May 17, 2021
  • 5:49 pm Comment: Will the government HR policy please stand up?
  • 5:48 pm Training the labour force
  • 5:47 pm EOC wants dads’ rights extended
  • 5:47 pm Flexibility pays off
  • 5:47 pm HR urged to champion racial cause

The Liberals and NDP will have little time to prepare campaigns in most of Saskatchewan’s federal ridings, as each party has nominated just six candidates with weeks to go until election day.That’s far fewer than the Conservatives and People’s Party, which have full slates of candidates in the province’s 14 ridings. The Greens are also further ahead with nine candidates, according to that party’s press secretary. One Liberal riding chair blamed the delay on a lack of interest from candidates, while another said the party has been slow approving nomination papers. Reina Sinclair, chairwoman of Regina—Qu’Appelle’s Liberal riding association, said the lost time will hinder an eventual candidate’s ability to raise money and connect with voters.“It’s really frustrating for us too, let me tell you,” said Sinclair.A University of Regina political scientist said the delays could stem from weak local organizations in long-shot ridings that are low on the priority list for the national campaigns. He said the slow start will put fresh NDP and Liberal candidates at a “huge” disadvantage. Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.“You’re almost running a sacrificial candidate,” said Jim Farney, head of the university’s Department of Politics and International Studies. The election is expected on Oct. 21. The campaign should begin in September.The neglected ridings are concentrated in rural areas, but include at least one urban seat for each party. They may look like lost causes for the Liberals and NDP. The Conservatives won around 70 per cent of the vote in some rural ridings last election, and more than 50 per cent in several others.But Farney said that’s still short-sighted. With Indigenous and immigrant populations growing in Saskatchewan, it’s a lost opportunity to build for the future.“That’s not good for the long-term health of the party,” said Farney.Party spokesmen put a different spin on the slow progress. NDP communications officer Guillaume Francoeur said the party’s diversity-focused nomination process takes more time to complete.“The NDP has put together a truly democratic nomination process, which also demands that our local associations conduct a thorough search for candidates from equity seeking groups, so it is natural that this process takes a little more time,” he said. “Our campaign in Saskatchewan is shaping up very nicely.”John Tzupa, the NDP’s provincial secretary in Saskatchewan, said there are nominations in the pipeline for every outstanding riding except Prince Albert. But he said it could take until early September before those candidates are formally in place.He acknowledged there have been “growing pains” as leader Jagmeet Singh gets settled in. But he brushes aside any notion that the party is writing off Saskatchewan.“They’re really gearing up towards the campaign and getting in a place where they can run the strongest campaign they can,” Tzupa said. “Some of that took time.”A Liberal spokesman said the party is being approached by “a variety of talented community leaders” in Saskatchewan. It is currently processing hundreds of candidates who have sought nominations across the country, according to communications officer Parker Lund. He said the remaining nominations are moving forward “very soon.”But it’s clear there are areas of glaring weakness. In Cypress Hills—Grasslands, where the Liberals came up short by almost 20,000 votes in 2015, it’s been difficult to attract someone willing to run.“We’ve checked out some candidates, and so far everyone has said ‘no, not at this time,’” said riding association chairman Duane Filson, who ran for the Liberals in 2011.The association has never had a large number of volunteers, according to Filson. It lacks the resources needed to mount a strong campaign against the Conservatives.“There won’t be any comparison,” he said.Liberal party efforts are much further advanced in Regina—Qu’Appelle, the riding currently held by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. Liberal riding association chair Reina Sinclair said there are about 100 volunteers on hand ready to go, including poll captains on 12 reserves. She mentioned an Indigenous prospect who has submitted paperwork for the nomination. But it has taken weeks to get approval from the party, according to Sinclair. She said party authorities told her that a mountain of paperwork from across the country is holding up the process.“We’re getting so close to the election…” Sinclair said. “It’s just so unfortunate that this individual is going to have to raise money quickly, get out there, buy pamphlets, get signs — oh my goodness.“The one good thing is whoever is a candidate in Regina—Qu’Appelle is going to come with a ready-made team.”She said the campaign is missing out on all-important campaigning opportunities at powwows across the riding, though the prospective candidate has still been attending on an informal basis. Sinclair just hopes the candidate is selected in time for the Treaty 4 Pow Wow in September.“We’ve never, ever in this riding not had a candidate by that date,” she said.Sulaiman Javed Khatana, chair of the Liberal association for Battlefords—Lloydminster, said his riding is in a similar situation. A prospective candidate’s paperwork is in, but not yet approved.Khatana said local Liberals will be able to mount a campaign, but “not as we’re supposed to.”The Conservatives had all of their candidates in place months ago. Eight are incumbents. But even challengers have been actively campaigning to pick up seats. Warren Steinley and Michael Kram were both nominated in Regina ridings last year and have been busy for months. Steinley has a serious head-start on door-knocking over his competitors. Kram is setting up his campaign office and has been visiting doorsteps since February. Both run social media pages with almost daily updates on their efforts.Kram’s campaign manager said she hopes to see an NDP candidate soon, in the expectation it could bleed some votes from the Liberals.Regina looks like a campaigning wasteland for the NDP. The party’s only nominated candidate is in Regina—Lewvan. Francoeur touted the large nomination meeting this summer that chose businessman Jigar Patel. But the riding’s NDP association president has publicly doubted the party’s chances of holding the riding, due to sagging morale from the departure of Erin Weir.The party’s Regina—Wascana riding association president, Greg Fingas, said his association hasn’t yet set a date for a nomination meeting. Regina Qu’Appelle is in a similar state. Fingas said the NDP currently has no campaign office and no staff in the riding. The association has no active Facebook or Twitter presence. The NDP seems stronger in Saskatoon, where it has an incumbent in Saskatoon West, an established candidate in Saskatoon—University and a challenger who’s already hitting the doorsteps in Saskatoon—Grasswood. But that candidate, Erika Ritchie, was only nominated on Thursday.The Liberals have two candidates in each city. Ralph Goodale is running for a ninth consecutive term in Regina—Wascana. Winter Fedyk, running for Regina—Lewvan, has a campaign office leased on the F.W. Hill Mall and has obviously put considerable thought into her first-rate graphic design. But she’s been in Nunavut during much of the summer for work responsibilities. MP Ralph Goodale’s campaign office on University Park Drive. Goodale is seeking a ninth consecutive term and does not yet have an NDP challenger. Under Erin Weir’s shadow, NDP candidate prepares for Thursday nomination meeting Goodale dangles goodies for Regina at campaign launch party BRANDON HARDER / Regina Leader-Post The NDP also has a candidate in Moose Jaw—Lake Centre—Lanigan, while the Liberal campaign in Prince Albert just opened an office and seems to be rolling ahead smoothly. Both parties seem strong in the northern riding of Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River, where they’re running well-known and well-connected candidates.But neither party has a candidate selected in Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Yorkton—Melville, Regina—Qu’Appelle, Souris—Moose Mountain, Battlefords—Lloydminster or Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek.Farney said the goals of modern campaigning take time to achieve. He said it’s not so much about persuading opponents. It’s about convincing supporters to turn out and vote.For that, parties need a friendly face at the doorsteps.“The best way to do that is still to have a local candidate, having come up stood in your doorstep, shaken your hand, built a relationship and said ‘Will you vote for me on Oct. 21?’” Farney explained.Even where they don’t have nominees, party activists are trying to stay optimistic. Sinclair said volunteers will give the campaign their all in Regina—Qu’Appelle. They know who they’re running against. They just need to know who they’re fighting for.“We’re ready to go,” Sinclair said. “We just need this to be green lit and then we’re going to light up that riding — and Mr. Scheer is going to have his hands full.”[email protected] read more

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first_imgAustralia will only secure sustainable benefits from the current resources boom if the Rudd Government’s first Budget implements a range of policy recommendations it proposes, says the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM). It has urged the Treasurer to implement measures that will capture the long term benefits of the mining boom, and that will continue to add value to Australia’s economy, environment and society. The CEO of The AusIMM, Michael Catchpole, said these measures would increase exploration and research activity, change the basis of higher education funding, provide incentives for women to remain in the workforce, develop nationally consistent safety regulation across the country and introduce an effective emissions trading scheme.“As the professionals in the minerals sector, our members are committed to using their technical knowledge for the benefit of the community,” Catchpole said. “In proposing policy settings across a range of ministerial portfolios, our submission takes the broader view on issues of future competitiveness and economic, social and environmental sustainability.”The AusIMM Pre-Budget Submission for 2008-09 puts forward policy recommendations in five key areas that are critical to the minerals sector. They are: exploration, minerals R&D, human capital, emissions reductions and health and safety.Increasing exploration levels in Australia is a clear priority for The AusIMM. “New exploration is the lifeblood of the industry. Australia’s share of global exploration has been declining in recent years, and only 36% of exploration undertaken last year was searching for new deposits. The AusIMM welcomes indications from the government that it will introduce a flowthrough shares scheme for explorers to stimulate exploration activity.”Catchpole said maintaining Australia’s excellence in research and development has also been identified as a priority. “The Australian mining industry has built up a competitive advantage by applying leading edge technologies which have increased productivity, reduced costs and also reduced impacts on the environment. Australia has an excellent record of government-research institute-industry collaboration that has resulted in stunning value-added results for our economy. This collaboration is not something we can take for granted. It requires a strong public commitment to funding for research infrastructure – centres of excellence and PhD studies. In a consolidated industry we need to ensure that global players continue to choose Australia as their preferred location for mining research.”The escalating professional skills shortage is another major impediment for the future development of the industry. It is a bizarre anomaly that in the midst of the nation’s biggest ever resources boom, university departments dedicated to minerals-related courses are closing. Catchpole said this was due to the inadequacy of the current formula that allocated funds on the basis of enrolment numbers. This had disadvantaged small, capital-intensive courses such as Mining Engineering and Geoscience.“A new funding formula must recognise the diversity in location of these courses and the staffing numbers and costs of infrastructure required to teach them to the highest standard. Disciplines of national importance must be encouraged to expand to meet growing and sustained demand.”In a bid to attract and retain professionals in the mining industry, The AusIMM has also urged the government to implement policy measures that would increase women’s participation in mining. It recommends that the government provide adequate assistance for a broad range of child care options, in particular In-Home care, or nannies. “Far from being a luxury, nannies are the only child care option compatible with mining rosters for many women working in the industry,” Catchpole said. “Members of The AusIMM Women in Mining network have reported paying in excess of $35,000 for child care – more than half their after-tax salary. Government assistance that recognises the real child care needs of shift workers in all sectors is essential if women are to participate fully in our economy – and if our economy and society is to maximise the benefit of that participation. One option is to make costs of child care tax deductible.”A nationally consistent approach to safety and health regulation is also a priority for The AusIMM. Companies that work in several states are required to comply with multiple regimes driven by a variety of compliance philosophies. Resolving the details and differences detracts from the real task of putting in place the most effective safety system possible. “Federal and state governments have taken steps towards nationally consistent safety principles through the National Mines Safety Framework, but the rate of progress has been slow,” Catchpole said. “We urge the government to make a strong commitment to the implementation of the Framework so that consistent, continuous improvement in safety and health can be achieved.”Finally, global warming is a major challenge of our times. The mining industry is well placed to contribute to a technology-based solution to global emissions reduction. In a metals-hungry world, the significance of energy efficiency improvements in the production of commodities such as iron ore cannot be underestimated.The AusIMM has urged the Government to implement a comprehensive technology policy that will complement its emissions reduction scheme. “In scale-intensive industries such as mining and minerals processing, the cost of developing new low-emissions technologies can run into billions, but these are the very developments the world needs if we are to maintain our standard of living whilst bringing down emissions,” Catchpole said. “Strong fiscal incentives are needed to encourage companies to take the ‘next big step’ in low emissions R&D.”last_img read more

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