On the eve of both provincial and federal budgets there is of course lots of requests being thrown around from groups of all stripes.
There is never a shortage of ‘wants’ in terms of government spending.
You can look at almost any government department these days and see places where one group, or one expert or another, in the particular field, will suggest the solution to a range of problems is more money.
Certainly, there are issues across the board.
Provincially the government here in Saskatchewan is hanging its hat in the health area on amalgamating region regions into one ‘super region’ as the answer to better service and one would expect some cost savings which could free up dollars to deal with other shortcomings in health. The move may have taken the Saskatchewan Party a decade to determine if it was a good move, but it is one that would seem to have merit.
But it is highly unlikely the move will answer all the questions; like emergency services in a small town such as Preeceville, or aging facilities all across the province.
Education is headed down a similar road in Saskatchewan by the looks of it, but again not all the suggested shortfalls in the system are likely to be met, and that will leave those still suggesting greater spending is needed.
Of course it’s not just provincial spending under siege for greater and greater investment of dollars.
The Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) recently sent out a release with a series of priorities it sees in terms of needs to be addressed in the upcoming federal budget.
SARM put forward six recommendations to the Federal government in its consideration of this years’ budget.
The first request focuses on improving rural broadband services. Reliable and high-speed broadband access is a central piece of being connected to the Canadian and global economy. SARM appreciates the investments being made with the Connect to Innovate program.
The requests also included “help build municipal capacity, SARM requested that the Canada-Saskatchewan Job Grant be expanded to include municipalities,” detailed a SARM release. “The program is expected to be rolled out in March 2017. Expanding the program to municipalities will assist them in increasing their capacity by providing important funding for training new and existing employees.”
Finally, SARM recommended that the Government commit funds from the New Building Canada Fund (NBCF) to the Public-Industry Partnership Program, a program developed by SARM in consultation with members and industry.”
Certainly the SARM suggestions have merit, although like all groups asking for dollars, there is no suggestion who should take less to free up the dollars they requested.
The pie is not an infinite one at any level of government, and that seems lost as groups request more and more.
Although perhaps groups cannot be blamed totally since government often spends huge amounts they do not have, witness the red ink in the last Saskatchewan budget, and in Ottawa.
Calvin Daniels is Editor with Yorkton This Week.