2005 as it looks from here

FTLComm - Tisdale - Thursday, December 30, 2004

Predictions in past years




new century





When you consider the absolute destruction around the Indian Ocean from the Christmas Day Tsunami one realises how futile it is to attempt to predict the future. That sort of ultra-natural overwhelming earth event is just not considered a possibility. Similar kinds of monster earth quakes have been predicted off the West coast of North America but that area has not seen anything but volcanos in recent times.

However, it is the task and tradition of this writer to peer into the past and from it attempt the fashion some understanding that might shed some light on the approaching future.

To sum up the year 2005 one topic will feature in the economic world, the political world and I am certain in the social and cultural world as well and that is China. There is nothing new about the rising importance of China, it is just that in 2004 it left the toy drums behind and moved into the symphony hall. China's position in world trade, political importance, scientific achievement, space, motion picture production and strategic importance moves it front and centre for this coming year.

This crow was born in a nest in these trees in our front yard and on Boxing Day came home for a short visit. I have often pointed out that we could do well to consider our lives and the way we live through the eyes of a crow, or a raven, and so I thought it appropriate to put the bird brain perspective to work on this year's predictions.

You might enjoy looking back at last year's predictions and discover that this year it is going to be a difficult task, as last year's set was close to 80% accurate.


2005 marks the 100th anniversary of Saskatchewan and Alberta provinces within confederation though this is an excellent reason to stage some handsome celebrations much of the planning has been left to local communities with their various homecoming events. The province has been definitely low key on this and many other important issues. Saskatchewan's Premier Lorne Calvert is a surprising calm individual and wants very much to make 2005 a year where Saskatchewan begins to show some real achievement. He has two things that he has to get his cabinet to sort out and both are as old an issue as the province itself.




Saskatchewan can no longer bask in the glory of having come up with universal government run and paid for medicare. The waiting lists in Saskatchewan are among the longest in the country and the shortage of medical people is not helping one little bit. 2005 must be a year to do more than talk about health care, its time to do more that commission studies but the formula for success is not present. In 2005 waiting lists will not be reduced despite increased spending. Since the government is unwilling to tamper with the bureaucratic structure, the bad idea health region set up is going to continue to produce the results it has for the years it has existed. The provincial government will not realise that the problem is in the system and will give more money to the regional boards who will in turn use it to run businesses because essentially all of the management are business trained and know of no other working model. Failure to improve is a certainty.




The second big Saskatchewan issue is education. A recent report showed that Saskatchewan has fallen behind other parts of the country in basic education. This is a clear result of the legacy of the debt created by the Devine government and the concentration upon solving the debt problem by the Romanow administration. The result has been the devaluation of the provincial department in charge of public education, it is just inadequate to cope with running a provincial education system and its most recent solution, creating monster administration areas has no empirically based research to valid the consolidation. There is no prospects of improvement in education in this province based upon the current course and present plans. The basic need for solid educational research and implementation of the findings of that research is not going to take place and much will be spent and not improvement can occur. You can not produce better mathematics and reading skills by spending money on administrative brain child's of MBA educated administrators.




The real issue, the one that most people in Saskatchewan ignore is the situation with the province's aboriginal population now crowding into the two largest cities and bringing with them poverty and the vices that accompany that state of human existence. The "Keepness" story from 2004 illustrated the unacceptable living conditions for a kid growing up in a Saskatchewan city. A kid can go missing and no one will even realise it for a day or two and police will disregard the report because the people involved are very difficult. There are lots of ways that both the aboriginal society and the rest of the province's people could attempt to improve things but as of December 31, 2004 no one is doing anything that will make things better. The year 2005 will only have more "Keepness" stories, more police problems in Saskatoon and more desperation in Regina and Saskatoon, the two urban communities with the highest rates of crime and violent crime in Canada.




After pointing out three very negative trends in Saskatchewan we need to find some good stuff and there are some things to focus upon. Premier Calvert has beed doing some excellent work as he widens his connections with the rural people of the province, his style of leadership is positive and if his cabinet follow his lead just maybe some good things can come along. Brad Wall the leader of the Saskatchewan party is equally focused on the needs of Saskatchewan people and with people looked for good things to do we do have a fighting chance for things to improve.


  1. No change in provincial sales tax this year.
  2. The provincial government and the opposition with stand fast on the crack down on second hand smoke despite the wailing of the hotel owners and casino operators.
  3. The provincial economic situation will continue to improve in 2005 with more money spent on highways, municipal government, health care and education.
  4. The popularity of green energy projects will prompt the provincial government to re-attempt to get synthetic fuel projects (ethanol and biodesiel) back into gear as well as developing more electricity with wind power.
  5. Though talk is cheap 2005 will not see an improvement in land tax issues with regard to funding of education.


The centennial celebrations will improve the Saskatchewan people appreciation for themselves and their communities. This will produce considerable nostalgia for the missing rural portion of Saskatchewan and though the sentiments will be there the depopulation and rapid urbanisation of this province will accelerate in 2005.


There is almost no chance whatever of a federal election in 2005. The opposition parties simply can't afford an election as polls clearly show that if they force an election without giving the Martin government a chance to do something the public will be unkind to opposition MPs.




The Martin government has shown exceptional good judgment for a Liberal government and with the good marks they have now there is a good chance that they will increase their popularity between now and spring. The hot point inside and outside the government is the rather large number of Liberals who no longer feel comfort within their party. Sheila Copps and Caroline Parrish are not fringe people, Parrish was a strong Martin supporter and it would be good advise for Martin to get some of his hatch men out of the way and set to work rebuilding an alliance within the government party. Without such work he will have almost no hope in winning an election in 2006. Martin is not likely to miss this issue and so during 2005 there will be some major fence mending projects.




Though Harper and his party actually think Canadian people care about money issues their harping about scandals and silly spending is a waste of breath. During 2005 Stephen Harper, who is not a particularly energetic individual to start with will continue to coast. If there is a need for statements and the odd bit of shouting it will have to come from Peter MacKay and John Reynolds




Layton is a remarkable man and in 2005 will set out to put together a viable Canadian political party to place itself close to the feelings of the mainstream of the country. He will campaign all year long when parliament is not in session. He has no choice.




Immigration has been a problem in Canada for many years but in the fall session of parliament it became clear that the government has little control over the policies of its department or of its high handed bureaucrats Martin wants so much to be loved by the United States but at the same time he has shown considerable interest in Canadian immigrant communities. This is the year for some changes, big changes that will make it possible for a refugee to come to Canada and more importantly for people who do not conform to the ridiculous point system to have a chance at becoming Canadians. The provinces need the people with Quebec's low birth rate and other areas in need of workers things have to change. This year they will


Free Trade sucks, especially when all of its rules are ignored by our largest trading partner and the US government is having more trouble than we can imagine with the way it seems to be affecting their industrial heartland. But it is a political holy grail and despite its failings it will live on and on. The border is due to open to live young beef in March but the problems with softwood lumber and grain will not go away. David Orchard is campaigning coast to coast on the issue and people are listening to him. It is inevitable that at some point in the future wisdom will prevail but not in 2005.


Defense has already begun to change in this country. You may feel sometimes that no one is listening but with a think like the Department of Defense Canadians and what they want are getting attention. Sovereignty over the North, more expenditure in equipping for peace keeping and self sufficiency are will be hidden in this year's budget. The reason Canadians are respected is because in this world we deserve that respect and we as a country are going to live up to our own reputation but we are not going on any adventures in Africa.


  1. The GST is going down one cent.
  2. Medicate and defense are blessed.
  3. Employment insurance rates are going down but in a Martin world, benefits do not increase.
  4. More than 50% of every budget involves pie in the sky proposals in which the money is allocated and never spent, nothing will change this year.
  5. Large urban governments get a modest share of the gas tax.
  6. Federal spending of all forms will increase in Quebec.
  7. External affairs will get a large budget to reestablish something similar to CEDA, a programme of foreign aid that involves education and development in third world countries.


Foreign trade with everyone other than the United States is now an Ottawa priority, that 80% dependency is a political, social and economic liability that Trudeau warned us about and Mulroney said it was no problem, Trudeau was right. Martin will make two visits to China in 2005.

The world economy
Being the largest consumer of energy, goods and services, the United States has dominated world trade and the economic state of this planet for several decades. Though the influence is enormous it is no longer the main engine, that has moved to China. The American economy has reached a point where its borrowing and spending are out of control and it is only a matter of time until a melt down occurs. The US dollar has already steadily been weakening and you should expect its real value to decline to approximately half its present value by this time in late December 2005. The Canadian dollar will reach par with the US dollar and other world currencies will march even further ahead. Many believe that the US government is deliberately and quietly going head long into their present mode of devaluation. The net result is that real estate in the United States is absolutely the worse investment known. Americans individually are grossly in debt and increased interest rates are going to produce immense hardship.

Nothing looks good for the third world countries unless they have developing relations with China. Energy prices world wide are going to flatten out but the power of the International Monetary Fund will continue to be a millstone around the neck of every person on earth.

You know things are changing when you realise that China itself is now following many of the popular practices developed by United States companies as Chinese investors are pumping their money into things all over the world with the hope of increasing their wealth.

International affairs


The war in Iraq is only in its beginnings. The United States has lost less than 1,500 troops so far and the public will not really start to kick until that figure is increase by ten times that number. In the mean time the actual control of the real estate in that desert country will actually decline in 2005. The so-call "Sunni triangle" is not under the control of US forces and by June at least three similar areas will exist. Just as other American presidents have done in Vietnam this one will insist that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. There is no light and its a big tunnel. The election will only produce a similar situation as found in Afghanistan where there is a sort of government in name only. During the Vietnam conflict there were more than fifteen such governments.



war on

The development or attempted development of a more secure environment for American is pretty much like the once and famous "war or drugs" or even more laughable "war on terrorism". Saying something does not make it so and each effort by the US homeland security agency only further reduces the free and open society that America claims to be. In 2005 various measures prepared in the last two years are kicking in and the treat of terrorism in the United States is the same as it was before 9/11. The major threat to American security are armed Americans.




The sad state of affairs in Eastern Europe is only part of a long term development. Russia is making some progress in recovering control of its economy and with oil revenue and increased levels of state controlled development it will spend much of the next three years putting itself together. Putin and his administration is competent and must find a way of dealing with the southern republics for Chechnia is only one of many hostile to their former master. Terror attacks on Russia from Chechnians will continue to plague Russia in 2005 with one atrocity after another as the death for death war wages onward.




Africa, it was decided in the 1950s and 60s was not white man's burden and since the decolonisation has continued a downward spiral that is apparently bottomless. With a major portion of the population infected with aids and death a certainty the eastern Congo and its neighbours have no future, nor have most of the countries on the Gold and Ivory Coasts. What is the world to do? In 2005 the world will continue to shake its head in sadness but the answer to the question is apparent. Nothing!




South and Central America have been brutally victims of the United States for decades and there are signs that they are about to take a hand in doing things for themselves. The popular government in Venezuela is a beacon to the rest of the region and with the United States occupying Iraq it is unable to launch a proper countermeasure in Venezuela as it did years ago when Chile decide to defy the might United States. In 2005 other South American countries will join Venezuela in similar ventures and do so successfully. Bad time to be a CIA guy, all that bad work being wasted.


The emergence of China as a legitimate world leader will change the complex economic and political structure of all of Asia. The current disaster around the Indian Ocean has brought the world's attention to the area and China is one of the leading countries in providing aid and assistance to the stricken area, this is a new role for the people's republic. With leadership in south east Asia there is a chance for growing autonomy by the countries of the regional and a reduction in the need for revolt as seen in Indonesia.


The infection of what ever it is that is found in the middle east is not going away but is just in its formative stages. With the United States occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and dominating five other countries in the region 2005 is just another year in the same old struggle. Syria and Iran must either decide upon become victims of invasion or prostitute themselves as has been the case of Turkey and Pakistan, either way there is no third option.

Israel /

The death of Arafat has moved things along. Sharon must now listened to moderates in his country and the Palestinians must use their heads instead of their young people's lives to fine a route to so form of peace. The best situation would be for others especially the United States to let things work out on the local level. The new Secretary of State (Rice) is inclined to focus on the two issues that actually are problems to Americans, Iraq and Russia. The death rate in Israel and Palestine will go down in 2005.

No Stanley Cup in 2005, the Riders will go to the Grey Cup and will win, Dick Pound and I seem to be the only two people in the world who care of athletes and drug abuse but Marion Jones loses her medals anyway.

2005 will have an early warm spring with good rainfall and the prairies will be blessed with a bumper crop. Wheat prices are going up and so are the price of cars (about 10% overall).

The fall of 2005 will see some of the worst forest fire conditions since 2003 in BC and if you are planning a visit to Florida in late summer thinking it had all of its hurricanes in 2004 you will be unpleasantly mistaken as whole families of them are going to smack the southland.

It will be a good year to be a crow, most have developed immunity to West Nile Fever and the Avian flu is staying in southeast Asia. There have been a lot of warnings of a possible pandemic as many claim it is long over due, they are mistaken, it occurred and went unnoticed two years ago but just in case make sure all Canadians get a flu shot in the fall of 2005.

Happy New Year

Timothy W. Shire



Return to Ensign - Return to Saskatchewan News

This page is a story posted on Ensign and/or Saskatchewan News, both of which are daily web sites offering a variety of material from scenic images, political commentary, information and news. These publications are the work of Faster Than Light Communications . If you would like to comment on this story or you wish to contact the editor of these sites please send us e-mail.

Editor : Timothy W. Shire
Faster Than Light Communication
Box 1776, Tisdale, Saskatchewan, Canada, S0E 1T0
306 873 2004