Time to assess the situation
FTLComm - Tisdale - Friday, February 15, 2008

Canada and most of North America has had to cope with a fairly dynamic winter. Just surviving has been the main item on many people's agenda. But while we have been trying to stay warm, put up with re-runs on television, get ready for the new NASCAR season or blissfully consider the prospects of baseball's spring training some things have been real and others distracting in the news both locally and on a national and international scale.

Let's start at home. The local economy for the Tisdale area is on an good footing as last year's crop was worth a lot of money and though that fortune has been slow in arriving most agricultural people have a good outlook on things as they go into the new crop year. The local ethanol project is looking more and more like a pipe dream as it seems hard up for investment and each day it and projects like it are appearing to be less and less economically viable. Production at Northern Steel seems at par or above as the new owner seems to be streamlining things and I haven't heard people complaining.

However, the retail and service sector of the economy are looking pretty tense. The Tisdale Mall is a pretty bleak place with empty business space and a steady flow of traffic down the highway to urban markets. The price of fuel has not had the effect on boosting local purchases one bit. There are a few holes in the downtown business storefront world yet the level of business activity seems fair for this time of the year.

When it comes to housing, the construction frenzy of the past year remains ongoing as contractors are doing their best to finish up the houses begun in the fall and there are few if any houses for sale in the town. When as modern house comes up for sale it seems only days until a "sold" sign appears on the realtor's for sale sign.

Provincial the big talk of the new government seems to be just that, big talk. It remains to be seen if road construction and rural infrastructure is going to be bolstered or if the present downhill slide will continue. Some signs are positive, there is no question that oil and gas exploration is at its highest level but the provincial government's stance on maintaining low royalties on Saskatchewan natural resources looks just plain stupid.

Down in Ottawa the talk has been about the desire by the present government to trigger an election and Canadian voters like the minority government situation just fine. If Harper does get to go to the polls I am certain we voters will make few if any changes in the way things stand.

The debate about Afghanistan is really troubling. Canadians are dying there pointlessly and the country is mostly in the hands of the people who were supposedly kicked out of power. They weren't. In Kandahar province Canadian forces hold control over a tiny patch of land and the rest is controlled and governed by the Taliban. Government is not telling us the truth about this fiasco.

The real news is the American economy is just plainly in trouble. Low revenue, high spending has put the government in massive debt while the citizens of that country have fallen for dumb real estate scams and the whole economy is on really shaky ground. That means we Canadians who sell 80% of what is made and produced in our country to Americans are definitely facing some bad times.

There are two things about the American news establishment that really urks me. The sorting out process to select presidential candidates is way over the top and deserves far less attention and the second thing is that I don't think I need to know if Britney Spears is wearing panties or not. Americans need to pay attention to the problems in their economy and the social problems that lead to the horrific lose of life by people going off the deep end and shooting fellow Americans.

Right now I want to see warm weather, feel the sunlight on my pale nose and hear the twitter of birds coming back for spring.

Timothy W. Shire

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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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