Letters to the editor – December 8, 2016

Wrong target

Who should pay the price for government mismanagement and waste? Todd MacKay of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation apparently thinks it should be public service workers and the families and communities they serve.

Instead of taking aim at the frontline workers who deliver the services Saskatchewan people rely on, those looking for savings should focus on the reckless and irresponsible spending at the top.

The public service has already been through deep cuts. Government has eliminated almost 2,000 full-time jobs from its workforce since 2010. Today, far too many positions remain vacant, putting pressure on needed services.

It’s easy to call for cuts and rollbacks to the public service.  It’s a lot harder to live without the services that public employees deliver.

Most people would agree that it is important to have experienced, qualified staff on the job when and where they are needed. Most of us want to have reliable snow plow operators clearing our highways, professional corrections officers keeping our communities safe, and dedicated social workers who struggle every day to care for and support vulnerable children and families.

Instead of attacking the people on the front lines, it makes more sense to demand better fiscal management from a government that has squandered revenues from an unprecedented resource boom.

The Sask Party government wasted $40 million on Lean initiatives and increased spending on outside consultants by 228 per cent over five years for a total of $120 million. It is turning over an estimated $25 million a year in liquor sale profits to private companies by selling off public stores. The government increased spending on its executive council staff by 75 percent since it took power.  And who knows how much taxpayers will have to fork out to cover the millions made by private businesses in the Global Transportation Hub land scandal.

The financial mismanagement comes from the top, and that’s where changes need to be made — not on the front lines, where public employees deliver the essential services that Saskatchewan people count on every day.

Sid Wonitowy
Yorkton, Sask.

Oil and water

Over the past years, many people throughout Canada know that oil and water is not a good mixture for drinking.  They have learned that lesson the hard way. Only recently, Prince Albert, Sask., declared a local state of emergency when over 200,000 litres of oil from a Husky Energy pipeline leaked into the North Saskatchewan River, polluting their water source for drinking.

Also, people are protesting and making a stand against oil pipeline installations at Standing Rock, South Dakota, for fear of water pollution.

Water is a finite resource and must be protected for now and future generations.

Suggestions have been made that pipeline critics should try and live without oil and those products derived from oil.

Yes, in this day and age, that certainly would be quite a challenge.

But what about survival, without clean water to drink?

No problem or challenge there, as without water, human life might continue to exist for up to one week. As adults, we still have a lot to learn and be thankful for.

We also must be grateful for the lifeblood of all living things — water.

John Fefchak
Virden, Man.

Cartoon critic

The cartoon in the Nov. 17 issue of The Western Producer was not that funny. In fact, it shows how little he knows about your readership and our political views. Perhaps he should have read your WP editorial on page 10, which was very accurate. It was rural and small town U.S.A. that voted for Trump and thank God they did. It was your cartoonist’s little comment, “God help us all” that really shows his political colours and his total lack of knowledge about our industry on both sides of the border and the people that support your publication.

Gordon Stephenson P.Ag.
Okotoks, Alta.

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