September 29th, 2007
Last week, I participated in a funding announcement for three separate projects in our riding: water and sewage projects for St. Brieux, Wakaw, and the RM of Humboldt. These projects were funded as part of the Municipal Rural Infrastructure Fund (MRIF).
Now I’m not known to be the biggest fan of government spending on just about anything, but the MRIF program has proven to provide a solid return for taxpayers’ dollars.
MRIF works as a partnership between the three levels of government to support “nuts and bolts” type infrastructure projects. These much needed projects provide basic services in towns and RMs. For example, one group of MRIF projects in our riding was already announced earlier this year: $1.4 million for water, sewer and road improvements in Humboldt and nearby communities (including Watson, Aberdeen, Spalding and Leroy). Such local infrastructure projects are what I describe as “necessary projects” –not the white elephant projects that governments sometimes fund.
One of the reasons why MRIF works is because the infrastructure projects selected are the ones most important to the people who live in those communities. This can be seen by the way the funding formula is designed. It is concentrated on local control.
The funding formula basically works out to 50% from the municipal governments, 37.5% from the federal government and the province kicks in 12.5% of the project cost. This means that the projects which get funded are ultimately those given priority by local councils and administrators, the people who do know best.
The MRIF program works. It provides needed infrastructure funding for local projects. Projects which make a real impact on everyone’s quality of life.
I’m Brad Trost your Member of Parliament in Saskatoon-Humboldt. You can call my office in Saskatoon at 975-6133, or drop by to visit our two offices one in Saskatoon (five days a week) and the other in the Humboldt mall (Tuesdays and Wednesdays). I always appreciate your feedback.
September 14th, 2007
I don’t know how many of you have traveled to Canada’s far north. Prior to being elected as a Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Humboldt, I worked in the three northern territories as an exploration geophysicist. This is one of the reasons why I support our Government’s strategy to assert Canada’s Arctic sovereignty.
It is important for all of Canada that we do not lose control of the Arctic or any of the northern regions. These regions are an important part of our history and they also contain mineral wealth. It is also home to the Northwest Passage, a potentially important shipping route which runs through the Arctic.
Various other countries (such as the U.S. and Russia) also have interests in the Arctic—ones that collide with Canada’s. In particular, these northern neighbours disagree that Canada has a right to control the Northwest Passage. They also make claims that interfere with Canada’s economic and territorial sovereignty north of the 60th parallel.
To protect Canada’s control over the Arctic region, the Conservative Government has taken a number of initiatives to strengthen our sovereignty.
First, we are purchasing a series of small ice breakers that will allow the Canadian Coast Guard to travel in the Arctic throughout most of the year. Second, we have increased the size of Canada’s northern Rangers by 900 members. The Rangers are local citizens and part time members of Canada’s military. The rangers are the eyes and ears of the Canadian Forces and help protect Canada and Canadians in the remote regions of the north. Third, we are constructing a deep water port in the Arctic to extend the range of our navy and to allow larger ships to dock. This will allow for further Canadian development in the north. Fourth, a year round Canadian Forces Arctic Training Centre will be established in Resolute Bay.
These steps taken by the government will allow Canadians to physically patrol and develop infrastructure in regions that were previously out of reach. Accordingly, if other countries decide to violate our sovereignty, Canada will have more real assets in place to defend our territory. Defending Canadian sovereignty is more than just talk. When it comes to protecting Canada’s north, the federal government has taken real action.
I’m Brad Trost your Member of Parliament in Saskatoon-Humboldt. You can call my office in Saskatoon at 975-6133. I always appreciate your feedback.
September 7th, 2007
Maybe you didn’t catch it in the news this week but there was some talk about Canada joining a nuclear partnership. There was some discussion about what Canada’s involvement would be in regards to the handling of nuclear fuel and technology.
This is an important issue to Saskatchewan because we are the world’s number one producer of uranium.
The proposal involved would have several aspects. While some of these aspects would not concern Saskatchewan, one idea could have a significant impact on Saskatchewan.
The idea proposed is that the countries that produce nuclear fuel (uranium) also accept the fuel back when the nuclear reactors have used the fuel. While a lot of people might say, why would you want spent nuclear fuel? There are two reasons why Canada is interested in the proposal.
First, there is the basic fairness issue. We mined the uranium in the first place, it is from our province and we do have some responsibility as to how it is used.
Secondly, there is a lot of positive economic potential in used nuclear fuel. Once uranium has been used in a reactor it is still possible to use the spent uranium in reactors again. This would require reprocessing and upgrading of the spent uranium, and would thus provide the potential for new jobs (engineers, scientists, trades people etc.).
The idea of reprocessing nuclear fuel is not without its problems, but it does have the potential of boosting Saskatchewan’s economy by building a sustainable value added industry. The government has not decided what it will do on this issue. However, we are always looking for ideas to grow Saskatchewan.
I’m Brad Trost, your Member of Parliament in Saskatoon-Humboldt. You can call my office in Saskatoon at 975-6133, or drop by to visit our two offices one in Saskatoon and the other in the Humboldt mall. I always appreciate your feedback.