Tuesday, June 05, 2007

What makes Saskatchewanians tick?

For non-saskies who have trouble understanding the Saskatchewan mindset, this morning I came across a perfect example.

Right now, the Saskatchewan economy is pretty hot. There is a significant real estate boom, grain prices are up; and oil, potash and uranium prices remain high.

This morning Saskatchewan talk radio host John Gormley held a quick poll of listeners asking "do you think the Saskatchewan boom is a good thing? Yes or no?"

I stand to be corrected, but I think 3 of the first four callers answered "no," the boom is not a good thing. Eventually the callers balanced out in favour of the "yes" side, but the fact that so many people answered "no" almost caused me to veer off the pothole-ridden street I was driving on into a government-owned telephone pole.

When Gormley asked one caller why she had answered "no" she replied "because it's all Alberta oil money."

There you have it. I've lived in Saskatchewan for five years now and I'm no closer to figuring it out. That is the quintessential Saskatchewan attitude. The "attitude's" adherents are declining in number, but there are still enough of them to slow the province down.


John Murney said...

David, its like I told you in the beginning. Saskatchewan is a product of the Great Depression; it was an event that left very deep scars, and shapes the province's psyche, even to this day. People here are extremely cautious by nature, because they are uncertain of what the future will bring. When times are bad, they fear change and cling to the 'tried and true'. When times are good, they are more willing to take chances, but remain suspicious of the origins of the good times...and that the good times are an anomaly, not destined to last. This is a worldview that is not easy to change, and requires a great deal of public education.

y2gabs said...

I can't argue with the sweet ride of the upscale residential market but I can raise a flag and explain my flag... When someone says it's "Alberta Oil money" I hear "speculative investment". Hyper-speculative investment causes rise to inflationary markets. The only thing that will sustain an inflationary market is opening the flood gates to resource development. What makes this Saskatchewanian tick is the idea that we manage our growth appropriately (or at least have until now). I'm very concerned that saskatoon will turn into calgary. I've lived in calgary for 6 years and have watched it turn from a city of character and "western" identity into an LA of the north, a pitstop for employment and money. If/When Kyoto kicks in or demand for oil softens (I know, unlikely but prices continue to climb), the single-market economy of Alberta will tank and the sweet ride of this decade will be over. saskatoon has a lot more to offer than untapped pools of fossil fuels and I don't want to see my province raped like Albertans have seen. I'm very frightened for Saskatchewan's future and loss of identity.

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