Government budgets are a mixed meal. Some of it tastes good and some of it tastes bad. Yesterday both the feds and our province handed us these meals and we have to eat both. Provincially, what tastes good for the average citizen is a slight lowering of income taxes starting on Canada’s 150th birthday. There’s also money assigned to alleviate overcapacity and wait times in Saskatoon and Regina ER’s.
Well, it’s Budget Day in Saskatchewan and, coincidentally, in Ottawa. Here in the Land of Living Skies we get a double dose of financial reality on the same day. Finance Ministers wear new shoes and we prepare to tighten our belts. Today we see what those we have elected to manage our money have come up with in the back rooms of Parliament and the Legislature.
A writer and speaker named Alan Hart I’ve seen at a conference wrote a piece recently called “A Social Media Reality Check”. Some excerpts: Remember those heady days when the answer to every marketing problem was social media? Just a few years ago a Silicon Valley zillionaire said, “if you can harness social media you don’t have to pay for advertising any more”. He wasn’t particularly dumb, he was just reading from the Book of Stupid which was issued to every marketing expert a decade ago. There’s no question social media is a worldwide phenomenon.
Welcome to the first day of spring! You know, I’ve driven to Regina and back to Saskatoon on highway 11 a few hundred times in the last 30-odd years. I don’t remember noticing the green sign as you pass Craik that says, “Emergency 24 hours” with a white cross and directional arrow, probably because I never needed medical help going by the town. Last week it became apparent that, not only is there not 24 hour medical help available but the health centre in Craik has been completely shut down for some time.
A provincial government news release Monday said: “12 Saskatchewan-based companies selected to provide cleaning services in government buildings”. It goes on to say how $3.5 million will be saved annually and the companies have agreed to hire existing government cleaning employees. Notice it doesn’t say they will hire “all” existing employees, the wording just implies the private companies will hire staff they need out of the pool of terminated government employees. The 12 cleaning companies out of the 65 that bid on the contract would already have some employees, would they not? Otherwise how have they been operating a cleaning business? And where, exactly, does the $3.5 million in savings come from?