Regina chapter calls on Wall government to reject austerity

Regina chapter calls on Wall government to reject austerity

Postby Oscar » Wed Mar 22, 2017 9:24 am

Regina chapter calls on Wall government to reject austerity in its provincial budget

[ http://canadians.org/blog/regina-chapte ... ial-budget ]

March 21, 2017 - 7:02 pm

The Council of Canadians Regina chapter is calling on the Saskatchewan provincial government to reject austerity measures in the budget it will table on Wednesday March 22.

The Regina Leader-Post reports, "With consecutive years of lower-than-expected revenue from natural resources [from oil, gas and potash], [Finance Minister Kevin] Doherty will be presenting a plan — they’re calling it 'Meeting the Challenge' — to eliminate Saskatchewan’s roughly $1.3-billion deficit and bring the books back to balance over the next three years. That plan will likely mean residents of the province paying more in taxes."

The article adds, "It was less than a year ago when the province proposed its 'transformational change' agenda. Much of the work resulting from that process is expected to be reflected in Wednesday’s budget documents. Part of that plan includes a 3.5-per-cent reduction in public sector costs. The government is also restructuring the way it delivers social services and considering merging duplication of post-secondary programming; but it is unclear if the budget will reach any conclusions on those fronts or not. In a little over one year’s time, Saskatchewan’s deficit has gone from $246 million to $1.3 billion."

BNN notes, "The government also is looking at the education portion of property taxes, provincial sales tax exemptions and the PST in general." And CBC notes, "[Premier Brad Wall] also says there will be a shift toward consumption taxes and away from taxes on 'productivity and income'. It could mean tax exemptions for farmers, prescriptions, lightly used vehicles, children’s clothes and other items will be disappearing."

Chapter activist Jim Elliott says, "We need to resist the current knee jerk reactions associated with the austerity movement of privatization and cutting social services as suggested by Premier Wall. Wall’s suggestions will cost taxpayers more money and years of time to rebuild the ecological and social fabric of this province.”

He adds, "We call upon the Saskatchewan Party government to protect the environment, attack climate change head on, provide adequate housing and social infrastructure while not compromising our future. We are at a crossroads and could be building a sustainable, green future or we could take five steps back."

Elliott concludes, "The budget need not be balanced this year or in the near future. Investment in low income families, energy conservation and transition and other public infrastructure will build resilience and sustainability, something this province is in dire need of today.”

The Saskatchewan NDP has highlighted that a flat tax will have a bigger impact on lower-income families. The Saskatchewan Teachers' Federation is concerned the budget will mean cuts within classrooms. The CBC reports, "Teachers are asking any cuts to education be directed at head offices rather than class sizes." And the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union has already filed a legal challenge against the government with the Labour Relations Board arguing the provincial government acted in bad faith by proposing public sector wage rollbacks.

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Re: Regina chapter calls on Wall government to reject auster

Postby Oscar » Sun Apr 09, 2017 11:28 am

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

[ http://canadians.org/blog/regina-chapte ... c-services ]

April 8, 2017 - 7:03 pm

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.

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Re: Regina chapter calls on Wall government to reject auster

Postby Oscar » Mon Apr 10, 2017 8:44 pm

Regina chapter calls on City Council to challenge Wall government on grants-in-lieu cut

[ http://canadians.org/blog/regina-chapte ... s-lieu-cut ]

April 10, 2017 - 8:15 pm

The Council of Canadians Regina chapter is presenting at a City Council meeting this evening on the municipal impacts of the provincial government's austerity budget.

CBC reports, "Regina city council is meeting Monday evening to discuss options for tackling its $10.3-million funding shortfall. The shortfall is largely a result of the elimination of the provincial grants-in-lieu program, which saw the Crown corporations SaskPower and SaskEnergy transfer payments to municipalities."

(For context, "The province is constitutionally exempt from paying taxes to municipalities. However, in the 1998-99 Budget [under the NDP government of Premier Roy Romanow], the province announced that it would begin payment of grants-in-lieu to municipalities in an amount equal to the general property tax levy for properties owned or managed by the Ministry of Central Services.")

CJME notes, "Details of the city's amended budget were released [on Friday]. Highlighted in it was a recommended 2.5 per cent mill rate increase, which would be on top of the approved 3.99 per cent increase in the budget in February. Other recommendations included a $1 million reduction in the Regina Police Service budget and a 20 per cent increase in street use permits and traffic bylaw fees. The administration's recommendation does not include the use of the millions of dollars the city has in reserve funds. [Mayor Michael] Fougere said he stands behind that."

Chapter activist Jim Elliott has posted on Facebook the presentation he will make to City Council tonight. [ https://www.facebook.com/jim.elliott.71 ... 8444579204 ]

Elliott says, "By doing what you might do, in my mind, you are as bad and as ideologically against the very fabric that is Regina and this province as the Brad Wall government who has pushed this on to your plate. So far, I have heard no outrage or anger. I have heard no public response."

He adds, "What I see in this proposed budget change is outright social abandonment, something that we clearly have seen with the Saskatchewan Party and Harper governments. Where is the hope that we were going to be more sustainable and inclusive? Why is there a sense of fatalism portrayed by you, our council? Why are you giving up?"

And he will ask Regina City Council, "Join the growing number of cities to take the provincial government to court and force them to return the grants-in-lieu. This will ultimately return the grant-in-lieu. Secondly, I would use the remainder of the 2016 surplus, some $9.9 million discussed in February, and put it into replacing the losses proposed. And if there is still a need to balance the budget, then a modest tax increase is warranted, much less than the 2.5 per cent proposed."

A fuller list of the cuts to be discussed can be read here: [ http://www.620ckrm.com/2017/04/10/108622/ ]. Regina city council is expected to vote on this amended budget tonight.

Tags: chapters
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Re: Regina chapter calls on Wall government to reject auster

Postby Oscar » Wed May 10, 2017 7:55 am

Regina chapter opposes Bill 63 and $60 million cut to provincial education budget

[ https://canadians.org/blog/regina-chapt ... ion-budget ]

May 5, 2017 - 9:55 am

The Regina chapter was at the Students Mobilizing Against Cuts (SMAC) 'Education Counts' rally on May 3.

The outreach had noted, "This invitation is open to all Saskatchewan residents who care about our future. Significant budget cuts and the passing of Bill 63 will have an impact on our children's education. Parents, grandparents, caregivers, uncles, aunts, sisters, brothers. Bring your children on Wednesday, May 3rd after school to the front of the Saskatchewan Legislature and let's give our children a voice for their future, and let the MLAs see who their choices are impacting. All children have a right to quality education and their teachers deserve the resources to give them that."

It also noted, "Students Mobilizing Against Cuts has organized 'Five Days Against Cuts' in which they are highlighting the adverse effects of this 2017-18 austerity budget. Each day focuses on a different sector (Post Secondary Education, Libraries, Pre-K to 12, STC & Privatization). Each day will be filled with a variety of events which could include: rallies, teach-ins, workshops, programming, art-builds and other activities."

Bill 63 allows the provincial Minister of Education to give written directions to school boards and force them to take any necessary steps necessary to comply with provincial government direction.

The NDP says, "The damage caused by the minister’s attempts to take power out of the hands of school boards and trustees will only be made worse, as a result of the $60-million the Sask. Party is cutting out of children’s classrooms. Moreover, the Minister now has the ability to direct how these cuts are implemented."

Yesterday, Global News reported, "Protests and rallies held to halt Bill 63, which amends the Education Act, weren’t enough to stop changes from going through."

That article adds, "As a parent, Michelle Grodecki worries the bill strips away school division autonomy. 'The funding cuts that are coming, the school divisions have no say over anymore', she said. Grodecki also believes the bill creates uncertainty within the school system. 'This is the end of education as we know it. You walk into my child’s school and they don’t know what’s coming, you see parents who have no idea what this is going to mean for them, talking with school board trustees, they don’t know', she said."

The four Council of Canadians chapters in Saskatchewan - Regina, Quill Plains (Wynyard), Saskatoon and Prince Albert - have all been actively opposing the Wall government's budget tabled on March 22, as well as Bill 40 which allows for the privatization of 49 per cent of a Crown corporation without without requiring a vote of support from the people of the province.

For more on SMAC actions, please click here:
[ https://www.facebook.com/smacsask/ ]

#EducationCounts #skpoli

Tags: chapters
[ https://canadians.org/tags/chapters ]

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Re: Regina chapter calls on Wall government to reject auster

Postby Oscar » Thu May 25, 2017 3:58 pm

Prince Albert & Regina chapters at 'Stand Up for Saskatchewan' anti-austerity rally

[ https://canadians.org/blog/prince-alber ... rity-rally ]

May 24, 2017 - 3:57 pm

The Council of Canadians Prince Albert and Regina chapters were at the 'Stand Up for Saskatchewan' rally outside the provincial legislature this afternoon.

The outreach had noted, "SGEU [the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union] is organizing a big rally at the Legislature in Regina to tell the Sask. Party government Saskatchewan people don’t want public service cuts, rollbacks and privatization! Government has squandered the province’s finances on over-priced consultants, shady land deals, and costly megaprojects. Now it is trying to force Saskatchewan people to pay for their financial mistakes."

The outreach then highlighted just a few of the actions Premier Brad Wall's government is taking that will hurt families and communities:

• Demanding a 3.5 per cent public service cut
• Firing government cleaners and contracting out their work
• Privatizing public services in areas like Justice, Highways, food services in Correctional centres and young offender facilities
• Selling off the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC)
• Cutting funding to libraries, post-secondary institutes, municipalities
• Raising sales taxes, which hurts low and middle income families most
• Taxing kids clothes, and restaurant meals
• All the while – giving away millions through new corporate tax cuts

Today's rally said 'No' to the government's austerity agenda.

Council of Canadians chapters in Saskatchewan have been vocal and active in rejecting Wall's austerity budget that was delivered on March 22.

#skpoli


Tags: chapters
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Re: Regina chapter calls on Wall government to reject auster

Postby Oscar » Thu May 25, 2017 9:09 pm

Hundreds rally at Sask. Legislative Building

[ http://leaderpost.com/news/local-news/h ... e-building ]

Mark Melnychuk, Regina Leader-Post Mark Melnychuk, Regina Leader-Post Published on: May 24, 2017 | Last Updated: May 24, 2017 4:38 PM CST

Hundreds of protesters voiced their opposition against provincial budget cuts in front of Saskatchewan’s Legislative Building on Wednesday.

The Stand Up for Saskatchewan rally was organized by the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees Union (SGEU), and called for and end to the province’s budget cuts. Several buses transported protesters from other cities in the province such as Saskatoon, Prince Albert and Estevan.

The rally began at the Royal Saskatchewan Museum at 11:30, and protesters marched to the legislative building.
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