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June

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    MPlib
    Little Polish dancers - just like little Johnny Findura years ago - all part of RMC - Mosaic
    Jun 06, 2015 5:45 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Big stage show at the Caribbean pavilion. Big crowds. Line-up to get in. RMC - Mosaic
    Jun 06, 2015 5:44 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Lots of colour, sights, sound, food + dance at the Punjab pavilion - RMC - Mosaic
    Jun 06, 2015 5:43 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Always a full house at the Chinese pavilion at Regina's MOSAIC 2015 festival. Great food + entertainment.
    Jun 05, 2015 6:46 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A swirl of skill and colour as dancers perform at Regina's MOSAIC's First Nations pavilion at FN University of Canada
    Jun 05, 2015 5:29 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Artwork about missing + murdered indigenous women #MMIW on display at First Nations pavilion - part of Regina's MOSAIC, 2015
    Jun 05, 2015 5:20 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Pipes on display at the Chilean pavilion on our first night at Regina's MOSAIC festival for 2015
    Jun 05, 2015 4:54 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    FN Elder, Rez School survivor and now Dr. Ann Callahan - another honourary degree recipient at this year's UofR Convocation
    Jun 05, 2015 5:10 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Dr Don Black, another honourary degree recipient this week from the University of Regina. A terrific business + community leader!
    Jun 04, 2015 7:01 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Congrats to Kevin Tell + Trevor Boquist as they join JA Business Hall of Fame + best wishes to all student achievers being recognized!
    Jun 04, 2015 5:19 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Largest convocation ever this year at the University of Regina. Congratulations to all the graduates and good luck in the future!
    Jun 04, 2015 3:48 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Ambassador Kevin Vickers signs the roll as honourary doctorate recipient of the University of Regina. Trained here at RCMP Depot. Congrats!
    Jun 04, 2015 1:29 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Happy to celebrate with the University of Regina today - honourary degree for Ambassador Kevin Vickers
    Jun 04, 2015 12:57 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Travelling home today for UofR Convocation - lots of Aboriginal people on-board, returning from Truth+Reconciliation events. Their mood is hopeful. TRC events were uplifting - a new beginning. It's essential now to turn that hope into concrete action. As TRC Chair Justice Sinclair said, the Comn's work has shown us all the top of the mountain. It's now up to us to do the climbing.
    Jun 04, 2015 7:40 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    It's important to pin down the Harper government on what, if anything, it will actually do in response to the Truth + Reconciliation Commission
    Jun 03, 2015 11:57 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    In the latest economic growth projections from OECD, only US + Greece had bigger growth downgrades than did Canada. Talk about "leading the pack"? Growth projections for Canada are below the OECD average - 24 of the 34 OECD countries will do better. Also today, Harper government has recorded the 2 worst monthly trade deficits in history - more evidence of Mr Harper's no-growth plan.
    Jun 03, 2015 11:03 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    It was barely a week ago that Finance Minister Oliver was giving clownish advice to Europeans about how to boost economic growth by firing people. Back home, not only has Canada suffered full a full quarter of economic shrinkage; for second time in 6 months, the OECD has slashed Canadian growth projections. Latest forecasts for full 2015 put Canadian growth prospects is the same range as the Eurozone - this is Mr Harper's "no growth" plan.
    Jun 03, 2015 10:02 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In QP, Justin Trudeau asks Stephen Harper directly if he'll accept the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Mr Harper won't say. Both Justice Sinclair + National Chief Bellegarde say the government's Residential Schools apology has not been followed-up with meaningful action. Harper government won't budge on their refusal to call a National Inquiry into 1200 Missing + Murdered Indigenous Women.
    Jun 02, 2015 11:49 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Justin Trudeau reacts quickly to embrace the work and advice of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission http://bit.ly/1dJDyGS
    Jun 02, 2015 10:52 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Ralph Goodale, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, spoke about how greater economic growth is what's needed to lift the well-being of Canada's middle-class and all those working so hard to join it at Canada 2020: bit.ly/1Rl10sl Mr. Goodale will be the guest speaker at our AGM on June 13th!
    Jun 02, 2015 9:15 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Upon release of Truth and Reconciliation Commission's report, Justice Sinclair describes Residential Schools as "cultural genocide", just as the Supreme Court of Canada's Chief Justice said last week. Justice Sinclair also calls for a renewed Royal Proclamation, an annual report on reconciliation + a National Inquiry on #MMIW. Chair Justice Sinclair delivers a powerful statement bringing the TRC to a passionate conclusion with a roadmap to the future.
    Jun 02, 2015 8:38 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Chair Justice Murray Sinclair now releasing massive final report of Truth + Reconciliation Commission on Residential Schools
    Jun 02, 2015 8:09 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    No more gimmicks, the federal government must get serious about working with the provinces to strengthen the Canada Pension Plan http://www.ipolitics.ca/2015/06/02/the-harper-governments-do-nothing-approach-to-the-retirement-crisis/
    Jun 02, 2015 8:01 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Liberals hit hard in Question Period on the Harper government's "no growth" economy - GDP figures show shrinking economy in Q1 of 2015. Since Joe Oliver thinks greater economic growth comes from shedding jobs, how many lost jobs are required before growth begins? Liberals also call for constructive cooperation with all provincial governments on retirement income security - how best to upgrade CPP for all Canadians.
    Jun 01, 2015 11:52 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    RETIREMENT INSECURITY IS A BIG MIDDLE-CLASS WORRY Last week ended with the bad news that Canada's economy not only stalled through the whole First Quarter of this calendar year, it actually shrank -- in each of January, February and March, as well as in the previous months of November and August. Insecurity and uncertainty are real. Middle-class Canadians worry about sluggish incomes, the high cost of living, care-giving, learning and skills, their heavy household debts, diminishing employment prospects for themselves and their kids, and the increasing possibility that the younger generation may not be able to do as well as their parents did. Most Canadians are also troubled about not having enough to live on when they retire. Will they even be able to retire at all? Three-quarters of those working in the private sector do not have an employer-sponsored pension plan. The typical 35-year-old today is able to save only about half of what their parents did at that age. For those in their 50's, two-thirds have less than $100,000 set aside to look after themselves. One-third have no retirement savings at all. All this adds up to a retirement income crisis. And it's coming at us fast. It warrants serious attention, not just bumper-sticker slogans and other gimmicks from a government that cannot seem to muster the wherewithal to tackle a real problem in a serious way. Make no mistake, this is not just a crisis in social policy. It's a major economic problem too. If we fail to come to grips with it, Canadians will pay dearly in years to come with soaring social safety-net costs and sharply reduced consumer spending power. Since 2006, the Harper government's approach to retirement security issues has missed the mark. They "resolved the controversy" about Income Trusts by killing those investment tools altogether -- thus shrinking the savings accounts of about two million Canadians by some $25-billion. They are postponing the eligibility age for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement. That will slash the retirement incomes of the most vulnerable low-income seniors by $32,000. The Conservatives are counting on a plethora of voluntary savings options to ride to the rescue. But most of them are designed as tax avoidance tools for "high wealth households" and none of them have made an appreciable difference in easing the retirement insecurity crisis. Most seriously, Stephen Harper has blocked each and every effort to work with provincial government partners on a comprehensive expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). Indeed, he has long argued for the complete elimination of the plan. The CPP is marking its 50th anniversary this year. Its creation was a great achievement for Lester Pearson's government in 1965. But with changing demographics, by the 1990's many people were questioning whether it could survive. Then-Finance Minister Paul Martin mustered the federal-provincial consensus and will-power to make the necessary changes (including CPP premium increases) to save and bolster the plan. It's now actuarially sound and secure for at least the next 75 years. Premiums paid into the CPP are not a tax. They don't go into government coffers. They're an independently managed investment in long term personal security. And here's another key point -- all through that period when CPP premiums were last increased, private sector job creation remained robust. There was no discernible negative effect. The CPP is a defined-benefit pension plan. With strong management and an exceptional return-on-investment, it ranks with the best in the world. But its benefits are still too low. At maximum it pays out only about $1,000 a month. The average CPP monthly benefit is just under $640. That's simply not enough. The Government of Canada needs to respond on an urgent basis to the expressed will of provincial governments to find the best possible ways to upgrade the CPP in a comprehensive manner for all Canadians. With a retirement income crisis at hand, Canadians expect their governments to work constructively together on real solutions.
    Jun 01, 2015 11:41 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    MPs are wearing this lapel flower in HofC today - ALS awareness. Remembering by great friend Rick Wackid + many others.
    Jun 01, 2015 11:27 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

May

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    Looking forward to Regina Globe Theatre's in-the-round production of Mary Poppins tonight!
    May 31, 2015 6:31 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    St Paul's bell tower, Regina - will ring out more than 1200 times each Wednesday, for the next 3 weeks - for missing+murdered indigenous women
    May 31, 2015 9:54 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Colleague Louis Browne + Mayor Fougere at today's Mayor's Run/Walk for Fitness - chilly, but great day for a run!
    May 31, 2015 8:17 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Some of the great performers at Vaisakhi Mela in Regina tonight.
    May 30, 2015 7:02 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Massive crowd in Regina tonight celebrating Vaisakhi Mela with the Sikh Society.
    May 30, 2015 6:30 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Glad to join Mayor Fougere at CNIB pancake breakfast + AGM. This is a terrific organization, driven by great volunteers!
    May 30, 2015 8:31 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Former RSO concertmaster, Ed Minevich, performing with students of Mother Teresa Middle School. Giving kids a future.
    May 29, 2015 6:50 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    One of the students, Michael, talking to a big crowd in Regina supporting Mother Teresa Middle School. Good job!
    May 29, 2015 6:28 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Today's sharply negative GDP numbers cement Mr Harper's reputation for having the worst growth record in 8 decades. Part of Mr Harper's problem is he doesn't care much about economic unfairness. That hurts growth. More fairness is good for growth. That's why @JustinTrudeau has a solid plan to boost the well-being of middle-class families. It's for fairness + for growth. http://youtu.be/_Ekd5GAZ_cY
    May 29, 2015 12:08 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Tough new economic warning from BMO's Doug Porter, based on same stats I raised in Question Period today. At what point will this "govt in denial" wake up to the No-Growth economy that's a product of their No-Growth policies. http://www.bmonesbittburns.com/economics/econofacts/20150529b/econofacts.pdf
    May 29, 2015 9:27 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Here are two questions I raised in the House of Commons Question Period today. As usual, the Harper government's obfuscation provided no answers: 1.While the Finance Minister lectures G-7 countries on how to get economic growth by firing people, GDP figures here at home destroy his credibility. Under this government, Canada’s economy shrank in March. It also shrank in February and in January. And last November and last August. Joblessness is up – 200,000 MORE jobless Canadians than before the recession. More inequality. Business investment is down. Exports are down. We’ve suffered 51 months of trade deficits. The government’s plan is producing NO GROWTH and NO JOBS – why don’t they change it? 2. In a chronically weak economy, retirement security is a big middle-class issue. Under this government: THREE-QUARTERS of those working in the private sector do NOT have a company pension. The average 35-year old is saving LESS THAN HALF of what their parents did. Of those within 10-years of retirement, ONLY A THIRD have saved $100,000 or more. Another third – especially in the middle class – have no retirement savings at all. All the government’s optional devices have failed. Why not work constructively WITH the Provinces on a real plan?
    May 29, 2015 8:26 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    If you're raising children under 18, see how much MORE you will receive from Justin Trudeau's better, fairer Canada Child Benefit at liberal.ca/fairness
    May 28, 2015 9:30 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    Here's a typical middle-class family that needs a better Child Benefit + Justin Trudeau's "fairness plan" would provide it https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Ekd5GAZ_cY
    May 28, 2015 8:26 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Proud to attend AGM of Royal Canadian Legion Branch #001 in Regina tonight. Lloyd Jones receives one of the Honours!
    May 27, 2015 6:55 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Harper govt flip-flop on voluntary CPP top-ups makes credibility the issue. Genuine? Or just a ruse to appear to be doing something? Remember Mr Harper in 1990's was opposed to the CPP in its entirety. He wanted to kill it in favour of private sector RRSPs.
    May 27, 2015 10:43 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    When Liberals proposed voluntary CPP top-ups years ago, the Harper government dissed the idea. Why not work with provinces on full CPP enhancements?
    May 26, 2015 12:27 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    In Question Period today, the Harper Government defends tax policies that favour wealthier folks at the expense of those with middle+lower incomes. Inescapable record of the last 9 years shows pathetically poor Canadian economic growth, weak job creation + deepening unfairness.
    May 26, 2015 11:42 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    A sketch graphically illustrating the key difference between "equal" + "equity" - a difference the Harper government fails to understand
    May 26, 2015 11:36 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    NOT WALKING THE TALK ON SECURITY On national security, the Harper government is long on rhetoric, but short on putting its money where its mouth is. More evidence emerged this week with the cancellation of the RCMP's "Project Condor". Starting in 2007, Condor was a special unit that pursued offenders who were unlawfully at-large. It achieved significant success, recapturing 645 individuals who had been previously convicted of murder, drug trafficking, sexual assault, robbery, fraud and other crimes. At last count, there were still 444 offenders on the loose. But Condor has now been shelved. Its resources have been reassigned -- especially to national security. So the Mounties are being forced to "rob Peter to pay Paul" because they don't have sufficient budget to do everything that is being asked of them. The government says the RCMP make all the operational decisions about where their budget goes. But it's the government that determines the overall size of that budget in the first place. Public safety is being undermined. And Stephen Harper cannot deflect the responsibility. Since 2010, funding for the Force has been cut every year except one. The chopping now totals more than $630-million per year. After accounting for inflation, that's a real reduction of 31%. On top of that, more than a billion dollars has been "lapsed" -- i.e., it was approved, voted upon in Parliament, announced but never in fact invested as intended. So what are the consequences? Over 600 officers have been taken away from such priorities as the fight against organized crime and reassigned instead to security work. Three national forensic laboratories have been closed. Underfunding has seriously backlogged the national police database (CPIC). And special projects like Condor are being eliminated. In recent days, Mr. Harper has made a big show of announcing "new" resources for Canada's security agencies. But it's paltry. He says $150-million will be coming to the RCMP -- spread over five years and back-end loaded. That's a drop in the bucket. It won't come close to replenishing what the Conservatives have taken away. They talk a big game, but all their "tough on crime and terror" speeches are not worth the paper they're written on without the budgets to back them up. This government has all the swagger of a dude cowboy with a big hat ... but no cattle.
    May 26, 2015 8:53 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MPlib
    By focusing on need, the Liberal Plan for a bigger and better "Canada Child Benefit" will provide more help, tax-free, to nine out of ten Canadian families. See "HOW MUCH WILL YOU BENEFIT" at http://www.liberal.ca/fairness/
    May 25, 2015 12:50 pm | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Harper government is faltering on trade. They brag about trade deals they claim to have concluded, but Canada's trade balance just ran huge deficit. Harper trade deal with EU has been announced + celebrated 3 times, but it's still not done, let alone ratified + implemented. The trade reality under the "all spin-no action" Harper government is 51 months of trade deficits - including the biggest in history.
    May 25, 2015 11:52 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Canada's economy is weak. Harper government has no plan for growth, jobs or fairness. Recession ended 6 years ago; still 200,000 more Canadians jobless. Finance Minister sits mum in his seat in Question Period. Fails again to respond to economic issues. Cannot explain why Job creation is down by 60%. Unfairness riddles Harper government tax policy. Why pay benefits to wealthiest 1%, while shortchanging middle-class families by $2500?
    May 25, 2015 11:42 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    MR. OLIVER IS CONTRADICTED BY HIS OWN DATA A few days ago, I published an article examining the Harper government's most recent statistics on the public's use of Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). You can see it at http://ralphgoodale.ca/blog/93-canadians-doubling-tfsas/ The figures, freshly published by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) for 2013, together with the pre-budget and post-budget analyses of the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), make one point absolutely clear. There is a good policy case for maintaining TFSAs with an annual limit on contributions at $5500, but there is no compelling argument to nearly double that annual maximum to $10,000. Finance Minister Joe Oliver felt obliged to respond to my blog. You can see his comments at http://news.nationalpost.com/full-comment/letters-suspension-of-disbelief-over-leafs. The Minister's reply was rhetorical and ideological. He made no effort to address the CRA's latest numbers because they contradict him. If he is trying to argue that the annual TFSA limit at $5500 is too low and needs to be drastically increased, he would have to demonstrate that a large and growing number of Canadians are regularly maxing-out and need a higher limit. But that is simply not the case. Here are three "killer facts" from the CRA that destroy Mr. Oliver's position: First, over 28-million Canadians are legally entitled to hold a TFSA, but more than 60% don't participate at all. And only a tiny fraction of those eligible -- a very small 6.7% -- are contributing the maximum. Second, any room to contribute that a TFSA-holder does not use up in one tax year can be added onto future years. According to the CRA, the average TFSA has, within existing limits, some $13,500 in unused room available for more contributions. Third, the numbers of people maxing out their TFSAs has been dropping steadily in both absolute and percentage terms since the program's first year. In 2013, it was down 39% from five years earlier. So where is the argument for increasing the limit? Mr. Oliver certainly hasn't advanced one. By the government's own prognostications, what they're proposing is pricey. Nearly doubling TFSA limits will cost several hundreds of millions of dollars over the next five years, and some tens of billions of dollars over the longer term. Mr. Oliver seems to think that's a good thing -- even if more than 93% of Canadians get no benefit -- because, in his view, anything and everything that diminishes the Government of Canada is a step in the right direction. But if the federal government weren't so warped by that ideology, what are some of the other policy choices that might be made? Veterans could be treated with greater generosity and respect. The middle class income tax rate could be reduced. Child Benefits to help parents with the costs of raising children could be substantially enhanced for nine out of ten Canadian families. The eligibility age for Old Age Security and the Guaranteed Income Supplement could be restored to 65. We could have a strong national system for helping military personnel, police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other first responders with the debilitating realities of PTSD. Mr. Harper's plan to scale back federal support for medicare could be reversed. Our country could make a quantum leap forward in building vital public infrastructure to underpin a more prosperous, productive economy, generating both jobs and growth. We could tear down barriers to education and skills training, and climb back into the top ranks of countries investing in scientific research, new technology and innovation. It's all about choices and priorities. There are many better alternatives -- to nurture Canadians' precious tax dollars, break free from mediocrity, and build a better country. One that works for all of us.
    May 25, 2015 7:20 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana
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    Belle Plaine performing last night before a full house of generous Reginans at RCMP Depot Drill Hall - supporting "Creative Kids".
    May 24, 2015 5:34 am | Saskatchewan, Wascana

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