Big busi­ness ben­e­fit while pub­lic en­dures cuts

The Southwest Booster - - FRONT PAGE -


If there was ever any doubt that the Sask. Party gov­ern­ment’s cuts and pri­va­ti­za­tion agenda is ide­o­log­i­cally-driven, look no fur­ther than Brad Wall’s ea­ger­ness to hand money to big cor­po­ra­tions, most no­tably his re­cent sales pitch to Al­berta en­ergy com­pa­nies.

Fight­ing the deficit is the ra­tio­nale for slash­ing fund­ing to schools, li­braries, and health ser­vices, fir­ing hun­dreds of pub­lic em­ploy­ees, and shut­ting down STC. But at the same time, Wall is of­fer­ing in­cen­tives to oil com­pa­nies to re­lo­cate to Saskatchewan. This, on top of a new cor­po­rate tax cut that will put our province’s tax rate at the low­est in the coun­try.

If Saskatchewan is so strapped for cash, why is Wall so will­ing to give hand­outs to big busi­ness?

Maybe the cur­rent fi­nan­cial mess – which gov­ern­ment cre­ated by its own reck­less spend­ing – has pro­vided an ex­cuse to gut and sell off pub­lic ser­vices and Crowns once and for all.

If gov­ern­ment were not de­ter­mined to un­der­mine pub­lic ser­vices, it would con­sider other ob­vi­ous al­ter­na­tives to its slash and burn bud­get. It could ask cor­po­ra­tions to pay more – not less. It could re­duce the deficit over six years, in­stead of three. It could rein in its own spend­ing on con­sul­tants and mega projects.

But those op­tions won’t be con­sid­ered by a gov­ern­ment de­ter­mined to hand more pub­lic ser­vices over to for­profit busi­nesses, and sell off Crowns to cor­po­rate in­ter­ests that know lit­tle about our province, and care even less about its peo­ple.

Sid Woni­towy - York­ton Editor:

As a front­line health care provider and as the Vice-pres­i­dent of SEIU-WEST, I was proud to add my voice to the protest at the Pre­mier’s fundraiser in Saska­toon. What I saw there was an en­ergy I have not seen for some time – the peo­ple were dis­tressed by the in­jus­tice cre­ated in our re­cent bud­get.

As a per­son who does not con­done vi­o­lence of any kind, it was shock­ing to see the be­hav­iour of the fundraiser at­ten­dees who were in­con­ve­nienced by our right to protest – I my­self was run into by a car re­peat­edly as I walked across the street. How­ever, I am writ­ing to en­sure we main­tain our fo­cus on the real is­sues at hand.

While pas­toral ser­vices, travel im­mu­niza­tion clin­ics, par­ent men­tor­ing ser­vices, po­di­a­try ser­vices and the hear­ing aid clinic have all been elim­i­nated as health care pro­grams, the Sask Party Gov­ern­ment chose to re­duce cor­po­rate taxes to the low­est rate in the coun­try. Does this gov­ern­ment truly be­lieve that cor­po­ra­tions de­serve an added tax break at the same time they are ad­vis­ing hear­ing-im­paired All ma­te­rial in this pub­li­ca­tion is the prop­erty of the Al­berta News­pa­per Group, LP, and may not be re­pro­duced in whole or in part with­out prior con­sent of the Pub­lisher. The Pub­lisher is not re­spon­si­ble for state­ments or claims by ad­ver­tis­ers. The Pub­lisher shall not be li­able for slight changes or ty­po­graph­i­cal er­rors that do not lessen the value of an ad­ver­tise­ment or for omit­ting to pub­lish an ad­ver­tise­ment. Li­a­bil­ity is strictly limited to the pub­li­ca­tion of the ad­ver­tise­ment in any sub­se­quent is­sue or the re­fund of any monies paid for that ad­ver­tise­ment. per­sons that they can no longer rely on a ba­sic ser­vice? No won­der the peo­ple of Saskatchewan have be­gun to vo­cal­ize.

For the ma­jor­ity who rely on pub­lic ser­vices, (not all of us can pay our way through health care and ed­u­ca­tion), we must stand to­gether to tell this gov­ern­ment to act on our be­half – that is sup­posed to be their job. We can­not be tricked into be­liev­ing that we must all ‘tighten our belts’ – the Pre­mier’s fundraiser cer­tainly demon­strated that many in this province have not had to do so, and so why should the rest of us? That cor­po­rate tax break, if re­versed, could re­store ser­vices that were cut in the lat­est bud­get – but we must call on our elected of­fi­cials and pres­sure them into rev­ers­ing these de­ci­sions.

I en­cour­age you to con­tact your MLA and use your demo­cratic right to protest – pub­lic pres­sure works as ev­i­denced by the rev­er­sal to the li­brary cuts. Let’s keep grow­ing our move­ment to end aus­ter­ity in this province!

Neil Colmin Vice-pres­i­dent, SEIU-WEST

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