Wednesday, November 25, 2009

No reason for optimism

March 2009: The Wall government unveils a budget which assumes that Saskatchewan would be the only jurisdiction on the planet not affected by the global recession, and relies on potash sales to fund over a fifth of the province's operations despite obvious reason to doubt the projection. When the NDP points out the problems with the Sask Party's projections, Brad Wall chides the NDP for not being optimistic.

August 2009: The Wall government acknowledges that its initial estimates were far off the mark, with potash revenue alone sinking by over a billion dollars from the Sask Party's inflated projections. When the NDP notes the sudden turnaround, Finance Minister Rod Gantefoer blames a "negative perfect storm", and says we should hope for better in the rest of the year to come.

November 2009: The Wall government again revises its estimates downward - concluding that even its August revision resulted in an an estimate more than five times the province's take from potash royalties - and finally acknowledges that Saskatchewan itself is in a recession. When the NDP points out the pattern, Finance Minister Rod Gantefoer...criticizes the NDP for not being optimistic.

Now, one can fairly point out that optimism is a virtue as a motivating factor when paired with some plausible vision for positive change. But it's a different story when it comes to the brand of "optimism" that pyramid schemes and economic bubbles are made of, in which somebody who should know better convinces others to stake their fortunes on unrealistic hopes. And it takes particular gall to keep on demanding the benefit of the doubt after two previous sets of promises have already come crashing down.

Needless to say, it's that latter brand of wilful blindness that the Wall government is demanding from the NDP and the province to paper over its incompetence. Which leaves only the question of whether Saskatchewan's voters will recognize by 2011 that when the basis for ill-placed optimism runs contrary to reality, reality will ultimately win out every time.

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