Carnie's Comments - SYRIAN REFUGEES

Remember the "Boat People"?  It was back in the late 70's and early 80's that refugees from Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos escaped chaos, setting out on boats in hopes of landing in a better place.


For over 100,000 of them, Canada was the place.  I remember a number of teenage refugees coming to Central Collegiate in Moose Jaw.  They were scared but we welcomed them and had a lot of fun teaching them about our language and culture.


I can also remember older people saying they'd take our jobs and they didn't belong here.  You know what?  There were no jobs back then.  Those refugees created their own by starting up their own businesses.  They seemed happy to do it and many have gone on to success.


I think it's similar to the situation we're facing now with Syrian refugees moving into our city, except for the fact there are jobs available.  They're going to fill some of those holes and help keep our economy strong.  


We might even have some fun, teaching them about our language and culture...but that's up to you.

Carnie's Comments - SEWER & WATER

There was a time when we were children that we had no idea where it came from or where it went when it ran down the drain.  Remember those carefree days?


Water.  Clean, fresh water.  We go to the tap and there it is.  Real handy.  We drink it, we use it to wash dishes, clothing and bedding...we bathe and shower with hot water from our very own tanks;  In fact, we have so much fresh water we use it in our toilets and flush it away.


Oh, and remember when your water bill was $30 or $40 every three months?  Those days are gone.


City of Moose Jaw administration is telling us to get ready for yet another 9% rate hike for water and sewer next year.  We've been dealing with those increases for 10 years. City Finance Director Brian Acker says no one really knows when it might end because we're facing a $100 million price tag for a number of much-needed upgrades.


Clean, fresh water.  I don't think many of us take it for granted anymore, do we?

Carnie's Comments - AGRIBITION

Canadian Western Agribition is on this week in Regina.  It's an incredible show featuring the best of the best in livestock.  In fact, it's the largest livestock show in Canada.


Beef cattle anchor the show but you'll also find horses, bison, goats and sheep and a wonderful agribusiness trade show.

You'll find friends and neighbours at the show along with over 800 international guests from over 70 countries around the world.  Really.  They come to look and learn and to buy and sell.  


You know, despite the fact the livestock industry is one of the keys to the local economy, most of us have friends who have absolutely no clue how it works.  I was one of those people back when I first got into the broadcast industry.  I was hesitant to cover Agribition as a reporter because I was ignorant.  My first trip to Agribition didn't just open my eyes, it was fascinating.


If you're a regular at Agribition, I don't have to sell you.  You know.  If you've never been to the show, I'd highly recommend a trip into Regina this week.  I promise it'll be memorable.

PC Party of Saskatchewan Leader Rick Swenson

NOVEMBER 23, 2015


This week is a very special week for livestock producers in the province and a big week for agriculture in general because this is the 45th edition of Agribition. Agribition is the place where Saskatchewan livestock producers and producers across western Canada get a chance to showcase their hard work and dedication to the industry. People from around the world come to look at and purchase some of the best livestock genetics in the world.

Many Saskatchewan manufacturers also take this opportunity to present their latest inventions and sell their innovative products to the people from 70 different countries which will be attending Agribition along with tens of thousands of interested spectators. Joanne and I will be part of that crowd. If you get the chance, please take the opportunity to attend and support Saskatchewan's agricultural excellence.

You have often heard me take issue with Saskatchewan's health regions in this commentary. Last week, one of Moose Jaw's civic officials asked me if I had seen the Five Hills Health Region financial statement. I said "no I had not" but that I would certainly be interested in looking at it. I don't know if any of you have noticed, but unlike the provincial government, health regions seem to release their financial statements and not bother telling the public. This is wrong as every dollar spent in that system is taxpayers' dollars.

In fact I have found that these financial statements are not easy to find and decipher but after some hard looking, it appears in Saskatchewan's shrinking economy almost everyone of the senior officials in this health region have large wage increases. Five Hills now has a President and CEO, eight Vice Presidents, a Senior Medical Health Officer and a Medical Health Officer who are now dragging down over $2.7 million amongst themselves.

The President's salary went up by over $47,000. One of the Vice Presidents, the Finance individual, had a handy little raise of $182,000. The Vice President of Corporate Strategy and Marketing had a raise of over $49,000. Big question is....why does a health region need a Vice President for Corporate Strategy and Marketing when they are the only game in town? Could it be something to do with promoting "lean"?

The problem that I have with this whole structure from the beginning is that these people are supposedly at arm's length from government and therefore don't answer to government the same way that people in the Department of Health would. They are governed by a Board of Directors who are all political appointees. I'm sure these are all very fine people but they serve in this position because of their allegiance to the Sask Party not necessarily the taxpayer.

Carnie's Comments - Swift Current

Family, friends and fans were watching.  I was one of them.  We turned the channel on Hockey Night in Canada to watch the new documentary entitled "Swift Current".


It's the product of Sheldon Kennedy's tireless effort to help victims and inspire people to take action against sexual abuse.  Kennedy, of course, was the first of a growing number of men who have come forward with courage to tell their stories and prosecute their former coach, Graham James.


Kennedy's story continues to unfold and the documentary was a gripping and informative update that answered a number of questions and concerns for family, friends and fans.  However, it wasn't just about Sheldon.  The show included stories from others who reached out to Kennedy at speaking engagements.  They agreed to share their stories.  Terrible stories they are.


I took away a number of things from "Swift Current".  One of them is the fact Sheldon is still bitter that no one ever came forward to help him, despite the fact many were suspicious and many heard the rumours.  


There are a number of us who will forever feel guilty for that.  I hope none of us makes the same mistake again.

Carnie's Comments - This 'n That

It's time for "This 'n That" on the daily commentary.  Today, a few gems from social media for those of you who don't partake.


Twitter and Facebook are full of rave reviews from last nights STYX show at Mosaic Place.  One guy says it's among the best rock concerts he has ever attended.  Good to hear!


Here's one;  "I don't always experience 4 seasons on one week but, when I do, it's in Saskatchewan."


How about this one?  "The most valuable antique is an old friend."  Nice.


Even better?  "Sometimes I wish I could just rewind back to the old days and press pause...just for a little while."


And, here's one to think about;  "In all the Bible belt states that are refusing refugees from Syria, you'll find the people attending a Christmas play...about a middle eastern family seeking shelter and fleeing persecution.  But, that's none of my business."

Carnie's Comments - LIQUOR PRIVATIZED

They say it's "Saskatchewan's biggest step on liquor rules since prohibition."


The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is celebrating our provincial government's announcement about opening up the liquor market to what they say amounts to "additional opportunities for businesses and consumers, while reducing risk for taxpayers."


The CTF goes on to tell us, in a news release, that our government is freeing local business to provide the best possible price, service and selection and providing a level playing field by implementing a single liquor licencing structure.  


What about the "risk for taxpayers", you ask?


Well, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation explains, "With the government allowing business owners to meet new demand, taxpayers will no longer be assuming the risk that some bureaucrat knows how best to sell beer.'


It sounds to me like this all makes perfect sense and I wonder why it took so long. 

PC Party of Saskatchewan Leader Rick Swenson

Monday Morning Commentary November 16, 2015


This is my first opportunity to comment since the swearing in of the new Federal Liberal government. Congratulations to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on appointing what appears to be a highly-qualified and gender-balanced cabinet. Congratulations also to the Honourable Ralph Goodale for once again being appointed to cabinet and Saskatchewan's representative around the cabinet table.

With the Prime Minister's commitment to bringing thousands of Syrian refugees to Canada in the next few months and the recent events which unfolded in Paris, France, means Mr. Goodale has his work cut out for him regarding national security. Ralph Goodale has shown a steady hand in whatever cabinet portfolio he has held in the past and I am sure he will dedicate himself to ensuring that his new role as Canada's Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness will ensure the safety of Canadians.

This will be a huge task making sure that there are no terrorists and their sympathizers mixed in with the honest refugees fleeing a horrible situation in the Middle East. Living in the safety of Saskatchewan with our high standards of living and endless opportunities, it is hard for us to imagine that life could be anything but. If an event happened in Saskatchewan like the one that transpired in Paris a few short days ago, I believe the trauma would last for generations. It is a heavy responsibility for Mr. Goodale and others to make sure that it doesn't happen and that we as Canadians remain an open and welcoming society.

Last Friday night while driving home from the Minot airport, I could not believe the amount of natural gas that is being flared into the atmosphere in both North Dakota and Saskatchewan. I know I have mentioned this before in past commentaries but it appears to me to be a tremendous waste of a valuable natural resource. Our Premier is off to a conference on climate change where he will be promoting Saskatchewan's C02 capture process at the Boundary Dam Power Station. At the same time, we are flaring natural gas all over southern Saskatchewan that in some cases has large quantities of sulphur dioxide in it.

I was recently told by one individual who is in the business that we are flaring enough gas to heat the city of Regina for a year. There is probably much more than that being wasted. If there is over-supply in the marketplace today and oil companies don't want to put in place the infrastructure to collect this resource, than why not make it available to local citizens, communities and industries who are close by.

I am told there are ways to generate electricity in small amounts which could then be used locally or sold back into the grid so that SaskPower doesn't have to buy electricity outside the province or burn more dirty coal. Natural gas has been used for decades to pump water for irrigation in many parts of North America. Conversely, it could be used to pump water which has built up with all of the wet years in southeast Saskatchewan. I guess the point that I am trying to make is that we have a resource that is being wasted. Is that waste occurring simply because it helps the bottom line of oil companies? Is that waste occurring because our government has no imagination and would rather concentrate on mega-projects? Or is that waste occurring because all of us have become complacent in a booming economy?

I think it is time we all turned our attention to using our resources in a prudent manner and ensuring that they are around for future generations and not simply being flared into our skies.

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These issues must be debated for “The Right Reasons”.

Carnie's Comments - Community Mail Boxes

I've changed my mind.  


You may recall, earlier this year, I stated that I wasn't really looking forward to the new community mailboxes.  I said I'd be inconvenienced and that I'd much rather have home delivery.


We've had a community mailbox in our neighbourhood for several weeks now and I like it.  I don't have to walk very far to get my mail and I make that trip two or three times a week.  I've had a number of short visits with some of my neighbours and they don't seem to mind the new routine.


Yesterday when I checked for mail, I had another key in my slot with instructions to open up the big box at the bottom to get a parcel.  I did and there it was.  You see, I recently did some on-line shopping and my package arrived.


So, if I still had home delivery, that package would have been taken back and dropped off downtown.  I'd have received a slip in my home mailbox, instructing me to go downtown to get my package.  That would have been inconvenient.


The new community mailboxes...I'm giving them the thumbs-up today.

Carnie's Comments - RONA

Have you heard the news?  We have word that RONA will soon be opening a store here in Moose Jaw.  If you don't know, it's a Canadian chain that sells hardware, home improvement and gardening products.  They operate 516 stores and they employ over 28,000 people.


Good news?  Well, maybe for the consumer but you can bet some local folks at local shops are worried.  I understand the local hardware and building centres already struggle to compete with RONA in Regina.  Some local carpenters and renovators make regular trips down the road where they find more selection and better pricing.


We also have a number of locally, family-owned yard and garden shops.  They've been trying to compete with large stores like Canadian Tire and Wal Mart.  I wonder if RONA's yard and garden department might run them into the ground.


It's a dog-eat-dog world and another big dog is getting off the porch and coming to Moose Jaw. is Westman's only source for community news and information such as weather and classifieds.