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Let's rid Saskatchewan of political parties
U.S. President Barak Obama has branded him a corporate welfare bum --- town gossips claim he is a trillionaire --- the Old Timer lives in subsidized housing and spends his days dumpster diving

17-Jan-07 -

Let me ... warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party ... This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy ... The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism.
George Washington - Farewell Address 1796

To their Manhattan office, five years ago, Goldman Sachs recruited Brad and Bev Wallis, both B. Comm. (Finance) from the U. of S. in Saskatoon. Bev and Brad settled into a 25th floor apartment in midtown Manhattan. Early one Saturday morning their next door neighbour leaped off his balcony. As any decent Saskatchewan neigbour would, Bev baked two dozen bran muffins, knocked at the the neighbour's door. The neighbour's wife, fearing poison, slammed the door in her face. The Wallises moved back to Saskatoon, have been happy ever since.

Every Canadian knows that Saskatchewanians, be they from farms or cities are sincerely friendly. Walk along an Albertan street and everyone waves. But that's the end of it. One couple lived in Pincher Creek for 15 years, never saw the inside of their next door neighbours' homes. In Saskatchewan, no one waves (Saskatchewanians are kinda' shy) but, within weeks, every new neighbour has partied with everyone on the block, has shoveled out the drive of the old folks next door, has had their kids baby-sat, has, if they've tried to play Ms. Hoity-Toity once, never done it again. Be a Saskatchewanian from the city or from the country, he believes, she believes, that kids should be educated - free - right through university (the U of S is the most successful university in Canada) - knows that government bureaucrats shouldn't run ordinary shops and factories, never mind what wooly-headed left-wing professors say - never mind what wooly-headed right-wing professors say, every Saskatchewanian of sound mind knows that, if capitalists have their way with sewers, waterworks or transit or insurance monopolies or try to make a profit out of health care Saskatchewanians, from city and county alike, are going to be screwed - and country folk and city folk chuckle at anyone who believes otherwise.

It's part history and part knowing about life. Tommy Douglas, a fighting little Scot, reflected but did not set the tone - that's the kind of government Saskatchewan has had since the days of Jimmy Gardiner, with one exception - the fumble bum Grant Devine Government. In 1982 Saskatchewanians got bored with good government - thought they needed a change of political party, elected the Conservative Devine government. There were two types of Tory MLAs under Devine - the dumb and the greedy - Devine, himself, was both. From the NDP Devine inherited the best balance sheet in Canada. After eight years, Saskatchewanians threw Devine out - many of his cabinet ministers were convicted of plundering the treasury - some went to jail - Saskatchewan was bankrupt. Gradually NDP governments have cleaned up the mess.

This year Saskatchewanians are bored again - with Premier Lorne Calvert, a dour United Church Minister who, nevertheless, has given Saskatchewan the second best balance sheet in Canada. The right-wing Saskatchewan Party, led by a municipal spin-doctoring evangelical from Swift Current, is a poor rehash of the old Devine Tories. Country evangelicals have turned rural Saskatchewan against the NDP. The Saskatchewan Party will win this year's general election - will try to privatize health care and probably water-works, sewers, transit - will try to faith-base schools and universities. Eight years from now or maybe just four - Saskatchewanians will have another sorry mess on their hands.

The Eye Opener blames the political party system. The political party system breeds bloated rhetoric and polarization and corruption. And tunnel vision - only two political parties means only two ways of skinning a cat. Bureaucrats and spin doctors in party central committees, not local voters, decide what's best for Saskatchewanians. Every MLA or MP must tow the party line, answers and speaks for his or her political party, not the people of his or her seat. There's no mention of political parties in Saskatchewan's constitution (the Saskatchewan Act); none in the constitution of Canada (the BNA Act and the Constitution Act of 1982). Why does any province or Canada itself need political parties - let every provincial and every federal riding elect it's representative on a "non-partisan" basis - based on his or her own merits - unclouded by party line. That's the way it's done in every town, city and village in Saskatchewan - in the Northwest Territories, successfully - in Nunavut, successfully, and, successfully, in the State of Nebraska.

  • For the text of Washington's Farewell Address Click Here and for information on its background Here
  • For information about non-partisan governments (without parties)Click Here
  • For a background on the Province of Saskatchewan Click Here and a copy of the Saskatchewan Act Here and the BNA Act Here and the Constitution Act of 1982 Here
  • For information on government in the Northwest Territories Click Here and Nunavut Here and Nebraska Here
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To go to the main story Let's rid Saskatchewan of political parties CLICK HERE has jaded view of Saskatchewan politics Now I don't really appreciate your article about getting rid of political parties in Saskatchewan. To me that would be plain dumb and would probably cause the Blue Moon Café in Maple Creek and the Princess Café in Saskatoon to close from lack of customers ... The other point is that if they don't have political parties what will all those unemployable lawyers do for a paying career after they realize that there is no other work in Saskatchewan but working at the public tit? If those few people who are left don't have politics to talk about they'l probably leave also. Johnny Doubting
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