Saskatchewan Democracy’s Unsolved Problem Didn’t Fix Itself

Please show you support democracy in Saskatchewan.

Last Saskatchewan election, this happened instead thanks to our lackluster media ignoring the Greens who fielded a full slate of 58 candidates.

A snooze fest of a debate took place, and CBC couldn’t find anyone not involved in the broadcast who watched it. Basically it had the viewership my blog has on a Sunday morning.

I made some effort to fix the problem by showing the broadcasters there was public opposition to their method. Even newspaper columnists who usually have a rosy view of the world were disappointed in the prospects of the following four years.

Touted CCS Technology Not Working As Boasted About

SNC-Lavalin-built carbon capture facility has ‘serious design issues’: SaskPower
Despite conflicts, SaskPower gives SNC another multi-million dollar contract

Mind you, the fact there’s legal action in the cards hasn’t stopped SaskPower from awarding the firm a $4 million portion of the $45-million Island Falls Powerhouse Concrete Rehabilitation project.

Nor did a September 2014 SaskPower carbon capture briefing note, obtained by the NDP, which says SNC “is more concerned about getting paid for the 6.5 million than fixing the deficiencies of our plant.”

It goes on to note “very poor to no support from SNC Lavalin,” and “serious design deficiencies” in the project.

SaskPower CEO Mike Marsh says “because there’s a contract dispute (with SNC) on one job, doesn’t mean we don’t use them on another job.”

I happen to work at the same university, the one primarily responsible for research that made Boundary Dam CCS possible:

Associate professor of marketing at the University of Regina, Lisa Watson, says “of course people are going to be upset” over the issues at Boundary Dam.

The bigger question, she says, is whether they should be.

The consumer push for more environmentally sustainable options and clean energy is a “major change” for government, she says, and perhaps people shouldn’t be upset when projects involving groundbreaking technology don’t go as planned.

Carbon capture has “huge potential, and if it was working properly, we’d be shouting from the rooftops,” she says, and “to not do it at all, I don’t think that’s the right thing.”

Premier Brad Wall touts Sask. carbon sequestration project
Some premiers are sitting out today’s climate change summit in Quebec City, but Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is there, talking up the province’s efforts to capture and store carbon dioxide.
Wall told an audience that the world needs to follow Saskatchewan’s example if there are to be serious reductions in greenhouse emissions.

I tried to find Brad Wall on a rooftop shouting to people about it, instead there is video of him on Sun News TV boasting about it to Brian Lilley, and more than a smattering of articles on the Web boasting about it.
“YouTube’s great, you can learn anything on YouTube.” – Premier Wall

Wall at Boundary Dam CCS

Boyd admits issues surrounding the plant have “a bit of a negative connotation,” adding “I think any time there’s losses, any time there’s problems, there’s certainly a degree of loss of confidence.”
On the other hand, he thinks taxpayers “would rather have SaskPower delivering power to them,” rather than the private power companies that operate in other jurisdictions.

Wow, neat way for Boyd to suggest the alternative to fixing SaskPower is only to ditch the Crown Corp and go with a rob-you-blind private power corporation instead. (The Saskatchewan Green Party is proposing converting SaskPower into a Crown Co-op instead.)

An aware commenter notes:

Myek O’Shea:

Holy spinning neckties Batman! Our loss of confidence is with Bill Boyd and those politicians that chose carbon sequestration over renewable energies. The Sask Party keeps green washing this sequestration turd as if we asked for it in the first place. Want to restore our confidence? Lets go 40% wind and solar by 2020. But on the other hand, maybe tax payers should waste their money on subsidizing the petroleum oligarchy. Oh and ‘groundbreaking’ here is a pun, nothing more.

There’s also the huge matter of SNC-Lavalin’s criminal charges. The Federal government stopped dealing with HP after a bribery conviction for that company.

More from Global News Regina.
“SaskPower says the project is now on target to be fully operational by the end of 2016.”

“Out of the more than 250 companies year to date on the World Bank’s running list of firms blacklisted from bidding on its global projects under its fraud and corruption policy, 117 are from Canada — with SNC-Lavalin and its affiliates representing 115 of those entries, the World Bank said. ”


Canadian Uranium Subsidies to Kazakhstan

Here’s an important story for Canadians, and Saskatchewanians in particular, which doesn’t have to do with the Riders or the Senate scandal.

The Green Party of Saskatchewan (GPS) wants to know why the Wall Government is still subsidizing Cameco. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) recently reported that Cameco owes $850-million in back taxes. And just recently Canada and Kazakhstan signed an agreement to jointly invest $200-million to develop a uranium conversion facility capable of feeding 40 nuclear reactors in Kazakhstan.

If uranium is profitable, then Kazakhstan should be able to build a uranium conversion facility without Canadian tax dollars. Why are the hard earned dollars of Saskatchewan taxpayers being used to build an expensive uranium conversion facility in Kazakhstan? This is not right. Saskatchewan people do not pay taxes so that our governments can squander that money in risky foreign ventures. Cameco’s back taxes should remind all Saskatchewan people that the uranium industry would not exist without government subsidies. If we cut uranium subsidies, this industry will die a natural death. The Wall Government should sell its shares in Cameco and urge the federal government to stop using our tax dollars for risky foreign ventures.

Victor Lau, Leader of the GPS
Regina, Saskatchewan

Paint a Rosy Picture

Murray Mandryk is concerned there may be no “real opposition” in the coming legislature. I’m not surprised that there won’t be. The Green Party of Sask. has been campaigning on that expression, and that has probably not been noted in Mandryk’s paper or elsewhere in the SK media. The fiction presented to the SK people throughout the campaign, with the help of the Sask Party and SK NDP, has been that this is a two-way race, when really it’s a democracy with 6 parties, and an independent candidate. Every voter has at least three options on their ballot, but every breath from the media is Sask Party vs. NDP. The silent message from our journalists is that the Greens are not fit to be considered.

The “real opposition” to the governing parties of the last 20 years is the Green Party of Saskatchewan, they are the clearly rising party of the province, while the Liberals and the NDP are in sharp declines. Perfectly fit or otherwise, that’s the decision of the electorate, who is getting incomplete information from the media. Unfair media coverage during an election is regulated by the Elections Act, because it’s well known that the media impacts perceptions about political parties. If a party isn’t given a fair shake by journalists, they are quickly dismissed by others, rightly or wrongly.

When the media ignores the real opposition, and picks a failing party to go head to head with the widely popular Wall persona, why do you think the Sask Party is polling as having an easy cruise to a blowout majority? Link’s reputation has been ruined not only by his actions, but by a well funded smear campaign run against him in the run-up to the election. Wall’s reputation has people buzzing about him being in line for Conservative Party leader (Prime Minister). Making the campaign NDP vs. Sask Party delayed the Greens, Liberals, and PC’s chances to 4 years from now, and harmed the democracy in our province.

Additionally, if the NDP are reduced to 1 seat or less, the criteria for the TV Leaders Debate again will change. Unless the TV producers are okay with having Brad Wall debate himself, while taking single questions from hopeful opposition leaders and premiers-in-waiting. Move the goal posts; you’re good at it TV consortium!

Pile of Carp – RBE’s plan to close schools

It shouldn’t take a genius to figure out that kids are better off when they are able to walk or bike to school, and don’t have to get onto school/city buses each day. Sadly, there are few geniuses at the Regina Board of Education. They want to take away more schools, in growing neighbourhoods, so more kids have to be bussed and crammed into schools like sardines. Our kids are not a school of fish! The RBE’s plan is a pile of Carp.

Ultimately, the only way to fight this is to elect a better board. The current board is unable to provide ideal learning environments for the city’s children. We also need a better provincial government – one that doesn’t cripple boards’ ability to provide schools where they need to be. On Nov. 7, don’t elect former RBE board member Russ Marchuck, running for the Sask Party. The choice is easy in his riding – Victor Lau who listens, or Russ Marchuk who doesn’t listen to parents and votes to close schools.

Two things you can do this week:

Below is a letter on a ‘Design Regina’ theme that you can cut and paste and email to
Feel free to add your own comments (like I did in stars). Please cc. to

You are also encouraged to attend the public meeting on the potential closure of Dieppe School this Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2011 at 7 PM at the school, 145 Dorothy St., to show your support for this important neighbourhood school.

Dear Trustees,

**The key points identified in the public consultation phase of Design Regina have identified walkable, complete communities as a keystone for Regina in order to meet the public’s goals. Closing schools runs contrary to the wishes of the citizens of Regina, and their voice should be respected, and heeded.**

I am writing to encourage you to help ‘Design Regina’ by supporting a shared vision of a walkable, sustainable, livable city. This includes helping unique, socio-economically diverse neighbourhoods like Dieppe and Eastview flourish and thrive. The last census revealed Dieppe is Regina’s fastest-growing community, while Eastview has the second-highest proportion of children under age five, after North Central.

Support for schools in these neighbourhoods will make Regina a better place to live and learn, by ensuring children and families remain in close proximity to quality community-based schools that serve as neighbourhood anchors.

Please support Regina’s neighbourhoods by supporting our neighbourhood schools. Do not close Eastview and Dieppe’s public schools!

Regina, SK