Government Is Putting It's Agenda Forward

The picture above shows Beattie, West of Melfort, just behind the trees is the former location of their modern arena torn down and sold this fall.

Brendaren Farms - January 29, 2000
By: Edwin Wallace
So, once again Politicians and Academia have ganged up to aggravate the already aggravated farm population in Saskatchewan. That's right; there is going to be still another, top-down assault, on the social structure of our province; another study; a survey, a marshalling of data to support the government's predetermined agenda!

It was announced Thursday, that the Province has commissioned an agricultural economist from the U of S, to determine the feasibility of reducing the number of Rural Municipalities, School Boards and Health Districts - a bigger and better "Task Force on Municipal Legislative Renewal".
That one was unleashed on
us a couple of years ago.

As though the personal and provincial wide tragedy of our Net Far Income being in the basement and heading for China wasn't vexing enough, the great "They", decided that while Rural Saskatchewan was wobbling it would be a helluva good time to kick it's feet right out from under it!

The central argument in favour of all this; the fully justified incentive and excuse for pursuing such a "study", of course, is to cut back on duplication of services and therefore, expenditures. Thus, we can be assured the study will go forward.
Well, maybe that is best.
Assuming that it's terms of reference are broad enough, and the decision maker's sense of fairness great enough, the study/survey may grant enough opportunity for meaningful decent.

However, on that very key point, we should be very, very dubious. Examples of how our - the people's - point of view has been completely ignored in recent times are; the Crow Benefit removal (federal); the Plains Hospital conversion in Regina (Provincial), and; building a
new public school near Swift
Current (The mad dream of a local school board gone out of control).

So what is wrong with a move to bigger units of social organisation? Nothing! Surprised? Well, I mean it. There is nothing wrong with Rural
Municipalities merging and
cutting some administrative costs and using the economy of scale for such things as equipment purchase, etc. There is nothing wrong with District Health Boards doing the same thing. And with a declining rural population it is likely that School Districts will undergo further amalgamation. IF. And that is the great big factor in all of this!

IF the people directly involved decide that is what they want to do! IF local citizens feel comfortable with all forms of government moving further away from them. Already we see several RMs in the province have joined together as single entities. Those of us, who
continue to fight the local
Unit 75 school board's craziness about building a new school, see the eventual need to cut out a bunch of redundant overhead. Health districts were supposed to save us money - they don't, so we may have to consider amalgamation. (Or, better still dump Health all back in the lap of senior government, which has all the authority anyway, and only wanted to escape criticism of it's mismanagement in the first place.)

But the IF makes the great big difference. IF we heard the government had been lobbied by our local councillors to force amalgamation of RMs; IF the demand by the people that their school districts be enlarged occurred tomorrow; IF the rural urbans wanted to share administration with their local RMs and their citizens thought it a good idea, and IF all of this was evident by the province being besieged by such requests - THAT would be a whole nuther kinda thing!

But the IF is not being considered. This study/survey now in our midst is the tool of a top-down, arrogant government administration that has and continues to put it's agenda ahead of all local aspirations.

I'm Edwin
As a back drop to Edwin's discussion on the government study the pictures on this page were taken between Melfort and Prince Albert Friday afternoon. Though Edwin's country side is different the situation for rural people and the future of this province is much the same everywhere.