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Sunday, April 14, 2024
Home Opinion PLEASE – stick to today’s reality and address my concerns

PLEASE – stick to today’s reality and address my concerns

PLEASE – stick to today’s reality and address my concerns

Holy smokes: Mr. Joe Hargrave, our very own MLA for Prince Albert Carleton, read my column from last week. I must have struck a nerve somewhere, because he actually responded to its contents.

Personally, I should thank him for that, as it now provides me with an opportunity to demonstrate why the Saskatchewan Party will continue to duck and weave around direct concerns right up until the next election, if for no other reason than that they really have NO control as to what is happening in the province today.

I actually love it whenever people view my remarks through what they perceive to be “orange coloured glasses”, as it forewarns the reader or listener that their “defense” will consist of attempting to turn debate around by “questioning the question”, instead of offering a solution to the issue I’m addressing at the moment. Still, that person is at least trying to “debate” as opposed to immediately jumping down into the gutter of hate now regularly populated by federal Conservatives, Saskatchewan Party apparatchiks and knuckle-dragging political creations such as the Mavericks or the Peoples’ Party of Canada.

And so, having formally acknowledged Mr. Hargrave’s efforts of civility, let’s begin the rebuttal…

Joe – may I call you by your first name? Actually, I DO wear orange-coloured glasses, but as a former truck driver before going back to university, I wear them at night so as to minimize the glare of oncoming traffic lights. So, let’s start by considering your “not one thin dime” that an NDP personality is alleged to have uttered when discussing needed repairs to the current bridge.

In all honesty, that is probably the most appropriate comment I’ve heard whenever Prince Albert “bridges” are discussed. Our existing structure lacks proper pedestrian crossing pathways, cannot be properly used by bicycles without risk of injury. It is buttressed on the right (blind) side of vehicles in the right lane that allows snow to accumulate at its bottom, causing vehicles to drive almost in the left lane when these uncleared lumps ice up, and has been recently “widened” by questionable construction techniques that have now degraded the weight capacity, thus creating the need for specialized crossing procedures to be used in handling larger construction vehicles used in northern development – and that’s just the part of the bridge going north. Any trucker with more than 10 years road experience would most likely agree with this analysis, thus adding fuel to the debate on “when” the second bridge should be built.

As for the number of individuals killed or accidents occurring along the 10 km piece of Highway 3 being “twinned” on the way out of the city, I note that you left out the increased inconveniences you rendered for northern Indigenous community members, be they hitchhikers trying to get home to “boonies” of La Ronge, Spiritwood or Big River, or attempting to attend medical appointments in Prince Albert or Saskatoon, when your government cancelled STC bus service to the north.

Seriously, why would the government want to start “twinning” Highway 3 now, when it could have started such construction at the same time it started building the passing lanes further from town, or waited on BOTH projects until it could finalize road infrastructure once when they determined how the city’s second bridge would affect future traffic flow? Wouldn’t that be the more “efficient” way to proceed, lessen the number of construction delays, especially during the summer vacation period when people want to go north, and minimize costs to the already strained provincial budget?

As for your contention that the Saskatchewan Party has always had this “touchy-feely” relationship with forestry, please enlighten the public as to which of the statements I made respecting the forestry sector is “wrong” or viewed through my night vision prescription glasses:
• The “Let it burn” philosophy of 2015?
• The lack of reforestation in critical fire areas across the province that have been created since then?
• The ability of corporations to continue to clear cut, without regard to their obligation to replant these areas so as to preserve job potential for future generations or the wildlife displaced by this stupid practice?
• To cut back training for fighting forest fires, often created by the same management practices as caused Fort McMurray to be turned into a charcoal preserve?
• To not “allow” northern residents, particularly Indigenous communities that even the Alberta government now relies upon for their expertise in forestry management, to have a say in this land management?
• As for 1,500 “lost” jobs during 2006, how many (all, actually) were related to Weyerhaeuser’s decision to take its money and run? That doesn’t even come CLOSE to the more than 4,000 jobs lost across the province in 2017 when, to the best of my knowledge, the SP were the political game in Regina.

Honestly, if you’re going to quote statistics, could you at least allocate the conditions creating such numerology?

Actually, most of these same questions were first asked by individuals reporting for other media sources such as CBC, CTV or Global. I also recall that the Herald ran articles detailing industry concerns as to the ability of our local forest inventory to support proposed Paper Excellence’s anticipated production levels (“Conservation group concerned over logging plans for Island Forests”, March 15, 2022, p. 3), nor that local realty sales personnel are finding business a tad on the slow side due to the “lack of product” (“SRA head concerned about lack of housing supply in Prince Albert”, February 8, 2022, p. 1).

Now, I realize that within a conservation group one is extremely likely to find devious agents ascribing to the deadly “social democracy” movement, but I have YET to find a realtor who would even dare to display an “orange” support sticker during an election campaign.
The point is, I spend a lot of time listening to what others have to say about subjects that are relevant to them, and then I write about them to see what others might think of their musings. Most of these people don’t even have an orange “Every child matters” T-shirt in their wardrobe, and not all of them vote NDP – BUT I listen to them, nonetheless. and then seek answers where possible.

And so I must ask you: Did you at least do me the courtesy of answering even ONE of my questions respecting the problems still to be worked out regarding at least accommodation factors that will affect the city once Paper Excellence opens for business, or are you merely expecting “market conditions” to resolve these problems without adversely affecting social conditions and intensifying racial tensions in the city?

Actually, no, Joe, you didn’t… but then, you seem willing to at least begin a debate, so let’s do this another time – maybe even at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon. At least then I wouldn’t have any trouble getting a ticket at the door…