New LG, rewriting Sask political history, and early April Fools joke

March 26, 2018, 4:12 pm

John Gormley John Gormley

John Gormley is a broadcaster, lawyer, author and former Progressive Conservative MP whose radio talk show is heard weekdays from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm on 650 CKOM Saskatoon and 980 CJME Regina.


With Tom Molloy’s swearing in as Saskatchewan’s 22nd Lieutenant Governor, the latest Queen’s representative in the province is an outstanding choice.

Lawyer and long-time land claims and treaty negotiator, Mr. Molloy is highly respected for all the right reasons. He has a life of public service, is accomplished and bears a humility often unseen in people with many fewer achievements than his.

Also, the lead negotiator in the creation of Nunavut, Tom Molloy joins the roster of Saskatchewan’s vice-regal representatives with diverse life experiences. But this is the first time the job has been held by a modern-day Father of Confederation.

With growing discussion about reforming Saskatchewan’s trespass laws as a way of bolstering safety in rural areas, a good conversation is overdue. For generations there’s been a deep sense that rural property, although privately owned, is not as private as it ought to be.

With Saskatchewan’s 60 million acres of farmland—just under one-half of all the arable land in Canada—the law permits hunters, snowmobilers and others to access rural property unless the landowner posts signs restricting people from encroaching.

While respectful people have always sought permission to be on someone else’s land, not everyone does. Now, with significant concern about rural crime and criminals roaming where they want, it’s a good time for a re-set.

As Spring arrived this week, something else changed, at least for Saskatchewan politics watchers. A political geek friend points out that Saskatchewan’s NDP, a one-time political dynasty, is officially no longer the province’s natural governing party.

For the first 39 years after Saskatchewan’s birth in 1905, mainly Liberal governments were elected and one Conservative coalition.

But from its emergence as government in 1944, under Tommy Douglas and a 20-year run until 1964, the NDP was not just North America’s first democratically elected socialist government but also a major force in Saskatchewan politics and culture.

Since 1964, there were only two brief spells when non-NDP governments were elected, as the political default position was always the NDP. And, in that time, the NDP has won seven elections and non-NDP parties—the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and now SaskParty—have also won seven.

But my number crunching friend points out that since 1964, the NDP has governed for 9,829 days. As of today, non-left-wing parties have overtaken that, now having governed for 9,834 days.

And, it can’t be a good sign for our culture when stories that would have been perfect April Fools jokes are now told with a straight face.

As we know, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is obsessed with “diversity and inclusion.” He chants it, mantra-like, whenever he can, recently noting that it is one of the greatest challenges facing Canada.

He is also the first PM in history who believes that trade agreements, military deployments and even the federal budget can be gender-balanced.

So, it should come as no surprise that a memo from the government’s Service Canada agency urges staff to avoid using the terms “Mr., Mrs., and Ms.” for fear of offending people and, instead, gender-neutral and gender-inclusive language should be used to “avoid portraying a perceived bias toward a particular sex or gender.”

Also, to be nixed are “mother and father” in favour of the gender-neutral, more inclusive—and presumably less offensive—“parents.”

As political critics scoffed, the Minister responsible for Service Canada gamely clarified that the government won’t necessarily stop using these terms, rather “we are only confirming how people want to be addressed as a matter of respect.”

Maybe it was a joke, after all. There are certainly a lot of people laughing at the Trudeau government again.