During any election campaign we, the electorate, expect to hear many half-truths, innuendo and downright misleading statements. The past two weekly columns by Murray Mandryk, published in the Miner Journal, fall into the last category.
For someone who professes to be knowledgeable of the political affairs of this province, he obviously is not aware of what takes place outside of his own little 'ivory tower'. In the Oct. 22 column, Mr. Mandryk resurrected the same divisive rhetoric that can be traced back to the 1930s and 1940s, namely, trying to drive a wedge between rural and urban dwellers. Does he not know that, wherever one lives in Saskat-chewan, we all equally benefit from government programs . . . such as the lowest utility rates in Canada, lowest car insurance premiums, medical benefits, the twinning of Highway No. 1. Yes, even I in this rural setting, use the improved highways to keep medical appointments! The school buses that pick up rural students at their gates, has opened up new possibilities for bright young boys and girls to acquire good basic education and go on to greater accomplishments. Alberta folks, who have moved into our area, are astounded that they do not have to pay large fees for this service plus other school fees unheard of in Saskatchewan.
As for agriculture and so-called neglect thereof, the downward spiral of farm income began when the federal government removed the Crow Rate. Add to this, high input costs of fertilizer, fuel and herbicides, not controlled by provincial jurisdictions. Place blame where it belongs!
As far as the Premier not campaigning in every rural riding goes . . . how can anyone with ordinary commonsense make such a statement? He is only one man! I challenge Mr. Mandryk's statement regarding the lack of candidates' efforts to contact constituents in rural Saskatchewan. I know that, locally, Marlys Kne-zacek can disprove that.
Finally, the Mandryk column of Oct. 29 must be challenged for the half-truths and sleazy innuendo contained therein. While I partially agree with Mr. Mandryk that having to accept political candidates from outside of a particular constituency is not the most desirable situation, this is a practice used in elections for generations and is approved by Elections Canada/Saskatchewan. In our own riding, of the then Saltcoats constituency in 1944, Mr. J. L. Phelps of Wilkie was the CCF/NDP candidate. He became Minister of Natural Resources and was one of the finest and most diligent MLAs we ever had.
As for Mr. Mandryk's remarks, targeting two young men who have the courage and desire to become involved in public affairs as simply 'names on a ballot', perhaps he should take some time to meet these young people and listen to their viewpoint. I, for one, am pleased that young people are stepping forward to take on the responsibility of public service.
Lastly, regarding the Swift Current NDP candidate debacle. This situation was dealt with, quickly and fairly by Premier Calvert, and a new candidate was named to give NDP supporters their right to vote according to their beliefs. Mr. Mandryk neglected to mention that a Sask. Party candidate in Regina Walsh Acres was taken off the ballot by their leader Mr. Wall for similar reasons.
Freedom of the press is a wonderful concept that should be honored and used with respect. I submit that Mr. Mandryk needs a refresher course in objective journalism.
Karin I. Closson
Karin Closson, Stockholm