Thursday, 05 July 2012 11:35

It’s not easy being Premier

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Uh oh, it looks the S.S. Honeymoon has perhaps struck some small political icebergs.

If you believe polls and who doesn’t — especially after the 2012 Alberta provincial election (sarcasm/off) — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall has enjoyed some amazing popularity since he has been elected.
According to survey results from an Angus Reid public opinion poll which surveyed 6,600 Canadians in June, Wall was at 67 per cent approval rating within Saskatchewan. March 2012 he was still listed at 70 per cent, Dec. 2011, 71 per cent and Aug. 2011, 63 per cent. No one in Canada is even remotely close. The only one within the same solar system is Newfoundland Premier Kathy Dunderdale (hovering between 55 to 60 per cent since August 2011.
It’s a testament to Wall’s likeable personality, his positive attitude and the fact he’s been able to get urban and rural voters to believe in what he’s doing, not to mention the fact the NDP is still trying to find its legs if not a new leader.
However, the honeymoon stage with Wall inevitably is starting to be dampered with some decisions which aren’t popular in certain circles.
Take for example the Saskatchewan Film Industry tax benefit being cut. There was a spirited and organized protest campaign, even in Wall’s hometown of Swift Current.
Critics of the protesters scoffed as they point to the fact there was big money with little return to the province and only a few benefitted. As of June 30, the tax credit was officially ended with barely a sound.
Word came last week the province was committing $80 million to the building of a new multi-purpose stadium in Regina.
On the one hand Mosaic Stadium, despite the fact it has had $14-million in upgrades, is in need of replacement. Anyone who removes the nostalgia from the former Taylor Field can look at the stadium and see it is in need of a wrecking ball.
In the meantime, calls from many said the provincial government needs to provide money for a new stadium.
With claims from the NDP the government is in a more than $100 million deficit situation (including all crowns) and the never-ending examples about the inadequacy of provincial health care and complaints of seniors paying too much for prescriptions, Wall is in a no-win situation.
One side believes Wall needs to get his priorities straight, while others believe Wall needs to pledge more than $80 million on a new stadium. The City of Regina, who made the initial request for the stadium funding now finds itself looking at some worried city taxpayers who fear their taxes will go through the roof, with a civic election pending in the fall. Oh, the intrigue.
With Prime Minister Stephen Harper refusing to pledge any federal money towards similar facilities, somehow Saskatchewan will have to figure it out on its own.
No one said it would be easy being in charge, even if you are the most popular premier in the country.
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor of the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor