It’s often said that one week is a long time in politics, and a month can be an eternity.
For quite a while now, Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall has finished on top of any polls that are taken about who is Canada’s most popular premier. Manitoba’s Greg Selinger comes in dead last.
However Premier Wall did not have a great first month of 2015. The falling price of oil could cost the Saskatchewan treasury as much as $800 million this year. The Premier is steadfastly determined not to run a deficit, or raise taxes. No doubt the most creative people in both Hollywood AND politics are the accountants, and the budget that Wall and company will bring down just over a month from now will be fascinating to see.
The other blow that the Wall government suffered was in the Supreme Court of Canada. The Justices declared that the Essential Services Act, which was approved by the legislature in Regina, shortly after Brad Wall became Premier in 2007, is unconstitutional. The aim of the bill was to designate who in the public sector was forbidden to strike. In a nutshell, it effectively prohibited almost all public sector employees from striking. The Supreme Court said that violates their rights under Canada’s Charter.
Wall says they will try to work something out to answer the ruling, but Saskatchewan’s response might be to invoke the Not Withstanding clause in our constitution.
Larry Hubich has been president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour for more than a decade. Despite many requests, Hubich has never been invited to a one on one meeting with Brad Wall. The word ‘shameful’ seems inadequate to describe what that says about the lack of respect that the Saskatchewan government has for working people in the province.
By the way, under the previous NDP governments, it wasn’t much better for labour. Roy Romanow, the self-proclaimed ‘champion’ of health care in Canada, was the man who forced striking nurses back to work when he was Premier in the 1990’s.
I’m Roger Currie