October 8, 2021
Lorne Calvert finally called the provincial election. But this had
to wait until he had completed his usual fall fund raising speeches
business communities in Saskatoon and Regina.
Prior to this, the NDP government
launched a major "feel good" advertising
campaign, "Saskatchewan is Wide Open," funded by the taxpayers.
carried over to their pamphlet mailed to all households.
In the weeks leading up to the campaign, the premier presented a long
of new projects and buildings to be paid for by the next government.
appointed seven right-wing businessmen to a new board to manage Crown
Investments Corporation. He announced another new
public-private-participation project for Sask Power.
A range of taxes were cut over the past two years, resulting in two
straight provincial budgets with big deficits. Then he announced even
tax cuts for the oil and gas industry and the northern mining industry.
Who is this premier? Is he really from the New Democratic Party? Or
the old Grant Devine of the provincial Tories? What is the difference?
NDP Government In Saskatchewan
by John W. Warnock
The NDP has now been in office in Saskatchewan for twelve years. The
outline below summarizes the major thrust of the government in the implementation
of the global program for the restructuring of capitalism. In this process,
the NDP government has followed the patterns set by the Labour governments
in New Zealand and Australia, but fear of defeat at the polls has prevented
them from going as far as the Labour government of Tony Blair in Great
policy. The stated goal has been to reproduce the tax structure
that exists in Tory Alberta. There have been income tax cuts, particularly
for those in the highest income brackets. Business and corporate taxes
have been cut. Users taxes have been increased. Cutting provincial grants
to school boards and municipalities has resulted in higher property taxes
and users fees. They removed the municipal business tax. Royalties and
taxes on resource industries have been steadily reduced to about one-third
the level they were during the Blakeney government. To try to make up
for some of the lost revenues, the NDP introduced government-sponsored
The NDP government sold the remainder of the government’s equity in the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan,
Sask Oil, Cameco, and the Lloydminister Heavy Oil Upgrader. It sold Sask
Forest Products to MacMillan Blodell Corporation. It removed the limits
on foreign ownership for the privatized corporations imposed by Grant
Devine’s Tory government. It has privatized most of Crown Investments
Corporations. The NDP has carried out a piecemeal privatization of
the Crown utility corporations, the introduction of public-private-partnership
programs, and has increased contracting out. Since 1982, the number
government employees has fallen from 12,000 to 9,000. Environmental
protection services have been hit hard by budget cuts. At the municipal
lack of city planning has enhanced urban sprawl and the changes brought
by large shopping centres and box stores. Deregulation has promoted
more monopoly control by large transnational corporations.
and rural development. The NDP government endorsed the
closing of grain elevators, the abandonment of branch RR lines and the
construction of large elevators. It strongly supported the move by the
management of the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool to become a private grain company
raising capital on the stock market. It expressed no opposition to the
move by Archer Daniel Midland to take over UGG and the Alberta and Manitoba
pools. It welcomed the expansion into Saskatchewan of foreign agribusiness
giants Cargill, ConAgra and Dreyfus. It abolished the GRIP program to
assist farmers in need. It abolished the hog marketing board and has
actively promoted, supported and financed corporate hog megabarns. It
has provided large subsidies and other supports for the huge foreign-owned
chemical corporations developing genetically engineered crops. It gave
additional grants to Intercontinental Packers and then stood aside as
it was bought out by U.S. giant Smithfield Foods. It gave Cargill a grant
to build an oilseed crushing plant. The NDP announced it would put up
40 percent of the capital to help Broe Industries of Denver to establish
four ethanol plants in the province.
(4) Northern development. In spite of promises made while in opposition,
the NDP government has refused to share resource royalties with the
Aboriginal communities in northern Saskatchewan. Northern development
centres on the extraction and export of uranium, owned and controlled
by two corporations, Cogema and Cameco, both heavily subsidized. U.S.
giant Weyerhaeuser bought MacMillan Blodel, a move endorsed by the
NDP government. The new Forest Resources Management Act grants the
forest giant access to over 12 million acres of forest land with virtually
no regulation or monitoring by public servants. Royalties are minuscule,
far smaller than the costs of maintaining the forest. Massive clear
cutting remains the mode of wood extraction. The NDP has refused to
implement the principles of the Forest Stewardship Council.
social programs. With the cuts to government revenues,
it was inevitable that programs would be slashed. Spending on K-12 and
higher education was cut. There was a major streamlining of health services,
cuts to the budget, and a decentralization of services with a centralization
of budgeting power. The minimum wage fell to one of the lowest in Canada.
Basic social assistance rates were frozen. Food bank dependence increased.
The one exception to downsizing has been the corrections services. The
province has the highest crime rate in Canada, and it also has the highest
rate of incarceration. It has the highest rate of youth incarceration.
Unemployed Aboriginal people fill the jails.
(6) The environment. The NDP
government abolished the Tory’s Energy
Options Panel, and in 1995 abolished the Saskatchewan Energy Conservation
and Development Authority. They had both produced studies advocating
soft energy paths rather than the use of coal. The NDP opposed the
1997 Kyoto conference on global warming, refused to send a delegation,
announced that only voluntary guidelines were necessary to deal with
global warming and climate change. Recently, the NDP government has
been refurbishing coal generating plants rather than introduce energy
and efficiency measures. Water pollution remains a serious problem
outside major urban centres. While the NDP government has been praised
Fraser Institute, it has regularly been given a failing grade by
the Sierra Club and the Pembina Institute.
John W. Warnock teaches sociology and political economy at the University
of Regina. This is an extract from a longer paper to be released soon
by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, Saskatchewan. Warnock
is the candidate for the New Green Alliance in Regina Elphinstone-Centre
for the November 5, 2021 election.