What matters most to people are the issues of the moment, and Beck and the NDP have yet to provide better alternatives.

Get the latest from Murray Mandryk straight to your inbox

Article content

Policies still matter in politics — especially, big policies, like the carbon tax.

Whether removing it will be the panacea that prime-minister-in-waiting Pierre Poilievre suggests is questionable. Less questionable is that people don’t want any more pump price hikes.

Article content

There is no question where Premier Scott Moe stands on this matter. He opposes the carbon tax because that’s, seemingly, what people want.

Advertisement 2

Article content

Even NDP Opposition Leader Carla Beck insists she doesn’t support this carbon pricing either.

So what does the Saskatchewan NDP want? What does it stand for?

Well, this lack of distinguishable economic policy may be why the Saskatchewan NDP will continue to flounder.

This is not to say the Opposition hasn’t enjoyed success this spring sitting that may translate into more seats in October … although this may be more attributed to the Saskatchewan Party government’s own penchant for self-destruction.

The something-for-everyone-but-not-enough-for-anyone 2024-25 budget hardly created a ripple, except perhaps for the isolated few who view deficit and debt as a problem.

Health care delivery — at least, of the in-province variety not involving shipping people elsewhere to private clinics that coincidentally hired former Sask. Party politicians to lobby the government — remains a troubling mess.

Education is a similar mess, with the yet-to-be-resolved teachers’ labour dispute that was less a Sask. Party priority than scoring points with right-wing supporters on Bill 137.

Article content

Advertisement 3

Article content

Arguably, the biggest problem with this Sask. Party government is one of personality … or perhaps better put, personalities.

Its reputation has taken a hit from otherwise forgettable government backbenchers running afoul of the law or watching their businesses profit as a direct result of government policy.

But perhaps the biggest image problem comes from senior ministers who have chosen to act like the neighbourhood bully. This, too, comes down to policy choices.

Even more disturbing this term than the Sask. Party’s journey further right (demonstrated in its turnabout on COVID-19 restrictions and vaccinations or its “parental rights” pronoun bill) is the way it smugly and callously ignored credible warnings that it might actually be hurting the vulnerable.

Sadly, this seems to be emitting from now senior ministers who never experienced opposition and now give off the aura that they shall do as they please. Look no further for evidence than Bill 137, the teachers’ strike or the recent battle with Speaker Randy Weekes as evidence.

But here’s the thing: This probably matters less than some think.

Advertisement 4

Article content

For starters, what one voter might see as smug, arrogant bullying is what another voter sees as standing up for what they support.

However, most voters can’t be bothered with such legislature drama — or at least, they don’t invest in it unless their own lives are directly affected. Most aren’t directly affected.

If you are not currently in hospital or don’t have kids in school, your biggest concern is paying more for gas at the pump, groceries at the store or keeping a good job so you can do both.

Well, there are more jobs and more people, and Moe opposes the carbon tax. Guess what Moe’s campaign will be?

Beck’s campaign? Well, we’re not sure.

To her credit, Beck has gamely attempted to ground the NDP in the day-to-day problems of Saskatchewan people in a way previous NDP leaders didn’t.

Daily in this spring sitting, she’s raised the temporary removal of the provincial gas tax or how the Sask. Party has increased the sales tax.

But the carbon tax remains the issue. And given the Saskatchewan NDP’s tangential ties to the federal government through federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, would the NDP be as vehemently opposed to the carbon tax?

Advertisement 5

Article content

If it did, how would that sit with the NDP rank and file who do want tougher climate change measures?

What possible NDP policies will we see from Beck this fall that will be true to social democratic philosophy and still attractive to voters in a right-wing province?

Notwithstanding whatever issues people have with this Sask. Party, the fall campaign will come down to meat and potato issues.

Murray Mandryk is the political columnist for the Regina Leader-Post and the Saskatoon StarPhoenix.

Recommended from Editorial

Article content

Source link leaderpost.com