Response to Canadian Fedwatch! January 12, 2005 (v13 i2)

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Response to Canadian Fedwatch! January 12, 2005 (v13 i2)
http://www.ausu.org/voice/articles/columndisplay.php?ART=3479

As an AU student and former Albertan currently living in a very small, poor, and isolated town/reserve in Northern Saskatchewan, I had to respond to Karl Low’s comments on Saskatchewan’s education tax relief. Karl proposed that Saskatchewan should use the money to put in place an equivalent to Alberta’s SuperNet.

In fact, unlike Alberta, the Saskatchewan government does not need to pay a private company to provide internet access to rural areas, since the crown corporation SaskTel has already done it. My town of about 1200 people got high-speed internet more than a year and a half ago, without any fanfare or press conferences. In contrast, my in-laws, living only an hour from Edmonton, have access only to dial-up. Serving all people of the province, no matter where they live, seems to be just a matter of course for this public utility. Imagine the service Albertans could have if Telus were still Alberta Government Telephones!

Zandra Lea – Sandy Bay, SK

Zandra, thanks for your letter. Karl has sent the following comments:

Thanks, Zandra, you learn something new every day.

However, as a person who was living in rural Alberta while AGT was around, I have to say I don’t share your fond imaginings as to where we’d be now.

The trick with privatization is that it’s always a gamble. Will the competition make the service better for less, or will the profit-taking make the service worse for more? Too often governments seem to go one way or another based strictly on ideology and don’t bother checking up after the fact to see how things have turned out.

Karl Low

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