Sign up below for The SKoop newsletter!
Nov. 18, 2022

"My Boyfriend's Favourite Podcast"

Win a $100 from either Leopold's Tavern, Victoria's Tavern, or CO-OP! Sign up for The SKoop newsletter and share The SKoop with friends to increase your chance of winning. Top 3 participants that gain the most points can win! 

The SKoop returns! After a short break, Sally, Kevin and Dale are back and better than ever! With the Grey Cup in Regina this weekend the SKoop does a "halftime show", and go through the highlights from the first half of the fall legislative session, including the Sask Party's "fumble" on the kickoff (Colin Thatcher debacle), and other issues that have come up. Then, they discuss taking political responsibility for administrative issues often out of politician's control, like sending cheques to dead people or a multi-million healthcare payroll system not working on launch. They discuss the bizarre Emmanuel Villa story, and cap it off with everyone's favourite new segment, "What Actually Mattered This Week". 


  • Kevin Doherty, former Saskatchewan Party MLA and cabinet minister, and current Senior Strategy Advisor at Prairie Sky Strategy; 
  • Sally Housser, NDP insider and former Saskatchewan NDP chief of staff, and current Senior Manager, Public Affairs at Canadian Strategy Group; and 
  • Dale Richardson, podcaster and former director of communications for the Saskatchewan Party. 

FOLLOW the podcast on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or any major podcast app, and don't forget to give a 5-star review. Follow The SKoop on Twitter (@theskooppodcast).

Want to ask a question for The SKoop team? Write a message to our mailbag here.

The SKoop is a podcast from 306 Media Productions.

Sponsorship inquiries.

Music is "Highway 94" from Blue Dot Sessions. 


The SKoop - my boyfriend's favourite podcast

[00:00:00] this is the SKoop, the podcast that takes you inside Saskatchewan politics from the headlines to the back rooms. Here's former Saskatchewan party cabinet minister, Kevin Doherty, NDP insider, Sally Housser, and me Dale Richardson. 

Kevin Doherty: I have a face for podcasting,

Dale Richardson: Yeah.

Kevin Doherty: for face, for radio, as they say.

Dale Richardson: Yeah. There you do. All right. Welcome back to the SKoop podcast we took last week off, remembrance Day was, uh, was on Friday. Was was on the 11th. I was also traveling a bit last week, so we, uh, we weren't on the air, but Kevin, I was saying to you before we got rolling, I'm really excited to be back with you guys.

Uh, I missed you and it's, it's great to see the both of you. How are, how are you?

Sally Housser: Are doing 

Kevin Doherty: well, thank you. I appreciate that. And, uh, and good to see Sally [00:01:00] again. And, uh, yeah, it was, uh, it was, uh, remember its day last week and, and, uh, I thought we would've had lots of talk about with the American elections last week, but, uh, you were, you were busy traveling and getting back to Saskatchewan and whatnot, so it's, uh, it's good to be back.

Dale Richardson: It is Sally, how are you doing?

Sally Housser: Yeah. Uh, doing pretty good. I mean, I kind of followed the, uh, American elections, but there was also that I, I saw, you know, a tweet somebody, somebody said, you know, my. Twitter tells me I should be, uh, be following the, the American elections. Uh, but my heart says I should be following the medicine Brooks by election in Alberta.

And so that's where I was a little bit more than, uh, than otherwise. It just on the road a lot. This is the, the, this kind of for people who work in our world of public affairs, the, the busy time of year where it's, uh, a lot of travel and getting things locked down, uh, before the Christmas season, uh, starts to rock and roll.

Dale Richardson: Midway, midway through October to first or second [00:02:00] week in December is crazy. Um, yeah, that I'm definitely feeling that as, as, yeah. You guys both are. I know. So,

Kevin Doherty: Three. Three Christmas reception, INV invites. So far, uh, that I have, I'm sure more

Dale Richardson: Only three

Sally Housser: only

Kevin Doherty: three. I know

Sally Housser: up here.

S Steph, 

Dale Richardson: No. Lots of lots of people. Lots of people to, uh, to meet and see. Um, just before we get into a couple, couple house, uh, housekeeping things, The, the gift card, uh, referral contest that, that we have started to, to help grow the scoop. Um, it started off with a $100 co-op gift card giveaway.

Thanks to our wonderful friends at, Leo's group, they have also given us a $100. Give a $100. It's amazing how much that is for Leopold's Tavern. A hundred bucks for Leo's and another hundred dollars gift card for Victoria's ta. So in [00:03:00] addition, in addition to the co-op gift card, so for the people that are listening, if you want a chance, you have one, uh, one in three chances to win one of those gift cards.

Go to the to the show notes for this episode. You need to sign up for the Scoop newsletter. There's a link in the show notes. Sign up for the Scoop newsletter and then share. The scoop, with your friends and your family. There's a, there's a referral link that you'll get once you sign up for the newsletter.

Share that link with friends and family post on social media. Uh, the more you share, the more chance you have at winning. So that's a lot, Sally. That's a lot of beers and poutine you could have at

Sally Housser: It's Well, and I, you know, you shout out to, to Leo's and Vicks. Two, two of my favorite Hauns uh, Leo's would be the, my local, the closest, uh, place to mine. And I mean, I, I, I feel like I probably shouldn't enter myself, but I mean, that would, that would help me. You know, at least break even from the bar I had there from last weekend.


Dale Richardson: [00:04:00] Yeah. yeah. Thanks. Thanks again to, to

Sally Housser: Great pubs and also Leos one thing just for, um, you know, for my time in Ottawa and all the, the times I've met the, the relationship and, you know, we, we often talk about kind of, you know, the, the, the, the troubles with kind of like drinking and mental health and, and politics, but that it is also something about that kind of association.

And Leo's is really the closest pub to the legislature and that's where. Kind of, you do run into people there, you know, some, if you wanna have a real serious conversation, you go a little further afield, uh, because you don't wanna get caught kind of next to somebody. But, uh, um, but it, it is, that's the, that's the place that I've most often run into other political staffers and, and such in, in the city of Regina, for sure.

Dale Richardson: Yeah. Yeah. VX is like that as well for me, I think. But you know what? Those places are good because, because they are loud, typically they're pretty loud. So if you wanna have kind of a. You know, not confidential, but a good chat and [00:05:00] have a beer. Great places to go. So anyway, so, uh, so sign up for, for that contest.

Uh, we also got a couple of excellent five star reviews in the last couple of weeks. If I can just very quickly read them. This first one, five Stars, it's from. Bill wrote, nice to hear, thoughtful, experienced viewpoints delivered from both political stripe lenses. The what mattered this week Portion offers a nice summary of the important political issues of the week.

Great job, Sally, Kevin, and Dale. So that's nice. Thank you, bill. And then this one five star review from Jessica with one of the favorite, my, my, probably my favorite title of anything ever. My boyfriend's favorite podcast. She. I just wanted to let you know that this podcast has been the soundtrack to multiple road trips with my boyfriend, who doesn't even live in Saskatchewan.

He really enjoys it and it's even sparked a bit of an interest in politics in me. So my [00:06:00] boyfriend's favorite podcast. Maybe that'll be the name of this episode. I love that. So anyway, thanks. Thanks, uh, for those reviews, if anybody would like to leave, leave a five star please. Uh, please do so. Okay, let's let, let's get into it.

I thought, you know, with the Great Cup being in Regina this weekend, and, and I'm not sure if you guys are going to any Great Cup festivities. I, as far as I know, I, uh, I will not be going with the Gray Cup being. And the fact that we're now halfway through, through the fall legislative session. I, I, I thought, and I think we did this kind of in the, in the, during the spring session, a bit of a halftime show for halfway through through the fall legislative session.

So, of course, uh, at the Gray Cup, there'll be three country music artists performing at halftime. So nobody knows who these guys are, but they're gonna, they're gonna be, be performing. Kevin, maybe, maybe I'll, I'll start with you. If, if you were on the, uh, on the CFL [00:07:00] TSN halftime panel and talking about the legislative session here, what would be the highlight package so far that, you know that, what, what would be the highlight so far?

From my perspective, I think it's safe to say that they, that the game started off with a fumble on the kickoff with the Colin that. Thing at, um, you know, at, at, at, at the start of the session. But beyond that, uh, what were, what were the highlights so far in this session?

Kevin Doherty: Well, I think, you know, it's, it's, again, the fall session is, for me, is not as, as, uh, politically relevant as the spring session because that's when the budget comes down and that's when you do start to pass legislation and, uh, you know, you're, you're really, uh, into, um, uh, The, the meat of estimates and where the government's spending your taxpayers dollars and what the legislation, if you're making amendments to the legislation, introduce in the fall.

So, you know, there's been some, uh, I, I, I, I can't think of any controversial legislation introduced so far this fall. I stand to be corrected to [00:08:00] maybe Sally, you and Dale have have different views on that, but, so no, no game changers with respect to legislation this fall. It's been introduced so far.

Obviously, I agree with you on the, uh, the fumble on the kickoff with the start to the, to the legislative session. Uh, on, uh, on Throne Speech Day. Uh, but I think since then, you know, for that next week or so, the government had to eat some humble pie and the premier apologized and minister tell apologized.

And, uh, but now I think they've got back focused on the issues of the day. They've got back focused on passing legislation that passed through the house in, in, uh, in. Uh, I won't say record time, but in a short order time with respect to the $500 checks going out to help with the, uh, the inflationary cost of living, uh, situation that's going on, not only here in Saskatchewan, but clear across the country.

So, you know, I think the government's found it stride and, uh, they're continuing down their agenda, uh, with respect to, um, Reestablishing that, uh, the asserting of their, of their jurisdiction within the Constitution and having that debate. And, [00:09:00] you know, I will say, uh, uh, uh, just parenthetically that, uh, you know, uh, Sally and a couple of others have pointed out that this Howard e England wrote an article that, that criticized that, that particular document, the drawing, the line document.

So I went back and read, there's three, actually three articles that Howard e England published with respect to that paper and, and. He said it was very poorly written. If you read his three articles that he wrote about his analysis of what Scott Mo was trying to do, what Premo was trying to do, he agrees with.

And it was interesting in his conclusions that, uh, you can get into the whole aspect of, of a nation within a nation and why, uh, under per minister Harper there, you know, the Quebec situation is, is different. But just on that particular issue, I think it's been, uh, the most focused area, uh, from the government's perspective in reasserting their jurisdiction and is starting to pick up steam with respect to other.

Uh, pundits and, and other, uh, academics weighing in on, uh, this is gonna be an interesting aspect to it from a constitutional perspective with this, with this panel, that they're setting up a quasi-judicial [00:10:00] panel that will look at economic harm to the province by federal legislation. So that's been, you know, obviously the, the center point of what the government's introduced this fall.

Um, so that for me would have to be the highlight.

Dale Richardson: Sally, if you were, if you were sitting on the sideline at the, in the booth wearing your, a big puffy coat doing the halftime, uh, the halftime panel this weekend, what's, uh, what's in the highlight package from the, the session so far?

Sally Housser: Well, I'd agree with Kevin that it's, it's, you know, uh, there's less attention on, on this session than there is on, on the spring session. And I, I just before I wanna get back to it, uh, when, when Kevin was talking about the, uh, um, uh, the panel for, uh, you know, the, the, the state of the nation of Saskatchewan as it were, uh, you know, the quasi-judicial panel.

Is it a blue ribbon, quasi-judicial panel? Just, just curious. I just, the names, I, I understand what quasi-judicial I, I'm just having like, I remember Michael Igna of [00:11:00] saying that once is like, we're not doing a panel. Oh, is it a blue ribbon panel? Okay, fine. Like just to the average vote of what moves people's, you know, what lights people's far, what we're gonna have a quasi-judicial panel on this issue is, uh, is maybe not, um, you.

Dale Richardson: a, it's a bit lawyerly, isn't it?

Sally Housser: I mean, I, you know, so was lots of things, things in the legislature and stuff like that, but all, all the different names for panels is always just, it's, its a thing for me personally that I get a kick out. Um, obviously, yeah, the fumble, the really loss of the first week, and we could really call it two weeks if, if we're honest.

And the, the session isn't that long. Um, you know, yeah. They get, uh, you know, after that kind of two weeks you kind of get your footing under you. But I mean, I don't see that focus in, in the same way that, that Kevin might see it. Cuz you've got, you've really got kind of your six weeks laid out for you.

And when you have the, the first two weeks kind of hooped, [00:12:00] um, Then it takes some time to, to get kind of your feet back under you, get your sea legs back as it were. Um, you know, and then the NDPs come with, uh, you know, obviously you had that, which was not the NDPs thing, which was an UN goal or a fumble, as you say.

Um, but that more allegations around kind of, uh, briarcrest. Uh, another, the, the, the kind of the, we're talking about advanced education, uh, you know, the, the minister of education, the various different, all these kind of schools that are getting funding, uh, that have questionable teachings, and then frankly, questionable.

Human rights practices and questionable ethics. Um, and then that kind of, I think that that came out of left field at them. And it was something that, um, had come across Scott Moe's desk when he was the minister responsible for that. And anything you can tie an is anytime you can tie an issue directly to the Premier, then that's not a bad day for the opposition.

Uh, this week they've been doing what, I mean, we've [00:13:00] talked about it here before. What the opposition does really well, particularly with reference to the healthcare sector, is bringing out those real stories. Those people who are dealing, we had a, you know, a woman who, with her baby was 20 hours in, in the ER and then released and, you know, saying, no, there's, you know, there's fine no back again.

Um, bringing out those. Those real personable stories that make people go, okay, well maybe it's not me dealing with this right now, but what if I've been in the hospital before, my family members have been in the hospital before. What happens if I end up at the er? And it's a.

Dale Richardson: Sallys, this is a question. Um, I was, I was chatting with somebody about this within the last week, and, and if I'm completely wrong, tell me to tell me that I am, I think I, I think I could be wrong on this, but we, I was just tossing this idea around is there any part for the NDP where. Um, I mean, obviously it was nice to, to punch the government in the face for, as, as you say, [00:14:00] probably two weeks over the call and Thatcher thing.

But it did that incident, it did pull the, pull the opposition off of their, their intended main track from the start. You know, you've said many, many times, uh, start as you intend to go on right. Any do, do you think that there may have been any kind of, not irritation, but any sort of like, uh, from, from the NDP side of things that, boy, you know, we, that kind of pulled us off track and it was, we gained a few points

Sally Housser: No, I, I think when you have, when you have a mistake like that, you know, the NDP would've had to, uh, have, you know, been able to land some pretty incredible. Punches that would equal, uh, the punch that they gave to themselves in that respect. It is hard, but, but, but I, I mean, I do take your point is that, you know, the opposition, like the government has a plan for a session and you, you game it out like we're.

[00:15:00] Rational actors and we'll talk about, we'll say this, they'll say this, we'll say this back. Uh, and then, you know, that goes out the window for the first two weeks. And then it's like, well, do we, do we start again? Do we, do we move to where we thought we would be at this time? You know? And then there's always other things coming up, right?

The best, you know, the best laid plans of mice and men as it were. Um, you know, all that being said, um, I think they've stuck on, I think they've used. Some good hits to great advantage. Um, and then, you know, I manage, uh, I imagine particularly the back half of the session as we get closer into Christmas and stuff like that, you'll hear more about that kind of affordability and anxiety and stuff like that.

Dale Richardson: Kevin, if the, if the government, um, let's say that they, they fumbled in their end zone on the kickoff and, and the NDP recovered for a touchdown with the Thatcher thing, if that was the first play of the game, um, has, has the SAS party, have they. [00:16:00] Come back to, to tie it or are, you know, have they kinda returned fire a bit to, to, to the point where it's getting closer now to even, and you know, again, the three of us, we've talked lots about how, uh, any session it's, it's, it's the oppositions time to, to score points.

And, you know, they're, they're the ones that are really in charge of things through question period. But, uh, since that first week or you know, let's call it six or seven session days, has the government kinda. Trim. Trim that lead, or where do you think they

Kevin Doherty: Yes, I, I think they have, I think that, If you look at the different reports that are coming out, you know, I hear the, the economy critic on the ndp, uh, young Talk, talking down the economy all the time, as if we're in the worst economic conditions this province has ever seen. The biggest problem employers have these days is they can't find workers.

That's the biggest problem that we have right now. So nobody believes this, this, uh, narrative that somehow our economy is in the tank. We've had a a, a better than average. [00:17:00] This fall, uh, all of their commodity sectors are doing quite well with respect to, you know, they keep talking about, uh, all of these revenues that the government's seeing.

Well, where do you think those revenues are coming from? If the economy's in the tank? Like, it just doesn't add up. There's not a consistency to the narrative here. And so, you know, I don't think anybody in coffee row is sitting down and thinking, geez, you know, the NDP are hitting on something here and talking down the economy when people know that they can't find workers in the service.

Or they can't. I have a, uh, involved with a client right now. They're looking for 75 people in the province right now. They have 75 open positions in the province right now. They're looking for, uh, for workers for those positions. So, uh, you know, I don't think that narrative is, is holding water and by all metrics, that's not holding water.

With respect to how our exports are up, how our wholesale merchandising trade is up. Uh, our employment is, is uh, at record highs. Uh, the unemployment rate is at record lows. So that kind of narrative doesn't work. So if you're gonna continue down that line where you're talking down the economy, I think people just start to tune you out knowing full well that [00:18:00] that's not the reality we're living here in Saskatchewan.

So, you know, I think, uh, uh, providing some financial relief in, in, uh, in the $500 checks that are going out, which the NDP supported in the house, they talked to against it in their speeches in the, in the legislature, and then voted in favor of the motion, didn't even put up an amendment or, or vote against it, given their criticisms and what have you.

So, you know, it's kind of.

Dale Richardson: Well, they wanted it, Kevin. They wanted that expanded to, to kids though that that was an interesting wrinkle to the

Kevin Doherty: why not move an amendment to that then? I mean, you have that opportunity instead, the legislature, whether the speaker will allow it or not, because it's a financial thing. You still make a position, a principle position by saying, We're gonna try to amend this because this is what we believe the payment should look like.

So, you know, again, it, it's kind of like, uh, um, uh, it's not reality if you're gonna, you know, healthcare and education. I agree. There's healthcare issues in the province. There's healthcare issues across the country. I'm looking at a headline right now in the Global Mail. From yesterday, I believe lengthy wait times have some BC cancer patients dying before their [00:19:00] first consultations.

The longest wait times in the country are in NDP run British Columbia right now for cancer patients. So this idea that healthcare is just strictly a problem in Saskatchewan is just not factual. So on the economy, I think the government's doing quite well. They're providing relief to the citizens of this province.

They're continuing to generate economic activity by their policies and the Minister of Health brought forward a plan. To deal with the healthcare situation, the province, it's gonna take some time to, uh, to roll out and, and get implemented as every other province is dealing with. So I do think they've come back and if not, uh, taken the lead certainly tied the score.

If you're using a football analogy, breakup week deal.

Sally Housser: You know, we've had, um,

Dale Richardson: had a comment on, 

Sally Housser: yeah, I mean we've had this not, no, not on wait times, not on, on, on, on the economy. Um, you know, you talk about coffee row and you can have the, these metrics and exports and imports and things like that. And, and when people aren't feeling it, and I've said this before, when people aren't feeling that [00:20:00] prosperity themselves, um, It's hard, you know, not to be vulgar, but don't, you know, piss on my shoes and, and tell me that it's raining and there's an awful lot.

Of people in this province, we have the highest food bank usage in, in the country. We've got like, well, you know, you have those metrics on one side. We've got some really, really poor metrics on the other side. And so for the government to say we're, we're doing the best, the best, the best, and then have so many people, and not just the most vulnerable people in society, but working class people, middle class people who are now really feeling the pinch.

To be told that everything's hunky dory. When inflation's still as it is, we still have the, the lowest or if not the second lowest, um, you know, uh, a minimum wage in the country. Wages are simply not keeping up. You know, people are looking for workers, but we've got a lot of young people leaving to go where that same job [00:21:00] will play, pay a little bit more.

Um, so, you know, I get what, what this, you know, what, what Kevin is saying in the SAS party and there there's all sorts of metrics that can say one thing. There's a lot of metrics that can, can say another thing and coffee row or another type of row. Uh, there's a lot of people in the province who. Going, who are I actually buying?

What the and DP is selling going. I am. If we're supposed to be talking about being a prosperous province and we've got these revenues, well, I'm not seeing any of it.

Dale Richardson: You know, I wonder if, I wonder if both, both things can be true here, you guys, and, and by that I mean. One, one can have solid good employment for themselves, um, while at the same time, um, at least, you know, even for those who are, uh, have, have, you know, good paying jobs, like, I think the three of us would, and, you know, the economy be relatively strong, but still at the same time be feeling the pinch of the rising cost.

So, David [00:22:00] Hurley, who I, I I met last week in Toronto. Host of the Curse of Politics podcast. By the way, David, if you're listening, you said you were gonna start listening to the scoop. Hello, sir. Uh, in, in one of his Hurley Burley podcasts recently, he was talking, I, I think this was him. He was talking about polling that he had recently done, where he was seen at even people who were in the, you know, upper middle class, , income brackets probably like the three of. even those people are, are, you know, with the cost of living going up, even those people are going, you know, this, like, we can afford it, but it's not, it's kind of sucks. Like it's not that great. So, I mean, anyway, that's, that's all to say that maybe both can be true. We, we can have good jobs. People are needing to hire more people like, like one of Kevin's clients, as you said.

Um, but there's no question. I mean, if things. Still pretty expensive. Inflation is going down a little bit, but I mean, cost of living, it's not, it's not [00:23:00] that easy. So, um,

Kevin Doherty: you, if you look at the

Sally Housser: Yeah. I mean, that's the thing though. It, it sucks for everybody. It sucks for everybody, but it's, it's those that are able to bear it and weather a storm and those that simply can't. And then what happens to those people and what cost of that is to us on the province, down the long road of people being unhoused, of people being unhealthy, of people being outta work, of people being on social assistance.

So of people like what? What is that cost in the long run of people who are simply being left behind here right now?

Dale Richardson: Go ahead Kevin. You

Kevin Doherty: I was gonna say, if, if, if you look at the pocketbook issues and, and that's, that's the most important thing for the most part, when people look at the pocketbook issues, that, that either bring governments down or elect due parties. Different parties to, to run their government. Uh, if you look at the, the confluence of events with respect to what's, what's really impacted the inflationary increases in our CO and worldwide, but in our country, uh, the Bank of Canada, I don't think there's [00:24:00] any question about this, but slow to react.

The Bank of Canada governor himself has said that they missed, they thought it was gonna be a temporary increase and they, and they completely blew it and missed it and didn't raise interest rates fast enough. Certainly the war in Ukraine has, has added to that with respect to. There were supply chain issues before the war in Ukraine, uh, that started during Covid and had just exacerbated since Covid, but then the war in Ukraine.

And then if you look at, at, uh, tax policy, uh, particularly at the federal level, and I think the Minister of Agriculture, Dave Mayer, outlined this very well on the house the other day when asked a question about food prices in Saskatchewan or food prices in general. Where everything that goes into a farm is getting taxed with the carbon tax and everything that comes out of a farm.

So if you're, you know, you're, you're getting taxed with the carbon tax and all of your inputs at the farm, and as you take that crop off and the fuel that you're using to take that crop to an elevator is being, has a carbon tax with a GST applied to it, then it goes to a flour mill or a pasta manufacturing facility.

You get processed, there's, there's carbon taxes on that. Then it gets sent to the grocery store and there's a [00:25:00] carbon tax on that. And even if you're in the beef manufacturing business, like all of the different inputs and outputs that the minister outlined, that's being taxed with a GST applied to it, it's one of the main drivers.

Of our food costs going up, uh, a, a carbon tax being applied to your utility bills, whether it's your SaaS energy bill or your, or your SaaS power bill with a GST applied on top of that is one of the major drivers in the cost of living with respect to the, the essentials we need in our households these days.

So, um, You know, I, I, I've heard the government state of the opposition stand up and support us on denouncing the carbon tax. And I think I heard today or yesterday for the first time, them say, we do not support the Justin Trudeau carbon tax. Well then tell that to your federal leader and stop supporting this federal government on these kinds of inflationary tax increases at the worst time possible.

Sally Housser: We don't support the federal government on that. Kevin and I wrote it myself when the carbon tax decision came down a year and a half ago. [00:26:00] We have been saying that the, the provincial NDP has been saying that consistently, consistently since it came down.

Kevin Doherty: They have not been saying it to

Sally Housser: I love it. I dunno what, I don't know what the SaaS party or the UCP, or any other conservative premiers in this province is gonna do. Once you actually lose Justin Trudeau, man, you're gonna have an awfully hard time.

Kevin Doherty: we're not gonna have a carbon tax

Dale Richardson: about Jug Me Sing? I mean, it seems like

Kevin Doherty: that's where gonna happen. We lose Justin. True. We're not gonna have a tax. So,

Dale Richardson: Yeah.

Sally Housser: Oh yes. No, they'll, they'll just crap that immediately. Hey, yeah, definitely. Cause you know, that's what conservatives love to do.

Dale Richardson: you know what, Kevin? Kevin

Sally Housser: taxes, never do anything about it.

Dale Richardson: Just as we move on from this, 

Sally Housser: In addition to raising the ps, raising all sorts of taxes here, provincially my high.

Dale Richardson: we talked about affordability and the, and the, and the $500 check, um, uh, checks going out, came up. Um, [00:27:00] I thought about you, Kevin, this week. When the, the news came out that a couple of residents in the province have, uh, received $500 checks, not for themselves, but for, for a, you know, a grandmother or a grandfather, or perhaps a partner that's passed away.

Um, and it, and it, uh, maybe we can just have a, have a brief chat on, on this topic. It made me think. um, things in politics, particularly in in government, things like this or like, like the health system, uh, new payroll system not working when, when it was rolled out or, you know, third party contracts being signed by government agencies that that administer.

Has nothing to do with ultimately, um, but is ultimately, politically responsible for. So Kevin, just, uh, maybe putting your, putting yourself back in, in your finance minister's shoes. if your chief of staff, um, [00:28:00] came into the, into your office and said, minister, I've got some bad news. There's been a couple of news reports that we've sent the $500 checks to somebody's dead grandmother.

walk me through that, that process of, you know, what, what ultimately is the finance minister responsible for, and Sally afterward to talk me through the politics of it if, if you will.

Kevin Doherty: yeah, anytime you're gonna implement a universal program, you're gonna have, uh, errors in the system. I mean, that's just, that's just, uh, you know, someone who's passed away and hasn't filed their final, uh, estate, uh, return CRA yet is still gonna show up on the tax rolls, is having paid their taxes.

This is the system they based it on, that I heard the finance minister talking about. Uh, sending out these checks to, so I, you know, I don't, I don't hold the minister. This is a situation that you're just gonna have some of those we, we saw at the federal level with the payments. Keep in mind, you're talking to the guy that IED the parks reservation system.

That was a complete unmitigated disaster when it was rolled out. Uh, [00:29:00] And, uh, we're overcharging people on their credit cards by thousands of dollars or, or, uh, not charging them enough. And we had to send out a number of refunds and, and it's, you know, you're as good as the information that you're given and, and your officials are working with the IT company that's been contracted to do these kinds of things.

You test it as much as you possibly can. I don't know what, what point do you say, okay, we've, we've tested at every possible problem that could, could, that could arise and we didn't foresee this one coming. When they tell you that, and, and that's the one that's. Cause the, the system to crash or what have you.

So, um, you, you have to take your lumps and, and realize that you're dealing with automated systems that are gonna have some, some problems from time to time. And I, you know, I don't hold the minister. I was a little surprised when I read it, if it's accurate that, you know, people are telling 'em, well just go cash the check anyway or just do whatever with the check.

No, if the person is deceased and they file, filed their file a return, send the check back. There's nobody to give that check too. So send the check back and the province will. We'll restore the funding to the General Revenue Fund, but [00:30:00] you're dealing with IT systems and ministers rely on the advice of officials and professionals.

Uh, I remember sitting around the treasure board table and you'd have a, a official come in from a ministry who won't name which one or whatever, give you a real live examples, but they'll come in and say, if we don't implement this 42 million new upgrade system, the whole system's gonna crash. And we're running it on, you know, Baylor Twine and, and duct tape.

And you look around the treasure board table and there's. Chief technology officers sitting there saying, well, I don't believe that, and here's the test we ought, do, you know, you're human beings that don't . None of us at that time had any IT experience. So you're relying on officials to, to give you the best advice possible.

We saw that with the, the payroll system federally, they still don't think is fixed after how many years of it being implemented. So these things do happen. You stand up, you take responsibility, and you try to fix it as quickly as you can. As I heard, uh, the Minister of Health say with respect to that, uh, that AIM system.

Dale Richardson: Yeah, I felt, I felt badly for, for, for Paul Merriman on that one. Uh, you know, as you say, it's [00:31:00] a huge, massive thing that ultimately the, the Saskatchewan Health Authority is responsible. You know, he, as the minister, we all know, he is responsible for. But it's a shitty thing to be responsible for when he's not the one, you know, 

plugging it in and hit 

Sally Housser: But he, he oversees and he's ultimately responsible for the hiring or firing of the people that oversee this and oversee that. And it, and it sucks. And then, I mean, you know what happens is how you deal with it, right? , um, you know, do you like, you throw the baby out with the bath water? Do you crack some heads?

Do you look at your contract and see what you've gotten into and what you haven't? Um, you know, the, this government, you can call it bad luck or whatever you want is, is, you know, not have the, have the greatest track records with some of the implementation of new IT systems. Um, so, you know, I get what you're saying.

Obviously, he's not in there doing the coding himself. Um, , you know, But that's, that's, that's what the job of, [00:32:00] of, of minister is, is being in, in charge of, of the things that are under, under your department. All that being said, I will see this. Kevin talked about his own poor experience with, with it. My own mi culpa on that one was, uh, the 2011 federal election race when I was the, the Deputy National Director.

And we did one of the first, um, kind of online. Voting massive online voting, uh, systems in the country, really back, back in 2011. Um, and we suffered a denial of service attack. Um, and so it was, the vote wasn't effective, but what a denial of service attack means, like you can't get in to get the, like you're being blocked essentially from getting into vote.

Dale Richardson: Oh.

Sally Housser: And I had assured Peter Mansbridge that we would be off the air and done with the final vote vote by the time, uh, the Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game played. Uh, and, and we were not, we were delayed by, by three hours. And like in retrospect, the three hours delay and a voting, you know, a [00:33:00] leadership vote is not the craziest thing that happened, particularly for the first time.

Used an online system, but at the time I thought, I remember walking back to my hotel in the rain by myself, my laptop crying, because I thought my career was over , you know? I really did. Uh, you Oh yeah. But no, but also like Man's Bridge was like extra pissy on air about it because he was supposed to be at the hockey game with his, his kid,

So, you know, but you know, like I said, I didn't. I, I, I went, you know, talked to all the vendors, talked to the people in our, in our IT systems and stuff like that, and you think, you know, but ultimately that was my, my job, my responsibility, and I was the one who had to talk to the media about it, right.

Dale Richardson: It feels, it feels like there should be a Chief Technology officer in government and I, but I don't think that there is. Kevin, do you, is there one in the, in the new, I think it's SA SAS Builds and Procurement, or is there Essential Services Ministry anymore or that's been folded into

Kevin Doherty: and I, I don't know the answer to a, a [00:34:00] CTO or not. Uh, I, I don't play in the IT world, so I honestly don't know the answer. Obviously, I don't play in the IT world,

Dale Richardson: We know you don't No. Anyway, that's, um, yeah, those, those things like the check to the, to the dead people and the healthcare payroll system, I, I, it, it, it reminded me why I would be a really bad, really bad elected official because I would roll my eyes and go like, come on. I, I can't go out and scrum on this and take the blame for it, but, you know, that's, as you said, Sally, that's, that's the, that's the game that, that's Kevin going out there and saying Our camping system failed.

Kevin Doherty: facing the media wasn't nearly as bad as facing the premier, let me tell you that.

Dale Richardson: Yeah. Cuz he, he loves, he's a camper. He loves camping. Yeah.

Kevin Doherty: happy. Trust me.

Dale Richardson: Hey. So before we get into our, um, favorite, what actually mattered this week, segment, let's, let's talk about this Emanuel, uh, [00:35:00] Villa Care home thing really quick. So this is, um, this is kind of a weird story. Um, I think there's a lot, uh, I'm not even sure from my perspective that it should be a story, but it is.

So last couple days, Wednesday and Thursday, um, this care home that I believe. In Emerald Park. So, east of Regina, it's a, I think a personal care home. I don't think it's a long-term care facility, but they, um, they're gonna, the residents that are in there are being moved to a different facility anyway.

Seems like there was, um, like the NDP tried a bit of a gotcha moment. That's what I'm gonna call it. Um, the NDP critic, uh, Matt Love. He had written a letter to the, to the Conflict of Interest Commissioner, um, about this contract being canceled and an Emmanuel Villa, uh, being closed down or the residents being moved out of it to another one.

And the [00:36:00] reason he asked the conflict of interest commissioner to look into this was Christine tell the minister of, uh, corrections and policing her brother who. Not alive anymore. He passed away, was a shareholder in this new home that the Emanuel Villa, uh, care home residents are being moved to. It's all quite weird.

The conflict of interest. Commissioner said there's nothing here and in fact, reprimanded Matt, love for even asking about this. So, I'd like to know Sally, from the NDP perspective. Uh, do they drop this? Is it a, uh, is it, it seems very weird to me. The whole thing.

Sally Housser: I would.

Dale Richardson: know why it's a story.

Sally Housser: Yeah, I, I would absolutely drop it. Um, to be honest, um, you know, you always have to, you, you need to disclose things and you have the conflict of, of interest a person for, for a reason. Um, but we are a [00:37:00] relatively small province. You're always gonna have people who, you know, know somebody who knows somebody who is family or, or does something.

But particularly when, when somebody's already passed on and was, you know, I, I would imagine a minority shareholder. Um, and, and like, it just, yeah, I don't, I, I would say a swing in the miss for the opposition on that one.

Dale Richardson: Yeah. Like who, who, who was the benefit going to if the man has passed away? Like, I, this is, this is what I don't understand. And Minister Tel declared her, her brother was a shareholder, but he's, he's not alive anymore. It's weird. Yeah.

Sally Housser: I mean, no, as long as that's a thing, I, I think it's a bigger story if you don't disclose to, like, if, if it hadn't already been disclosed to the Ethics Commissioner or anything like that. But yeah, my, uh, I'd have to agree on this one.

Kevin Doherty: that, uh, you know, 

Dale Richardson: All 

Kevin Doherty: in Cabinet is, and Mr. Justice Barkley was the, uh, conflict of interest Commissioner, former Queen Bench Justice, uh, Ron Barkley, um, was the conflict of interest commissioner when I was in cabinet. Now, Mr. Justice, I [00:38:00] think his last name is Harrah, if I'm pronouncing that properly, uh, you know, uh, These who has served as the Court of Queen's bench now, court of King's Bench and Court of Appeal.

And, you know, these are, uh, these are individuals with a long history in the judiciary and the legal, uh, world. But, uh, so every MLA has to meet with the conflict of interest commissioner, whether you're a cabinet minister or non-cat minister, and, and you disclose a filing every single year of your personal holdings.

And, uh, you know, quite often I went to. Justice Barkley, uh, commissioner Barkley, uh, for advice on something, if I even thought that it, it might have a, a whiff of conflict of interest to get, you know, an advanced ruling, if you will. And, uh, commissioner Barkley was very, very good about that. Very thorough, very professional.

And on a couple of occasions I. Along with other colleagues, recuse yourself from cabinet discussions. If an item was coming up at cabinet that, um, you felt there was a conflict of interest, you would declare it to, uh, the, the, the cabinet secretary and to the premier who chairs the cabinet meetings and recuse yourself.

[00:39:00] You literally leave the, the room while the, the discussion was on. You have no idea what the decision is until you read the cabinet minutes later. After they're, they're sent around and published by the Cabinet Secretary. So there's a number of processes in place. I don't know about this particular issue.

I just, whatever I read the paper you sent the Dale, I wasn't paying much attention to it. But you know, by virtue of the fact that that minister tell went, uh, proactively to the conflict of interest commissioner and said, Hey, this is going on. Probably, I would assume recused yourself from any discussion at cabinet when this decision was made to award these contracts.

If in fact it came before cabinet or the Minister of Health.

Dale Richardson: No, I

Kevin Doherty: maybe the minister made the decision.

Dale Richardson: it, it was, it was, it was the,

Kevin Doherty: um, but if it, if it was a, an OC or something like that, that came before a cabinet, the minister would've recused herself. So, um, you know, it's swinging a miss as Sally said, and you, you throw these things out there every now and then and see if something sticks, but nothing stuck this time.

Dale Richardson: Right. Kind of, it, it, it kind of reminded me, Kevin, you, you would, you would remember this, the, [00:40:00] the time that, that the gentleman came into the house and alleged that Brad Wall had gone to Mexico with, with somebody and stayed in their condo. And Trent, Trent Wotherspoon stood up and, and pushed that one and. And then of course turned out to be

Kevin Doherty: well, it was, it was funny because when 

Dale Richardson: wasn't a good

Kevin Doherty: that issue was brought up in the house, I remember that.

Sally Housser: Now dread will remember that for some time

Kevin Doherty: Well, pre Premier Wall was away somewhere, and I remember Reg Downs was texting, going, you ever been to Mexico? He goes, yeah. Like, when I was like six years old or something like that, . And so like, there was no basis in fact, yeah, no basis in fact whatsoever to it.

But, uh, so, you know, again, research, you do your research and due diligence and, uh, uh, you, I guess every now and then, throw one out there and see if it sticks. But, um, wasn't done on the floor of the legislature, which was, uh, which was.

Dale Richardson: All right. Okay. It's time for what actually mattered this week. I forget who, who I asked first last time, but Sally, did I ask you first, or was 

it Kevin? 

Sally Housser: It's two weeks ago

[00:41:00] now. 

Dale Richardson: Kevin, Kevin, I'm gonna start with you. What actually mattered this last week? Or we could do even last two weeks

cuz we

didn't, we weren't here last 

Kevin Doherty: you know, for me it wasn't so much of something that took place in the legislature here in the political environment in Saskatchewan, but I go back to last week's American elections, which some listers may pay a lot of attention to and others may not pay any attention to. But it goes back to, I think the polling industry now is, is under some pressures.

Because virtually every pollster and, and the problem here for me anyway, and why I say this matters, the problem is depending on which news channel you watch, you're gonna get a very different view of what the polls say, uh, or they're gonna use different pollsters to kind of reinforce what their narrative is.

And I don't care who you tuned into prior to the election in the United States last week, the pollsters got it wrong and the pundits got it completely wrong yet again. So what mattered for me is, is yet once again, uh, people's vote. Matter and I give full, you know, credit to the Democratic party of, of the United States on their ground [00:42:00] game for obviously getting their vote out, at least in the Senate races and to a large extent in the, in the house of representative races cuz there was the, it wasn't the big RAs, uh, red wave or tsunami that all these pollsters and pundits had predicted.

So I, I just, you know, I say to people again, if you think your vote doesn't matter because the pollsters are saying so, Your vote matters. And that was proof positive again last week in the American elections where none of them were right about what, uh, what was gonna happen. Uh, what they predicted would happen didn't happen.

Sally Housser: Although the Republicans didn't, did win the popular vote, like, not that

I'm pleased about that or 

Kevin Doherty: No, they did. They did. But they were, they, all of the pundits and pollsters were saying they were gonna win 30, 40, 50 seat majority, Sally. And 

Sally Housser: but it, but it, it's, 

Kevin Doherty: seat majority. 

Sally Housser: yeah. But, but I, it, it is again, and I like, we've talked about it before and I'm like, I'm not disagreeing with you, Kevin. I, I, could you, I could talk with you about polling. For hours and hours on end, we could do a, the, an entire podcast on it. Um, but [00:43:00] I, I, I do think that, you know, the rise of all these polling firms and particularly, uh, within Canada, that really kind of sprung up during the period of a lot of, of minority governments over a period of time.

The way that we do that polling. When it's not riding by riding, or in the case of the states when you're looking at kind of seats versus popular vote and stuff like that, when you're just kind of polling based on popular sentiment versus the actual jurisdictions in which people are elected, you end up with shitty results like that.


Dale Richardson: Sally, what, uh, what mattered

Sally Housser: I'm gonna, I'm gonna get, I'm gonna go even more, uh, abstract and, and, and, and, and esoteric here than that. Um, just cuz it's, it's the only thing I've heard from, from anybody for the past two weeks is that, What you would normally think is the, okay, you know, we don't have the mass, we don't have gathering limits, we don't have, you know, and it's the Christmas party season and is [00:44:00] starting to gear up.

And we, we started talking about kind of Christmas parties and stuff like that, but there isn't that kind of, um, euphoria, excitement. Or anything that you generally experience kind of this time in the lead up to Christmas, um, and, and in fact it's the opposite, uh, to that you have on the one side of it, the real economic anxieties of, of friends, of mine, of, of all sorts of various different economic classes being like, do you wanna pop out for beer?

Do you wanna go for coffee? Do you wanna go for dinner? No, I gotta save some money for Christmas. Uh, and that is, that is a, across the board, uh, for everybody I've talked to that, that kind of, that groundswell of like, time to everybody is really pinching and watching their pennies. And it's, and it's, it is, part of it is because people are broken.

Inflation is, is, but it's also the uncertainty. That people do not know [00:45:00] what the next few months are going to bring. And that's, and so you have that one on the economic side, but also you have it on the healthcare side too. Friends of mine or own friends, people where you're go, you're having kind of a third of the class that is out, whether it's C, whether it's rsv, whether it's the flu.

and then yeah, then you see stories of, you know, somebody with a baby being in an emergency for 20 hours and going. So there is, it's, so for me, what, what matters right now is that real growing anxiety, um, that is happening not just, not just here in Saskatchewan. I'm not gonna say that there's only a Saskatchewan problem, but it's all across the country and really probably all across the Western world.

Uh, but that is the only thing that I have talked. With friends, family, and everybody else. And it is so consistent across economic strata, uh, and so consistent across age demographics, um, it's the only thing that I can kind of really think about right now.[00:46:00] 

Dale Richardson: Here's what I think mattered. This, this week. This fits into what Kevin said, door knocking the NDP couple members from the ndp, they were out door knocking this.

Sally Housser: Yeah.

Dale Richardson: In Regina, and if anybody out there thinks that door knocking in November, two years out from the next election is way too early, they're they're dead wrong.

Kevin, you would, you would agree entirely with me. I'm certain on this. Same with you, Sally. So for members of the SaaS party that were not door knocking this week and, and they saw the NDP doing it, get your winter boots on and get out there and get knocking on people's. Because it will pay off incredible dividends by the time October, 2024 comes around.

So that's what I think mattered this week. All right.

Sally Housser: Sounds

Dale Richardson: Great episode. I, I'm so happy to, to see you guys

Sally Housser: Great to be backing. I know I did. I kind of, I missed it last week. I know it wasn't a long break, but, uh, but there we are, man. It's become part of my routine and I am a creature of [00:47:00] habit if nothing else.

Kevin Doherty: Yeah. 

Dale Richardson: All right. Well, thanks to everybody for listening. Again, try to win a gift card, a hundred bucks, a hundred to Leo's. I mean, you could, you could take Sally out for at least four fi, four pints and you know, three things of wings with that amount, you know, so sign up, try to win those gift cards. Leave a five star review.

We got some excellent ones, uh, that came in recently. And thanks. Thanks to Kevin and Sally. It's great to see you guys again, and we'll see everybody next 

Kevin Doherty: Thanks guys. 

Sally Housser: Oh, it was a pleasure folks.

This has been The SKoop. Kevin Doherty is a senior strategy advisor at Prairie sky strategy. You can learn more about his Sally Hauser is the senior manager of public affairs for Canadian strategy group. You can learn more about her That's CDN and I'm a podcaster and public [00:48:00] affairs professional.

You can learn more about my work at 3 0 6 media productions dot. Or just look me up on LinkedIn. The scoop is made by my podcast production company, 3 0 6 media productions. If you liked this podcast, don't forget to follow it in your favorite podcast app, Ron Spotify, apple podcasts, and all major podcast apps.

Thanks for listening to the scoop. See you next week