Government has $1 million windfall from Moosomin for CT scanner

May 9, 2023, 3:36 pm
Kevin Weedmark


Now that the Moosomin liquor store building has sold, we know that the windfall to the provincial government from closing the Moosomin liquor store and selling the building and the permit is close to $1 million, and I’m going to revisit a thought I first shared when the retail liquor store permit sold.

Moosomin’s retail liquor store permit sold for $630,000 in an auction back in February.

So, someone paid $630,000 just for the right to set up a retail liquor business in Moosomin.

As I pointed out at the time (even though I only vaguely remember February, the winter months disappearing into a dreamlike haze after the first nice spring day), that $630,000 wasn’t created or earned by the government. The value of that liquor permit, $630,000, is because of the people of this region who buy liquor. The company that bought the permit knows that there are customers here who will support it enough to make that $630,000 investment worthwhile.

It’s nothing the government has done that makes it worth that investment, it’s the people of this area who make the liquor licence worth that kind of money.

Now the liquor store building has also sold. Moosomin’s liquor store was one of the first to sell after they were listed.

The liquor store sold for around $350,000. Add that to the $630,000 from the permit, and you have $980,000 in free money to the provincial government, money that the government did nothing to earn.

Why could the government not turn around and provide an equivalent amount of funding for a CT Scanner for Moosomin.

That liquor store building that was sold I imagine was depreciated to nothing on the government’s books, and was paid for by the purchases of local people. The provincial government didn’t pay for that building out of the goodness of their hearts, the cost of the building was amortized over many years and the cost was covered by purchases by you and me and everyone else in the Moosomin Region.

So, to me, it makes perfect sense to take the $630,000 from the liquor permit, and the $350,000 from the sale of the building, and contribute an equivalent $980,000 from the health budget for a CT Scanner for the Southeast Integrated Care Centre.

It’s not that the government is strapped for cash, it’s paying down the provincial debt by another $1 billion this year, and the $1 million or so it received for the building and permit for the Moosomin liquor store, and a similar amount for Esterhazy and every other town that had a liquor store, is really just found money.

So why not take a similar amount out of general government revenue and add it to the health budget to provide a much-needed CT scanner for Moosomin and provide funding for Esterhazy’s new health care facility, and provide funding for similar health care needs across the province?

We have a wide array of health care needs in rural Saskatchewan, and this government windfall could help fill some of those gaps.

Speaking different languages
The responses from the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan to the problem of Ukrainian newcomers being subjected to international student tuition fees speak volumes about the university officials approach to people as opposed to the average person in our area.

When I first told a few people that our Ukrainian newcomers would have to pay international student fees and could not access student loans, they couldn’t believe it, they said it can’t be right, they said it has to be fixed. These are our friends and neighbors, they are quickly becoming part of our communities, they are working here, they are paying taxes here, why should they be treated any different. When I spoke with two of our local MLAs abut the situation, they said it has to be fixed and they would do everything they could. When I spoke with Advanced Education Minister Gord Wyant, he said it had to be fixed and he would do everything he could.

But both the U of R and U of S came back with statements that sound like they’re speaking a different language. They basically said they do not believe our Ukrainian newcomers deserve the same right to an education as the rest of us.

Hopefully the province can overrule them, and the decent approach—treating everyone equally—will prevail.