I read the news today. Oh boy. About picket lines in sunny Saskatchewan. And though the news was rather sad, well I just had to wonder . . .
I saw the future today. Oh boy. We are about to be a "have" province. The economy is growing and there is hope for the future. We have an opportunity to redefine Saskatchewan as a place to live, work and raise a family. The question is, what does that province look like? Can it be sustainable into the future?
Home is where the heart is. I was born in Regina, educated, and raised my children here with the exception of three life - changing years in Calgary, where I worked the key desk at Alberta Mortgage and Housing in 1981 after the market in Alberta crashed and people could not afford their homes.
It was heartbreaking and devastating to see people break down and give up their homes. I will never forget the image of a bike left behind. That experience was one of the reasons that we decided to live in Saskatchewan and raise our family here. However, for the first time in my Saskatchewan lifetime, housing is no longer affordable for low to middle income families.
Having a job is what every family is concerned about. With the price and availability of housing, families are working to pay mortgages beyond the measure of two full time incomes. The price of my first house (albeit a 750 square foot duplex) was $36,000. Today, a first house will cost approximately $200,000.
When I look at those prices, I wonder how someone starting out can afford that. I also wonder if we have the jobs in our province to sustain this kind of price tag. If we want people to live and thrive in Saskatchewan, we need a plan that takes us into the future, rather than one that will force people out of our province as soon as other job opportunities present themselves in other provinces.
That brings me to education and the mind trust of the next generation. Education is not just about books and curriculum. A good teacher is one that lives in your head and heart throughout your life. Education is about providing our children and young adults with an experience that prepares them to be our leaders, our policy makers, and our workers.
Health care is the last pillar that defines us a a province. There are no words to express what this means to a family or person in crisis. It's difficult to put a price tag on compassion or a person's life.
I see the writing on the wall today. Oh boy. Crowds of people have something to say. This summer, before the fall. It is no wonder then that people have something to say.