Sunday, March 20, 2016

On unstable platforms

With Saskatchewan's main political parties having released their election platforms, now is the time when I'd planned to put together platform reviews to better examine voters' options.

But a funny thing happened when I went to what was supposed to be the Saskatchewan Party's platform (PDF). It turns out Brad Wall's party isn't offering a platform by any known meaning of the word. And what's most noteworthy in the Saskatchewan Party's promises is the absence of what are supposed to be priorities for Wall's government.

Let's start with the full list of "new commitments" offered by the Saskatchewan Party - which can be found in its entirety at pages 3-4 of the platform. (Seriously.)

That would be sad enough if the content of those two pages actually consisted of promises which could be considered new and/or commitments. But of the 18 bullet points which apparently make up the Wall government's entire platform for the next four years, fully half merely restate or extend plans already announced or in place. And several more are contingent on oil prices increasing - which is of course well beyond the control of any government.

Meanwhile, plenty of other past announcements which received publicly-funded hype are conspicuously left out of the platform. And most notably, even the sad excuse for a poverty reduction strategy which was hastily slapped together before the election appears nowhere - signalling that another term for the Saskatchewan Party can be taken as a mandate to let poverty fester.

Now, the most generous spin one can put on the platform document is that it reflects a stay-the-course philosophy. But does anybody buy that dozens of candidates and hundreds of staffers and volunteers would be putting in the time and effort to put together a campaign for office - with the assistance of millions of corporate dollars - to serve the grand vision of allowing home-baked cookies to be sold at coffee shops?

Somehow I have my doubts. And if not, then what's left out of the Saskatchewan Party's platform looks to be far more important in defining their direction for the province than what's included.

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