The first economic priority is for ourselves to look in the mirror

Nipawin - July 12, 2000 - By: Mario deSantis


I am just laughing. I visited the web site of Ensign and I saw my article "Saskatchewan Economic
Priorities: Education, then Lower Taxes, and not more Phoney Research" and the accompanying
artistic image by Timothy Shire. I am pictured in this image and my first thought was that I appeared
as a preacher and therefore I felt that possibly my article was too naive or not clear at all. Anyhow,
I am Italian and only after few e-mail exchanges with Tim I realized how far away I was from
understanding my own picture in his image. In this image I am pictured as an Irish Leprechaun.
Tim explained to me that:

pot of gold

"the leprechaun is an interesting legendary figure who was essentially a form of fairy or elf who could grant wishes and of course had a reputation for pulling some very nasty tricks on people. The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is what they are best known for as it seems they like humans were for ever struggling to find this illusive wonder."

clean up our own house

Well, now that I have been reflecting a little on the above mentioned article I must say that I could
have sounded really a bit naive in preaching the priority of education above any other economic
means to leverage our growth. We must realize that economic decisions become relevant only after
we do our own work first, that is we must clean up our own house first, and we have not done so for
many years. This brings me to think about the weakness of getting relevant and critical information
from the statistical ranking of economic phenomena.

we misspend our resources

The fact that the United Nations ranked Canada first as the best place to live in the world, and that
the World Health Organization ranked Canada 30th as health care must be understood in terms of
the way these rankings were computed, and what is strange is that the public never gets to know
such important subtleties. Now, can we really say, here in Saskatchewan, that we need more money
in education? In a genuine way it is very apparent that we need a very strong emphasis in education,
but what does it mean? Does it mean to spend more money in education without any further change?
Absolutely not. What we need to do is to stop serving ourselves when in power. It doesn't make
sense to spend more money into education when we misspend our resources.

business in secrecy

Last year, the Saskatoon Public School Board set the renovation cost for the Brunskill School at
$4.5 million and now this cost appears to have ballooned to $7.75 million(1). And the public school
board doesn't want to divulge this information to the public. How can we rationalize this state of
affairs when a new similar school has cost $8 million? The public board is supposed to be the
servant of the public, yet they go on in doing their own business in secrecy and against the interest
of the public and of the students. And this is not an isolated incident of mismanagement in education.

has no clue

I can recall that this same board was embroiled with the saga of the multimillion dollar education
centre in Saskatoon(2), and what is worse, the Department of Education has no clue of the
philosophical understanding of education(3).

economic decisions

It is a nightmare, we cannot make economic decisions anymore since we don't have the conceptual
framework of education, not to say that we lack the responsibility to look after our own children.
And this state of affairs is symptomatic in any governmental sector, especially health care!

first economic priority is for ourselves

Yesterday, I came across the that the health budgets should not be secrets(4); well what is
new, we stated a long time ago that this was not only a matter of courtesy for the public to know,
but it was matter of the government and of the districts breaking the law(5)! Our government
misspends money, mismanages resources, breaks the law. How can we have an expectation that
this government can make further economic decisions? The first economic priority is for ourselves
to look in the mirror, and it is not education and it is not less taxes either


Brunskilling me softly with their song, Straight Talk by Randy Burton, The StarPhoenix, week of July 4, 2000, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan


An Education inquiry sought: a Bravo for Mr. Ted Merriman! By Mario deSantis, May 19, 1999


Systems Dynamics in Education: Failures of the Current System, by Mario deSantis, March 20, 1999


Health budgets should not be secrets: commissioner CBC Saskatchewan Web Posted | Jul 10 2000 6:59 PM EDT EDT


District Health Plans: Breaking the Law Again and Again, by Mario deSantis, May 10, 2000