Community Columns

Carnie's Comments - GOVERNMENT DEBT

When you consider how much of our hard-earned money goes to taxes, you can't help but wonder HOW our governments could be in debt.

 

Results from a recent Fraser Institute study show interest payments on debt eat up the revenue at the expense of other priorities.

 

The study focussed on the growth of government debt since the recession in 2008 and 2009 and found interest payments on government debt in Canada takes a sizeable share of revenue, leaving less money for our priorities...things like schools, hospitals, highways and lower taxes.

 

For most of us, I think it's safe to say, the numbers border on incomprehensible.  The Fraser Institute found since the fiscal year '07/08, Canada's combined federal and provincial debt has increased from $823 billion to more than $1.2 trillion.  How about a number we can relate to?  That's $34,905 for every man, woman and child in Canada.

 

Something to think about next time you hear about elected officials abusing their power and misusing our money.  Something to think about the next time one of our finance ministers delivers a budget.  

 

 

Carnie's Comments - FOOD COSTS

If it's just you or just you and a partner, you may not have noticed a big change but, those with growing families are talking about it.  The cost of groceries.

 

The annual food inflation rate, according to Statistics Canada, is at 2.7%.  They're blaming the rising costs for beef and pork...up about 7.5% since January.  Chicken is back to being the cheapest meat on the market.

 

Fruit and vegetable prices are up about 4%.  

 

Why?  Well, the experts say a low inventory of cattle and hogs across North America is the reason for hikes in beef and pork.

 

Bad weather and disease are to blame for the rising cost of produce.  The Florida orange crop, for example,  is at a 24 year low, driving orange juice prices up to their highest levels in two years.  

 

It's estimated, Canadian couples with children are now spending between $700 and $800 per month on groceries.  

 

Is it any wonder why Canadian couples are having fewer children?  Is it any wonder why some couples choose not to have children at all?

MLA Musing July 15, 2014

alt  From the desk of Greg Lawrence, Moose Jaw Wakamow MLA...

 

SASKATCHEWAN OFFERS SECOND FREE FISHING WEEKEND AUGUST 23 AND 24

The weekend of August 23 and 24 marks the province’s second free fishing weekend of the summer. Everyone – including visitors to the province – will be free to fish on those days without having to buy a licence.

 

Due to extreme rainfall and flooding in some areas of the province last month, boaters were advised to stay off some lakes for their own safety and to prevent disruption of flood mitigation efforts. As a result, people may not have had the opportunity to take advantage of the Free Fishing Weekend in July. However, everyone will have the chance to enjoy another free fishing weekend in Saskatchewan.

 

“Free fishing weekend is a good time to try your luck fishing in one of Saskatchewan’s wonderful lakes and rivers, and to introduce new anglers to one of the province’s most popular outdoor activities,” Environment Minister Scott Moe said. “Sport fishing attracts more than 225,000 residents and visitors to our province, and generates more than $300 million each year.”

 

Free Fishing Weekend does not occur in national parks, and anyone planning to take fish out of the province must purchase a licence. All other fishing regulations apply, including possession limits, reduced limits and closed areas on some lakes and rivers.

 

More information about fishing in Saskatchewan can be found in the 2014 Saskatchewan Anglers’ Guide, available wherever fishing licences are sold, or online at saskatchewan.ca/fishing.

 

 

Government Supports Province-Wide Access to Online Learning Resources

The Ministry of Education is providing support on behalf of PreK-12 schools for the Multitype Database Licensing Program (MDLP). This program helps libraries across the province to pool funds to jointly purchase licenses to electronic information resources, giving students, teachers and library patrons access to more than 18,000 online journals, newspapers, reference books and more.

 

A wide range of provincial partners, including provincial and First Nations school libraries, post-secondary libraries, public libraries, and special libraries, such as the legislative library and libraries in the health regions, have access to research appropriate materials through the MDLP.

 

Demand for access to digital resources is rising. In 2013-14, preK-12 schools increased their access to the online resources by more than 40 per cent compared to 2012-13.

The Ministry of Education’s contribution on behalf of preK-12 schools for 2014-15 is $186,132, a three per cent increase from 2013-14. The Ministry of Education has contributed to the program since the 2001-02 fiscal year.

 

For more information, visit the Ministry of Education's website at www.education.gov.sk.ca/Multitype-Database-Licensing-Program.

From the Desk of the Mayor

Most of us think of summer as a time when things slow down. We can relax a bit more with family and friends, and maybe even get away for a holiday. For the City of Moose Jaw, summer is anything but a slow time of year.

In many cases, temporary staff are hired to support our regular workforce, and as much work and activity as possible is packed into a relatively short outside maintenance and construction season.

Streets, roads and sidewalks are a priority, and crews have been working since early spring to repair winter damage and general wear and tear on city streets. The City has two pothole crews consisting of two employees on each crew repairing potholes with “hot mix” asphalt.The pothole crews follow priority streets similar to snow removal operations -- arterials, bus routes, collectors then residential streets. Major potholes are repaired with minor pavement deficiencies to be patched later.

Presently, all Arterial streets have been repaired of major potholes and 25 percent of the Collectors completed. At timesthough, crews are returning to Arterial and Collector streets to repair potholes where the “cold mix” asphalt used in early spring repairs has failed.

Additional crews will be added to this work with the expected arrival of a new pothole truck tentatively scheduled to be in operation the first week of August. This will allow us to double the production and target residential streets for repairs.

A significant amount of work has taken place so far this summer on replacement of damaged sidewalks and curbs. This was an area of concern to many residents and I’m pleased there has been so much accomplished to date. There is certainly more to do, but good weather this summer has given us a chance to put a significant dent in a much needed area.

The City previously had a backlog of 152 major patches required on streets dug up for water main repairs or hook-ups. Of these 152 backlogged patch locations, 110 have been completed with the expectation that if the weather remains agreeable, the backlog will be cleared and repairs will begin on any excavations done this year.

In addition to potholes and patches, City crews and contractors have rehabilitated seven blocks of pavement and eight more are scheduled to be paved in August. Tenders are being prepared for cast iron water main replacement, major work has started on the East Feeder Line, construction is well underway on the new CPR Dam, androad building has started at the new Hospital site.

This may not be the most exciting column, but as tax payers, you deserve to know how your tax dollars are being spent and what has been accomplished since City Council set infrastructure as our priority.

It has taken our city years to get to the state it currently is in and it will take a few years to rebuild and replace our aging infrastructure.This is just the beginning of what will be a long process. Please be patient with detours and delays. The end result will be well worth it.

Carnie's Comments - PM in SASK

You know, as is the case with all of our Prime Ministers in Canada, his popularity is up one day and down the next, even amongst long time Conservative Party of Canada supporters.

 

Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  What do you think of him?  

 

There are a number of things that I don't like about him but there are some things you just can't argue with, including the fact the Canadian economy has never been so strong.  The Prime Minister pointed that out when he addressed supporters in Saskatoon last night.  Earlier in the day he was in Air Ronge, 380 kilometres north of Saskatoon, to announce funding to help meet the skills shortage in the northern Saskatchewan mining industry.

 

THIS is the thing I like most about our Prime Minister.  He knows where we are.  He comes to our province from time to time.  He knows we exist and he knows Saskatchewan people and resources are driving our national economy in the right direction.

 

He knows.  He visits.  I like that.

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