get everyone on side on a policy that helps you reward your rich friends. It is much tougher to implement policy that would improve things for the majority. The rich throw money at the microphone to get what they want and if good governments counter with a little tax payers money towards the microphone to educate, the rich throw even more money at that podium, cry foul, waste of tax dollars, and shut it down. It is mathematically a much tougher gig for sure. It is much like the mathematics behind the Supreme Court. There are 2000 applications a year. When cases drag on for weeks, just how much justice do you think can happen annually? Out of time? Yes. A challenge? Yes. Incompetent? Not so much.

          • Harold

            You have mistaken my shallow speech as being a shallow understanding of government. I speak in shallow terms to gain a simple and ordinary understanding. What you have offered me is perceptions of your best guess based upon observances that any Canadian can muster for themselves. You have awarded a power to Paul Martin that he does not hold and made diplomacy relevant where it does not exist and made a poor reference to a minority government and the Supreme Court of Canada and justice. The House of Commons means what? (leave out the actors and what they seem to be doing) The Senate means what? Royal Assent means What? and then it is law. Actor’s create justice? I’ll let you fiddle with that one. Perhaps when you figure it out you’ll understand more of my comments.
            The government does not loose in GST cuts. The Tax cuts promote more public spending and further tax returns. Extra public spending promotes company expansions and jobs and more tax returns. Taxation is slower moving in the House of Commons because of the economic damage it causes when they increase taxes. Your logic is flawed. Further, It is the consumer that fuels the rich 1% by government led eliminations of consumer choices and publicly owned marketplaces, that do not favor the 1%. High taxation favors the 1%. You’ve placed the rich man in the wrong position. The lack of money is Walmart’s success for example and publicly owned market places that surround them collapse and jobs are lost. (less government taxation more social tax dollar spending more taxation required- no can do – poverty) Who owns Walmart and what NAFTA deal brought him here and what government signed the deal?
            The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest Appeals-Court and they only receive matters that have already failed in the lower Courts of appeals – IF there is PROVEN cause. Their primary cases are Canadian Constitutional challenges. People, corporation, or government vs an element of the constitution of Canada. Harper went there to gain the right to sell the CWB and was denied. He performed a few parlor tricks with the CWB members and returned to the Supreme Court and gained the right to sell the CWB and you know the rest maybe. Incompetent? Not so much you say. I guess it all depends on your prospective and who ultimately gains.

          • ed

            Very flawed! You need to go on fact not perspective. Some parts of the world are flat however, so you might be right.

          • Harold

            When will you know whether I am right or wrong? If we truly agree it is only because the evidence that I hold has matched the evidence that you hold; there is no “might be” or references to the flat parts of the world.
            Shallow speech; let me whisper a little secret: Socratic Irony.