You know a provincial election is on the horizon when the government of the day in Regina goes into overdrive in pumping out press releases about all the good things they are doing just before heading into the election run where government press releases are a no-no.
In the space of seven days, there were numerous announcements regarding new schools, new urgent care centres, infrastructure spending and more from the Saskatchewan Party.
One might question how all the wonderful ideas come at the end of a four-year term.
For example Monday the government announced a new $15 million provincial ‘Urgent Care Centre’ in Regina and another one in Saskatoon, also $15 million.
“These Urgent Care Centres, or UCCs, as we’ve come to call them, will provide an alternative to emergency department care for illnesses or for injuries that are not life threatening, but they do need immediate attention. And this includes mental health and addiction,” said Premier Scott Moe.
It’s an interesting idea to deal with a deficiency that has existed in health care for years, which the Saskatchewan Party has now found a solution years into their mandate, yet just weeks ahead of an election.
Monday also saw the Saskatchewan Party at the doors of the Yorkton Regional High School announcing $19 million for a major renovation project and facility maintenance.
The dollars are certainly welcome since education is a cornerstone of our future, but the announcement’s timing might be questioned, since we were aware it was coming since there was $750,000 in the March provincial budget towards planning for renovations. You expect if they are investing in a plan that the government will follow through with the actual work.
And, to be fair, the glut of last-minute announcements is not something just thought of by the current government. It is essentially a perk for the ruling party to get some ‘feel good’ announcements out last minute in the hopes it will be remembered as voters head to the polls to mark their ‘X’.
Governments of all stripes, at both the provincial and federal levels, are good at wooing voters by investing the tax dollars of those very same voters. They tend to overlook that by electing them to government we have in essence hired them to manage our tax dollars and we shouldn’t get overly excited when they make wise choices – it is their job.
So, as voters, we need to look beyond the photo opportunities of the final weeks of a government, and look deeper to determine if we are collectively satisfied with the current party, or whether we want change.
That is the essence of an election for voters weeding through the rhetoric and determining who best to entrust management of our province the next four years.