In a world of economic darkness, Saskatchewan still manages to stand out from the crowd. With an increasingly diversified service-based economy, Saskatchewan has largely avoided the deathblows dealt to our neighbors to the west. Our premier continues to receive the highest approval ratings in the country, and our unemployment in January was at a very healthy 6.6 per cent, which is significantly below the national average. With various small businesses entering the marketplace, top-notch health care, public services, the second lowest debt to GDP in the country, and an AAA credit rating, it’s clear that the current government has fulfilled and exceeded their obligations to the Saskatchewan taxpayer on every level. Meanwhile, the NDP party platform is as ridiculous as ever, and the Alberta NDP is offering all too many reminders of the bleak days of Saskatchewan’s past. In short, the NDP has absolutely no hope of winning the upcoming 2016 election, and here’s why.
The Albertan election of 2015, in my strong opinion, puts the final nail in the coffin of any dwindling hope of a Saskatchewan NDP victory in 2016. Thanks to an underperforming PC government and a near 50/50 vote split, the Alberta NDP strolled into power last May. Over the past eight months, Notley has seen Alberta’s crippled economy worsen further than under Prentice’s Conservatives. In typically mind-numbing NDP style, Notley decided that the obvious antidote to an underperforming economy was higher taxes/royalty rates and increasingly strict regulations. Flying directly in the face of any conventional economic logic, among Notley’s first moves were to impose a carbon tax, increase petroleum royalties and to enforce unwanted and intrusive labour reform on Alberta’s agriculture industry. With our own provincial elections fast approaching, the plight of our neighbors becomes increasingly relevant to Saskatchewan.
In Saskatchewan, the NDP is a total disaster. With so few big issues to criticize the Sask Party government over, the NDP is rolling in the mud, digging up the most mundane ‘issues’ in an attempt to conflate them into scandals. The GTH land issue is a prime example; the NDP and their buddies at the CBC have launched a totally one-sided media campaign against the sale of a 204-acre plot of land outside of Regina. As per usual, the CBC and the NDP cite only one source, in this case the third party appraisal of Peter Lawrek, who happens to have precisely the outlook that is most convenient to their story. They don’t even print quotes of the minister in charge, Bill Boyd. The coverage of the ‘scandal’ is so one-sided, that Hon. Mr. Boyd is seriously considering legal action against the CBC. As far as the rest of the NDP’s list of scandals and transgressions, they have launched a noble fight against the ‘gravy plane,’ called attention to ‘cuts’ (because heaven forbid, there be less government), among a host of never-ending and increasingly flimsy attack ads. Their campaign is mystifying, with $5.5 billion in additional spending promises, endless anecdotal “anger”, and more typical NDP tax hike promises; because the NDP.
If I actually thought that the NDP had any chance of even holding a dwindling, flickering, lonely candle to the Sask Party in the coming election, they might really bother me. The good news is, plain and simply, they don’t. Nor do the Saskatchewan Liberals (yes, they still exist), the Saskatchewan PC party (very much hip with the times), or any other fringe group trying to chip away at the efficient and accountable Brad Wall government. The really funny part about all of this is that is seems as if the NDP don’t even think they will win themselves; they’re just trying to be as annoying as possible as they lose. In case you haven’t already figured out by now, I am predicting with 100 per cent certainty that the outcome of this provincial election will be a sweeping Sask Party majority. Frankly, that’s how it should be. Saskatchewan is now more than ever the place to be; it seems that while the rest of the country plunges further into recession, Saskatchewan is immune from the tide. With a thriving arts and culture scene, world-class craft breweries, brand new restaurants, entertainment venues, bars, and everything in between, Saskatchewan is no longer a land (as my high school computer science teacher so eloquently noted) of ‘Crown corporations and Greek restaurants.’ Things are still going great here; and the Saskatchewan people are in no mood for change.