Friday, November 27, 2009

The reviews are in

Murray Mandryk:
Hidden somewhere behind all the ponies, gophers, cheesy moustaches and general warm and fuzzies that Premier Brad Wall has served up at the legislature this week has been a lot of bad news in what's become a bad sitting for his Saskatchewan Party government.
Many of you who watched the meteoric rise in both government revenue and the provincial economy during the first 18 months of the Sask. Party administration had little incentive to worry about such matters.

Most of you are obviously more inclined these days to first turn to the sports pages -- a fact that appears all too evident to Wall's strategists, who have done a masterful job of distancing Wall and company from the bad news and keeping the focus on more pleasant matters.
One might think that governing is about little more than a series of charity events and goodwill gestures like providing protection for the ponies of the Bronson Forest, growing moustaches to raise awareness for prostate cancer or holding a press conference to unveil a lectern for those in wheelchairs that you ordered government carpenters to build.

In the Sask. Party's strategic view, such warm and fuzzy events have the added benefit of portraying government members in their best possible light even at a time when its members can't get through something as mundane as the Bronson Forest Ponies Act without being somewhat partisanly snarky. (And let's not even get into the smarmy and unnecessary partisan games we saw from government members Thursday afternoon as they tried unsuccessfully to ram through Bill 80 that concluded with Sask. Party backbencher Serge LeClerc and NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter going nose-to-nose in the rotunda.)

But the truth be told, most of you likely care little about such internal dust-ups at the best of times. And until you begin to feel the impact of Gantefoer's mid-year finance statement, many of you will continue to feel it is still the best of times.

Unfortunately, there are growing signs that we are no longer in the best of times -- something that even the Sask. Party members appear to be recognizing.

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