Brendaren Farmers (Near Swift Current) - March 22, 2000, By: Edwin Wallace
  Here is my take on yet another assault on rural Saskatchewan.
degenerating It is obvious the Liberal/NDP government of Saskatchewan needs a diversion for the minds of us Rurals, who see health care, education and agriculture degenerating almost by the minute.
top-down assault So, once again Politicians and Academia have ganged up to aggravate the already aggravated farm population in Saskatchewan. That's right; there is going to be still another, top-down assault, on the social structure of our province; another study; a survey, a marshalling of data to support the government's predetermined agenda!
more power
and control
As though the personal and provincial wide tragedy of our Net Farm Income being in the basement and heading for China wasn't vexing enough, the great "They", decided that while Rural Saskatchewan was wobbling it would be a helluva good time to kick it's feet right out from under it; or at least, lead it to think about something else, even if that something else is a blatant grab for more power and control!
  The central argument in favour of all this of course is not that. It is, rather, a "study" via "Task Force", to cut back on duplication of services and therefore expenditures. Thus, we can be assured of the "recommendations".
completely ignored Examples of how our - the people's - point of view has been completely ignored in recent times are; the Crow Benefit removal (federal); the Plains Hospital conversion in Regina (Provincial), and; building a new public school near Swift Current (The mad dream of a local school board gone out of control).
will undergo further amalgamation But what is wrong with a move to bigger units of social organisation? Nothing! Surprised? Well, I mean it. There is nothing wrong with Rural Municipalities merging and cutting some administrative costs and using the economy of scale for such things as equipment purchase, etc. There is nothing wrong with District Health Boards doing the same thing. And with a declining rural population it is likely that School Districts will undergo further amalgamation. IF. And that is the great big factor in all of this!
people directly involved decide IF the people directly involved decide that is what they want to do! IF local citizens feel comfortable with all forms of government moving further away from them.
escape criticism Already we see several RMs in the province have joined together. Those of us, who continue to fight the local Unit 75 school board's craziness about building a new school, see the eventual need to cut out a bunch of redundant overhead. Health districts were supposed to save us money - they don't, so we may have to consider amalgamation. (Or, better still dump Health all back in the lap of senior government, which has all the authority anyway, and only wanted to escape criticism of it's mismanagement in the first place.)
IF But the IF makes the great big difference. IF we heard the government had been lobbied by our local councillors to force amalgamation of RMs; IF the demand by the people that their school districts be enlarged occurred tomorrow; IF the rural urbans wanted to share administration with their local RMs and their citizens thought it a good idea, and IF all of this was evident by the province being besieged by such requests - THAT would be a whole nuther kinda thing!
Local Government
is efficient
IF the school tax on property was reduced significantly - not totally removed - there would be enough financial wiggle room for our RMs to become more than self sufficient. Even now with an overburden of school tax the RMs do very well. And that is not taking into account the paltry sum of money received from the provincial government! Local Government is efficient!!
complete confiscation of local resource income Reason tells most of us Rurals that the cost would be higher with larger RMs. Reason tells us the fair distribution of services might very well be jeopardised. Reason tells us that the senior government might very well be considering complete confiscation of local resource income.
it's agenda ahead But reason and the IF is not being considered. This study/Task Force now in our midst is the tool of a top-down, arrogant government administration that has in the past and continues now to put it's agenda ahead of local rural aspirations.
  I'm Edwin