It has been two weeks of mixed messages coming from our federal and provincial governments and we haven't managed to sort them out yet.
On the one hand we've been told that Saskatchewan is no longer on the cusp of greatness, we're right in the middle of it, with significant population growth, fresh money and an intelligent workforce that is exploring new territory.
Because we're doing so well, our senior governments decided to do a little pillaging. Cuts to the Crowns that were also told to cut their international outreach programs. There was no need for them to be ambitious.
Cut the provincial economic enterprise programs. Apparently they weren't going to work.
Cut the cultural businesses too. Museums, archives, film and video industries no longer mattered. We're much too busy to pay attention to them.
While they're at it, senior governments decided to cut support for the small horse racing industry we've had and they pulled the tourism chair out from under them, stating that they could do a better job of running that show. After all, who can run tourism better than government? Certainly not the people who are actually in the business. Government said they couldn't find another province with a tourism system that was being run like Saskatchewan's, so something had to be wrong. They needed to pull it back into a Crown operation and run it in a more normal fashion.
Yet when it came to the film and video and the tax credit regime, the argument was the exact opposite. We weren't going to run the same kind of show as the other dogs. Our politicians would know how to do it better as the lone wolf.
Mixed messages? You think?
On the federal front, the communication is no clearer.
They are demanding that we return to 19th century thinking for the justice and prison systems which will place an additional burden on the provinces and create all kinds of courtroom challenges that will inevitably cost us more. But to someone hidden in the PMO's office, it apparently makes sense.
Cuts to a 110-year-old agricultural/science-based prairie rehabilitation centre apparently makes sense too, as do cuts to federal pasture projects and our unique and only cross-Canada communication system. Nothing says unity better than destroying the CBC. After all, it needs to stand on its own two feet. It needs to compete and sell commercials just like all the other radio stations, just like we made their television brothers do. We don't need any stinking original Canadian programming, those U.S. import shows are good enough. This Canadian identity thing is overblown anyway.
And while they were at it, you know how we're so proud to be building up our international presence with increased free trade with the U.S. and other markets? Well, our government's response to that good news is, of course, corresponding cuts to the Canadian Border Services Agency.
In their world, that makes sense.
But quite frankly, we just don't get it.
Are our federal and provincial policy crafters really that addled?
If not, will someone please provide a little logic and worthwhile explanation as to what's really going on?
Is there a master plan here that the great unwashed population hasn't been let in on yet?
Or is it just another case of short-term political expediency trumping common sense?