Fenske and Saskiw comment on cheque presentation policy
Although she may not be the elected official for the area, Fort Saskatchewan-Vegreville Progressive Conservative MLA Jacquie Fenske has become a little more familiar with the St. Paul area, stopping by recently to make a few government cheque presentations to local groups.
Fenske is one of the newer PC MLAs, having been elected during the last provincial election in 2012, which was also when Lac La Biche-St. Paul-Two Hills Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw was voted into office, beating former PC MLA Ray Danyluk.
Most government cheque presentations, such as grant money for local organizations, were previously done by Danyluk, or when possible, the minister of the department where the money was coming from.
When asked why the local opposition MLA hasn’t been doing the presentations in the area, Fenske says the government’s policy is the same as it has always been, which is for the minister to do cheque presentations when possible, and if he or she is not available, that minister will choose a representative to do the presentation.
“I think that that’s been the policy for ever and ever,” says Fenske, when speaking to the Journal on the issue. She adds that the St. Paul area has been rather lucky with different ministers visiting the constituency in recent months.
Examples of recent presentations, she says, was in Two Hills when Minister of Culture Heather Klimchuk made a presentation for the new community building, or when Minister of Infrastructure Wayne Drysdale went to Elk Point for the re-opening of the F.G. Miller gymnasium.
When asked about the costs associated with Fenske travelling to the area to do the cheque presentations, she says there are not any more costs associated with her travelling than if a minister were to do the presentation, and often costs are less since she is from a nearby constituency.
Saskiw says that having outside MLAs coming into the constituency for cheque presentations, rather than the locally elected MLA, shows “arrogance and a sense of entitlement” on the part of the PC government.
He says some constituents he has talked to about the issue find that having outside MLAs doing the presentations “isn’t proper” and shows a lack of respect for the locally elected MLA.
“The PCs have been in power for so long, they now believe that taxpayer money belongs to them,” says Saskiw.
He says that as the local MLA, his office often works with local organizations to properly fill out the needed paperwork for grant applications and some of these groups are voicing concern that the local MLA isn’t being properly acknowledged.