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Regina chapter at rally to stop Crown Corporation privatization bill & cuts to public services

Photo by Tria Donaldson

The Council of Canadians Regina chapter participated in the ‘Rally to Stop Bill 40 and Stop the Cuts!’ today.

The Regina Leader Post reports, “Approximately 150 people from various groups protested funding cuts and Bill 40, which would allow the government to sell off up to 49 per cent of crowns, at a rally in front of Finance Minister Kevin Doherty’s constituency office. The rally was organized by the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour.”

The promotion for the rally had stated, “Join us as we rally to Stop Bill 40 and Stop the Cuts! Sending a strong message to the Sask. Party government is a vital first step towards saving STC, stopping Bill 40 (the Crown Corporation privatization law), and stopping cuts to our public services. The Minister of Finance, Kevin Doherty, will hear us loud and clear as we take this fight to the doorstep of his constituency office.”

The “STC” refers to the Saskatchewan Transportation Company, a provincial crown corporation created in 1946 by the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) government of Tommy Douglas. Its mandate is to provide bus services carrying people and freight between major centres and to as much of the rural population as possible. Its freight service is now scheduled to end of May 19 and its passenger service is to stop on May 31.

The cuts to public services also include an almost $5 million cut in funding to public libraries in the province.

The Saskatchewan Office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has noted “While the government’s budget cuts and tax increases landed disproportionately on the shoulders of the poor, it simultaneously lavished multiple tax breaks on corporations. …There are the mean-spirited cuts to funeral services for social assistant recipients, that will save the government a mere pittance. …The government is also reducing the already meagre allowance of social assistance recipients. …[And the government plans] to increase the provincial sales tax [including removing the PST exemption from children’s clothing].”

When public transportation, funeral services for the poor, and library services are cut, while corporations receive tax breaks, it’s clear that austerity is not an economic necessity, it’s a political choice.

The Council of Canadians has four chapters in Saskatchewan — Prince Albert, Quill Plains, Regina and Saskatoon — and all have been engaged in the opposition to the budget tabled on March 22 by Premier Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party (established by the Conservative and Liberal parties in Saskatchewan in 1997 to oust the governing New Democrats).

The Saskatchewan Party has been in power since November 2007.

In the last provincial election on April 4, 2016, the Saskatchewan Party won 51 seats and the NDP 10 seats.