Saskatchewan Liberal Leader Starts Petition

FTLComm - Tisdale - November 19, 1998

The Saskatchewan Liberal party has not enjoyed good fortune for the past four years almost entirely as a result of their own actions. Disunity within the party lead to the ousting of their leader Linda Haverstock in a bitter divisive conflict. Some members left the party to form the Saskatchewan Party while one even went and joined the NDP leaving five sitting members in the legislature. The leader, Jim Melenchuk, is not a sitting member. The party's web site makes no mention of the party leader, there are pictures of each of the sitting MLAs, but the last update to the site was in September. In an effort to try and get some momentum going, Mr. Melenchuk set about a campaign Saturday, faxing people in rural Saskatchewan asking them to sign and mail in a petition. Below is the content of his appeal:

With the release of the government's mid-term financial report, NDP hypocrisy has reached a new high.

Roy Romanow is proud of how he has accumulated over $250 million dollars in his liquor and gaming slush fund and he's proud of the $105 million budget surplus.

Ironically, at the same time we have farmers in a severe cash crunch, highways crumbling and record waiting lists for surgery.

The NDP have not budgeted one extra dollar for agriculture the rest of this year: not a single one!

The invested $60 million in a New Zealand cable company, had $30 million for Guyana, put $16 million into an American cable company and even spent millions on a new executive plane for the NDP cabinet ministers.

However, our most important industry in Saskatchewan is being told by the NDP that we have hundreds of millions to invest in foreign adventures, but nothing to invest in farmers.

The NDP forecast these low grain prices in their budget last spring. They have had nearly a year to work on a safety net for low prices, but have deliberately chosen to do nothing. Now, when agriculture is in trouble, they are bleating like a heard of frightened sheep.

I am calling on both the federal and provincial governments to put aside their politics and get to work for our farmers. Saskatchewan Liberals have circulated a petition to all RMs, towns and villages in the province. Please add your name to the growing list of people who want solutions for rural people.


Jim Melenchuk

The petition itself is one of those nonspecific "give us a hand" kind of support statements and is shown below:


To the Honourable Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, in Legislature assembled:
The Petition of the undersigned citizens of the Province of Saskatchewan humbly showeth:
That Saskatchewan farmers are facing a severe financial crisis which will force families of the farm;
That farm revenues have dropped drastically due to the cancellation of GRIP, rising input costs, global economic problems and unfair trade subsidies imposed by some of our competitors;
The rural communities already suffering from numerous cuts to services in health, highways, education as well as rail abandonment, elevator closures and others, cannot afford to lose any more residents.

Wherefore your Petitioners humbly pray that your Honourable Assembly may be pleased to call upon Provincial and Federal Governments to immediately take steps to end unfair world subsidies and provide farmers with prompt relief from declining incomes, and act as 'watch dogs' against rising input cost which are harming the rural economy.

And as in duty bound, your Petitioners will ever pray.

Mr. Melenchuk's petition perhaps explains why his sitting members have excluded him from their website. Despite the glowing rhetoric the petition is asking the federal and provincial governments to :

1. Take steps to end unfair world subsidies
2. Provide Farmers with relief from declining incomes
3. Act as a 'watch dog' on farm costs

Neither the federal or provincial governments can do much about world subsidies and asking for them to be 'watch dogs' on farm input costs sounds pretty hollow. Farm incomes are dramatically down and a strongly worded appeal for assistance that would not harm trade agreements is really what is needed.

It is positive to the Liberal Party take some action because many people believe the degeneration of Saskatchewan is because the government really has no effective opposition, however from my point of view Jim Melenchuk is sitting on his horse with his armour on backwards, broken lance in hand, ready to take on the nearest windmill.