Moose Jaw economy remains major focus for candidates

Cole Carruthers
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Fraser Tolmie used the nearly vacant employee parking lot at the Valley View Centre
as a back drop during a media statement focusing on his concerns over the future economy of Moose Jaw.

No matter what happens to election signs, mayoral candidate Fraser Tolmie vows to not stray from major issues.

Tolmie made a statement to the media on Tuesday to let the public know he wants to remain focused on main electoral issues and not stray from such a course.

Using the Valley View Centre (VVC) parking lot as a back drop during the announcement, to highlight loss of employment, Tolmie said he doesn’t want recently reported vandalism of candidate signs to take away from the looming loss of employment and residential housing for those affected by the future loss of VVC.

“I don’t want the situation to be ignored,” Tolmie told The Times-Herald. “If the provincial government is going to invest in the future, we are the best region to invest in.”

“I do not condone this behaviour, and want to remain completely focused on this election,” Tolmie said about the reported vandalism he raised at the press conference and not letting it gain more light of focus over the released economic committee report, detailing the substantial amount of employment lost in the community over the past years.

When Tolmie was asked what can be done at the municipal level regarding a provincial decision that has already been decided upon, he said, “I want recognition of what we have lost. There is statistical evidence on the jobs we have lost in Moose Jaw."

A report was released to the Economic Development Commission on Oct. 4, and delivered to city council on Oct. 9. Some of the key findings highlighted included:

• The remaining 332 employees at VVC will be eliminated by 2016 for permanent closure.

• From 2006 to 2011, Palliser’s share of SIAST positions decreased from 19 to 16 per cent.

• And in 1991, of all provincial public service full-time employees, eight per cent were located in Moose Jaw, by 2012 it has dropped to five per cent.

“The government’s counter arguement about provincial revenue sharing is reaching other communities other than Moose Jaw.” Tolmie said. “We’ve lost jobs and we need someone to go to local MLAs for answers.”

When Tolmie was asked why he believes he is the right mayoral candidate for the city, he said, “I have a vested interest in Moose Jaw — a new father with a vested interest. I’m acting like a mayor instead of just talking like a mayor.”  

“First and foremost, the economic committee report was an eye opener for all us,” mayoral candidate Deb Higgins told the Times-Herald when asked for her take on the same situation. “We realize what the impact is with VVC, SaskTel and a liquor store being closed.

“I’m pleased Tolmie finally made a statement about the VVC eight months after the fact. It’s something that needs to be focused on and continue to be brought forth to our MLAs,” Higgins offered.

Higgins said the economic impact on the community is a huge topic, and the trend of provincial reduction must come to an end. “The government is reducing public service by 15 per cent, but we all know Moose Jaw has had more than its fair share.”

Higgins said her experience gives opportunity to lobby our ministers in government, MLAs and the people who make the decisions.

“Each and every one of us has a vested interest in this community, why he (Tolmie) believes he has more of a vested interest than someone else in the community is short sighted.”

For more on this article pick up the next issue of the Times-Herald.

Organizations: Valley View Centre, The Times-Herald, Economic Development Commission SaskTel

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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