Sunday, July 25, 2010

Well, he oughta know about "condescending twits"

He works with a few after all

To be absolutely honest, I don't agree with Mr. Goodale's comments in regards to his colleague Mr. Trost, to whit:

"What an insulting, condescending little twit. I mean, that is outrageous for a person of his position to lay that kind of abuse . . . on the cities and towns and villages and rural municipalities of Saskatchewan. That is just appalling," said Goodale.
But enough about Mr. Goodale and his ilk. What I'm more concerned with are the remarks by Mr. Trost and the reason he had to give them.

To be honest, we all know that the municipalities won't act like school kids given a snow day without their homework done, but his concern is genuine and valid. The point I would make, as Mr. Ritz has also mentioned is simply this:

The March 31, 2011, deadline as of now stands, said Ritz. But he noted there are "extenuating circumstances," and Wall and Harper had a "good discussion" of the idea of an extension when the PM toured flooded areas near Yorkton earlier this month.

"The prime minister had said certainly he would take that to heart, but that there was some months left in the construction season and they both agreed that major things could happen if we have a good open fall. But we would keep our eye on the prize and make sure everybody had the chance to move forward with the projects."

In other words, we're not inclined to grant an extension right now, but if it's looking like you won't make the deadline, we'll consider making a special case to do so. This is exactly what Mr. Trost should have said in the first place.

Now realistically, even if an extension WERE granted, that's no guarantee that some municipalities might not reprioritize projects in order to get more important ones done first. That notwithstanding, it is actually of benefit to the municipalities to have a hard deadline at this point in order to be able to avoid situations like what happened on Highways 26 and 55 in the waning days of the last NDP government. Highway 26 was earmarked to have a stretch rebuilt in 2005. Work started that fall with the highway being torn up in preparation in 2006. Because of weather problems (among other issues), Highway 26 wasn't completed until the spring of 2009. During the interim, the "highway" was little more than a nuisance during dry weather, and all but impassable during wet weather. A similar problem occurred with Highway 55 in the same area - with stretches of the "primary weight" highway being of lesser quality than the gravel grid road not 2 miles to the north.

With a hard deadline, the municipalities in question can say "get it done or you're finishing it with less money". With a soft deadline, the companies can be more leisurely about their pace, and that doesn't benefit anyone.

In short, Mr. Trost would have saved himself and everyone else a whole lot of trouble if he had just said the simple statement: "We're not considering it at this point, but we may be persuaded in the future if the weather causes interminable delays".

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