Lots to remember on April 4

Remember last year, when the Prince Albert-based North Sask. Laundry closed up shop due to the province’s privatization of health region laundry services?

They centralized laundry services at a large-scale facility in Regina — a shift that necessitated the closure of smaller facilities throughout the province. Prince Albert lost about 100 good mortgage-paying jobs as a sacrifice for the creation of lower-paying jobs in Regina.

During a farewell event at the Prince Albert Elks Club building, Mayor Greg Dionne asked those in attendance to “Remember this come April 4.”

There’s a lot we should remember come April 4, whether it’s local hits to our economy such as the closure of North Sask Laundry or the many positives, like the twinning of Highway 11 and the new St. Anne Elementary School.

Premier Brad Wall keeps saying that the best indicators of future actions are past ones, so prior to April 4 we need to take a closer look at how our city has changed since 2007. There’s a lot to look at, and as a whole things have improved.

We’ve seen a significant expansion of the Cornerstone Shopping District, a number of chain restaurants come in and some significant expansions on the vehicle dealership front. We got a new Prince Albert SPCA, saw the Rotary Trail expand and the Alfred Jenkins Field House go up — infrastructure projects that wouldn’t happen in times of economic hardship.

On the flipside, despite these tidbits of economic good news we’ve seen record-breaking food bank use and crime increases in recent years.

While Sask. Party candidates are quick to point out where our local economy has expanded — in turn, taking at least partial credit for these things — shouldn’t they also take credit for the negative things? Granted, you won’t hear them bring up negative things during an election season — that’s more the role of their opponents.

In the battle of reputations, it’s a real mixed bag for not only the Sask. Party, but also the Saskatchewan NDP and their 17 years of infrastructure neglect and youth exodus from the province. The Saskatchewan NDP record, while a bit further back in history, must also be considered. Although they’re under new leadership, their ideals and direction haven’t changed too greatly.

“Remember this come April 4,” Dionne said last year. While he was talking about the North Sask Laundry closure, it’s advice that should be taken into a much broader context prior to hitting up the ballot booth.

Prince Albert Daily Herald