#SkPoli has wide-open election financing rules!

That’s right! We’re the Wild West of campaign financing. And the women running as candidates for the Saskatchewan New Democrats need support from Canadians everywhere if there’s any hope of ever defeating the SaskParty! Anyone living in Canada, any Canadian living abroad, and any corporation in Canada can donate to a Saskatchewan political party. So bring it, Canada, we need it.

And we need to prepare for the future, too. Preparing for the next election, succession planning, if you will, needs to carry on. The Bessie Ellis Fund, which exists to help more women run for nomination, needs topping up.

Saskatchewan will head to the polls on October 26. NDP leader, Dr. Ryan Meili, has gathered an incredible team of talent. Almost half the candidates around him are women and all candidates are committed to a progressive people first platform that includes pay equity legislation, a $15 minimum wage, $25/day childcare, and the return of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC).

By contrast, only 18 percent of the Sask Party’s candidates are women. And, as Premier Moe’s gerrymandered stronghold in rural areas weakens, news surfaced that an NDP candidate received a “disturbing letter” on a public bulletin board and discovered evidence of BB gun pellets on her campaign office door. The matter is now in the hands of the RCMP.

Threats are not a new experience for women. All our lives, we deal with insidious harassment and are encouraged to ignore or be ashamed of it. Most women experience some form of abuse, nuanced or outright, at some point in their lives. And Saskatchewan has the highest rate of domestic violence in the country. That threats such as this have crept into politics should not surprise anyone. It is not an isolated incident. It happens all over the country. Recently, a female public health official in British Columbia received a death threat.

Why, in the 21st century, must women pay such a high price, the threat of death, for taking a public role in building a better world? Why has the misogyny and general hatred toward women not been exposed and eradicated once and for all?

Furthermore, suicide is the leading cause of death for people aged 10 to 49 in northern Saskatchewan. But in the last legislative session, the Sask Party caucus voted to defeat a comprehensive suicide prevention bill. And when a young Metis man, Tristan Durocher, walked 635 kilometers from Air Ronge in northern Saskatchewan to Regina and set up a tipi and 44 posters of suicide victims near the legislative building as protest, the Premier had him charged for trespassing. A judge dismissed the case.

Then there’s the Thanksgiving message tweeted out by Moe’s Minister of Highways and Infrastructure, the Sask Party’s candidate for Yorkton: a sermon by homophobic fundamentalist preacher in the southern USA. Ottenbreit also has associations with Charles McVety who is well-known for his promotion of homophobia and anti-Semitism in Canada.

This is a crucial election in Saskatchewan, one with great potential. We know that women’s voices need to be heard. We in Saskatchewan know that by working together, we can make a better world. Please, Canadians, take a moment to make a small or large donation to the Bessie Ellis Fund, a legacy fund which supports women seeking nomination.

Failing that, support any of these women who have courageously stepped forward as progressive women in this election campaign.

Name Constituency Donate Link 
Twyla Harris-Naciri Biggar-Sask Valley https://www.saskndp.ca/twyla_harris_donate 
Wendy Sekulich Humboldt https://www.saskndp.ca/wendy_sekulich_donate 
Harmonie King Meadow Lake https://www.saskndp.ca/harmonie_king_donate 
Betty Nippi-Albright Saskatoon Centre https://www.saskndp.ca/betty_nippialbright_donate 
Ashlee Hicks Saskatoon Riversdale https://www.saskndp.ca/ashlee_hicks_donate 
Pamela Beaudin Saskatoon Southeast https://www.saskndp.ca/pamela_beaudin_donate 
Kaitlyn Harvey Saskatoon Willowgrove https://www.saskndp.ca/kaitlyn_harvey_donate 
Dianne Twietmeyer Cannington https://www.saskndp.ca/dianne_twietmeyer_donate 
Stacey Strykowski Canora-Pelly https://www.saskndp.ca/stacey_strykowski_donate 
Kelly Genert Cypress Hills https://www.saskndp.ca/kelly_genert_donate 
Linda Patenaude Kelvington-Wadena https://www.saskndp.ca/linda_patenaude_donate 
Thera Nordal Last Mountain Touchwood https://www.saskndp.ca/thera_nordal_donate 
Colleen Henning Lloydminster https://www.saskndp.ca/colleen_morrellhenning_donate 
Carla Streeton Martensville-Warman https://www.saskndp.ca/carla_streeton_donate 
Bonnie Galenzoski Melville-Saltcoats https://www.saskndp.ca/bonnie_galenzoski_donate 
Melissa Patterson Moose Jaw Wakamow https://www.saskndp.ca/melissa_patterson_donate 
Nicole Rancourt Prince Albert Northcote https://www.saskndp.ca/nicole_rancourt_donate 
Nicole Sarauer Regina Douglas Park https://www.saskndp.ca/nicole_sarauer_donate 
Meara Conway Regina Elphinstone Centre https://www.saskndp.ca/meara_conway_donate 
Carla Beck Regina Lakeview https://www.saskndp.ca/carla_beck_donate 
Aleana Young Regina University https://www.saskndp.ca/aleana_young_donate 
Kelly Hardy Regina Walsh Ares https://www.saskndp.ca/kelly_hardy_donate 
Brenda Edel Rosetown-Elrose https://www.saskndp.ca/brenda_edel_donate 
Trina Miller Rosthern-Shellbrook https://www.saskndp.ca/trina_miller_donate 
Vicki Mowat Saskatoon Fairview https://www.saskndp.ca/vicki_mowat_donate 
Gillian Strange Saskatoon Northwest https://www.saskndp.ca/gillian_strange_donate 
Erika Ritchie Saskatoon Nutana https://www.saskndp.ca/erika_ritchie_donate 
Jennifer Bowes Saskatoon University https://www.saskndp.ca/jennifer_bowes_donate 
Amber Stewart The Battlefords https://www.saskndp.ca/amber_stewart_donate 
Regan Lanning Weyburn Big Muddy https://www.saskndp.ca/regan_lanning_donate 
Women running for NDP in 2020 Sask General Election

Or, donate the general campaign, here.

But please help. Lives depend on it.


#Racist, #colonialist #SaskParty dog-whistling

The Regina Mom has been writing, but not blog posts until today, when she read the CBC News story about Premier Moe’s latest racist action.

The province is taking legal action against members of the camp and Regina Police Chief Evan Bray, according to court documents that were filed Tuesday at Regina’s Court of Queen’s Bench.

said Chevy, the Minister Responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission, in the prepared statement. He added that he’s doing this because

The Wascana Park bylaws prohibit unauthorized overnight camping, erecting and maintaining structures, and burning combustibles, and we are asking that these bylaws be enforced,”

The Regina Mom is pretty sure this is a dogwhistle for the racist core in the Sask Party. We are heading into an election in the next couple of years and Moe will want to shore up that support.

In response, the Regina Mom made some phone calls a little while ago and encourages you to do likewise.

Premier Moe’s office. Telephone: (306) 787-9433

Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Hon. Warren Kaeding. Phone (306) 787-6100

Minister Responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission, Ken Chevyldaoff. Phone (306) 787-0942

Let them know that this kind of racist, colonialist, morally bankrupt activity is appalling. Quite frankly, it affirms the reasons for the camp, as well as the camps that have sprung up elsewhere in the country.

The Regina Mom thinks she may be back again soon because in those calls she promised to revive her blog, renew her NDP membership, and work to defeat the Sask Party in the next election.

And the Regina Mom has yet to comment on the Trudeau 2.0 #fail on the oil and gas file!

I Stand With Standing Rock #NoDAPL!

the regina mom is more than a little concerned about what’s going on in North Dakota. Indigenous people who witnessed the graves of their ancestors being dug up so that a pipeline can cross a river, a pipeline that will endanger their water and the water supply for millions downstream, are being terrorized.

The brutal and barbaric attack by a militarized police force acting on behalf of the failing and flailing oil and gas industry was over the top! the regina mom watched the live feed coming in  on Sunday night.  When she heard the police defending it, saying they didn’t use water cannons or grenades, that they were putting out fires, she was enraged!  And now a young woman may lose her arm because she supported the water protectors, was there praying with them.  Not only are there witnesses to the grenade attack but there’s also video footage.

There’s also this, from Wab Kinew, a musician, author, broadcaster, educator and an NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba, Canada.  He reminds us all that the action taken by the Indigenous water protectors at Standing Rock is a spiritual one.  A spiritual one.  In their cultural and spiritual traditions, water is sacred.  Mni wiconi.

“Traditional Indigenous people do not see Standing Rock as activism. For people who have heard the words ‘mni wiconi’ since birth, this is simply answering the call of duty,” Kinew said.

He added that while everyone may not agree on how to fight climate change, the situation in North Dakota is a “powerful lesson for us in how not to pursue reconciliation.”

On Saturday, November 26 at 3 pm CST the regina mom will Pray With Standing Rock.  From Wikipedia:

Prayer (from the Latin precari “to ask earnestly, beg, entreat”)[1] is an invocation or act that seeks to activate a rapport with an object of worship through deliberate communication.

For the regina mom prayer is poetry, meditation, and song.  She invites you to join in the global prayer in your own way.  Register at praywithstandingrock.com so that they have an idea of the numbers, read the great information they have posted there, and keep abreast of ongoing activities at www.facebook.com/unify.

Mni wiconi


ACTION: Stop the cuts to supports for people living with disabilities

The Preamble:

thereginamom is more than a little angry about the Wall government’s attack on people with disabilities by cutting the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability program.  So, she wrote and sent a letter at the request of a friend.  You, dear Reader, are free to write your own or to copy-paste this one or parts of it into a message and send it.  Just please do something.

The Letter:

Mr. Premier, MLAs, and Editors:

I write because my friend, B., an elder in our community and the mother of an adult daughter who has lived her entire life with a disability, asked me to do so.  I worked alongside her daughter at a community agency a number of years ago.  That B. is concerned about the cuts to financial support for people with disabilities in the province, especially the Saskatchewan Assured Income Disability (SAID) program, does not surprise me.  She loves her daughter.  Many Saskatchewan residents rely on SAID in addition to what work, if any, they can find.  People with disabilities, as well as people without, have every right to expect to live and thrive as functioning members of our communities and we pay our taxes so that our governments see to that.

This impacts our friends and neighbours, family members and coworkers who already live every single day of their lives at a significant disadvantage.  They will most definitely suffer, in very real ways, as a result.  It’s a dangerous decision for the Province, one that’s on a slippery slope lending credence to the theory that this administration honestly does not care what happens to people with disabilities.

I can’t help but wonder if this government would rather see people with disabilities medicated and locked away in mental hospitals and prisons than see them live and work in their communities.  That would, I suppose, help this administration’s friends in the pharmaceutical and prison industries, wouldn’t it?  So, we really shouldn’t be surprised by this attack on vulnerable people, should we?

Yes, I can get cynical.  However, my elderly friend also suggested that we challenge our MLAs to cut their collective salaries enough to fill the gap.  Though I don’t believe it’s the correct solution, it is, in fact, a solution.  And so, until this administration comes up with a better solution, I join her call.

Will you support a motion to reduce the salaries of all Members in the Saskatchewan Legislative Assembly so that those who live with disabilities in Saskatchewan and rely on the SAID program need not see theirs reduced?


Bernadette Wagner
Author, Editor, Community Organizer

The Request:

We challenge all elected members of the Legislature to vote to cut their own salaries in order to sufficiently fund the level of maintenance promised to persons with disabilities.

Premier Brad Wall: premier@gov.sk.ca
Donna Harpauer: humboldtmla@sasktel.net
Carla Beck: reginalakeview@ndpcaucus.sk.ca
Kevin Doherty: kevindohertymla@sasktel.net
Mark Docherty: markdochertymla@sasktel.net
Muhammad Fiaz: muhammad.fiaz@saskparty.com
Gene Makowsky: gmakowsky.mla@sasktel.net
Warren McCall: reginaelphinstonecentre@ndpcaucus.sk.ca
Tina Beaudry-Mellor: admin@ReginaUniversityMLA.ca
Laura Ross: laurarossmla@sasktel.net
Nicole Sarauer: reginadouglaspark@ndpcaucus.sk.ca
Warren Steinley: walshacresmla@sasktel.net
Christine Tell: christinetellmla@accesscomm.ca
Trent Wotherspoon: reginarosemont@ndpcaucus.sk.ca

To learn more about cuts to the SAID program, google “Sask party cuts to SAID program.”

The Addenda

To find more addresses for MLAs, go here.  Please act now.

The Wall government’s Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction wrote a letter to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix.

As community members of the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction, we are concerned by the way Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer has represented changes to the housing supplement for SAID recipients.

Please act now.

Time travel: #LaLoche 2009

In 2009, The Sasquatch, a spin-off of the progressive, Briarpatch Magazine, published a piece the regina mom wrote about youth suicide in La Loche, Saskatchewan.  Yesterday’s tragedy in the remote northern Saskatchewan Dene community, La Loche, prompted trm to remember that story.  And then, she learned that Premier Wall’s SaskParty government and its LEAN-thinking business initiatives helped to kill programs set up by the community for the community and had to repost it here.  So much sadness here.


Youth suicide “epidemic” ravages northern Saskatchewan

By Bernadette Wagner

About 40 teens have attempted suicide in the past 18 months in the northern Saskatchewan community of La Loche. More than half have died.

“It’s an epidemic,” says Laura Petschulat, a high school teacher at La Loche Community School. “They’ve lost hope.”

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) cites suicide as the leading cause of death among First Nations people between the ages of 10 and 24.

“When young people lose hope, suicide becomes a reality,” says Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN) Vice-Chief Glen Pratt. “Too many of our children experience tragedy in their lives and that injures the spirit.”

Pratt says the current system is set up to make First Nations fail. “Our traditional First Nations health system has been oppressed,” he says. “Western medicine is very tokenized toward First Nations. We need to find a way to give them strength and not label them as sick.”

“It’s tragic,” says Warren McCall, NDP critic for First Nations and Métis Affairs, referring to the high rate of suicide among Aboriginal youth. “It’s the cutting edge of what the province is doing wrong.”

Minister Responsible for First Nations and Métis Affairs June Draude declined to comment on this story. Draude is also the minister responsible for Northern Affairs.

On the Clearwater River Dene Nation just a mile outside La Loche, 70 per cent of the 1,400 band members living on the reserve are under the age of 18. In the village of La Loche, about 50 per cent of the residents are under 18. In both communities, many families live 10 or more to a house, some of which are substandard. Alcohol and drug abuse, physical and sexual violence and teen pregnancy rates are high. The welfare rate sits around 70 per cent.

It’s hard to find positive role models in a community that’s still coping with the legacy of residential schools and colonialism,” says McCall. “The community lacks the resources for positive change. There are hugely limited resources in the north.”

Vice-Chief Pratt says there are role models in every community but sometimes kids choose the wrong ones. Young people and elders don’t always connect the way they should.

There has got to be a revival of First Nations medicine,” he added.

Pratt says the FSIN is encouraging that revival. This past winter, it brought together 300 youth from across the province for a suicide prevention conference in Saskatoon. Survivors of suicide spoke about their “second chance at life.” Youth had opportunities to learn about the traditional ways from Elders and to share their own stories.

According to Pratt, the suicide prevention strategy in Saskatchewan lacks a co-ordinated approach. His organization is calling for a youth forum on the matter. “We need a strategy built by youth themselves and supported by partnerships with youth, First Nations elders, schools and the health system. We need to invite youth to circles,” he says.

Some suggest that northern development, including a road connecting La Loche to Fort MacLeod, Alberta, is the key to fixing the problems in northern communities, but Petschulat disagrees. “A lot of people here think that will only bring drugs and prostitution,” she says. “There are already too many problems here.”

Residents also wonder how development in the future will help the youth now.

“It’s hard for these kids to avoid gangs and drugs, alcoholism and abuse,” says one resident who asked not to be named. “They live with abuse, alcoholism, poverty and can’t escape it. Despite how bad it is, this is where the people they love live.”

NDP Health Critic Judy Junor wants to know what the Sask Party government is doing about the situation in La Loche. “What immediate programs are they putting in place to stop this cycle of hopelessness?” she asks.

Health Minister Don McMorris did not respond to requests for comment.

On World Suicide Prevention Day in September 2008, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Phil Fontaine called for a doubling of the number of suicide prevention projects taking place in First Nations communities. One hundred and forty projects are ongoing at the present time. La Loche is not currently a site for one of those projects.

In the meantime, Petschulat says that the only hope some troubled youth have is that someone will post a video featuring images of the youth and a favourite song or two on YouTube after their death.

“Still,” says Vice-Chief Pratt, “many young people are thriving despite the injustices their people face – poverty, racism, oppression. The stronger the spirit, the stronger the nation, the stronger the youth.”

c. 2009 Bernadette Wagner

Sidebar: Holistic health & suicide prevention

A federal government publication, Acting On What We Know: Preventing Youth Suicide in First Nations, suggests that prevention programs are most successful when they bring together health, school and community.

In First Nations communities where cultural traditions have been lost, “the development of programs to transmit traditional knowledge and values, usually by respected elders, is also a crucial component of any suicide prevention program,” the report suggests.

At their recent conference on health issues, the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations held sessions on Shiatsu Therapy and the Bowen Method – two methods of healing which are more holistic than western medicine. Both are based in the belief that the human body has an innate ability to heal itself.

Shiatsu is hands-on, finger-pressure therapy, which has evolved from aspects of Japanese massage traditions, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Western anatomy and physiology and works to release blocked energy in the body.

The Bowen Method stimulates a sense of deep relaxation, which acts on the nervous system to create metabolic equilibrium at the cellular level. This resets the autonomic nervous system and frees the body to find its own natural balance. By embracing not only the psychological or the physical, the treatments can work on the whole individual.

First Nations medicine is similar in that it also works on the whole individual by looking at the physical, the psycho-emotional, the cultural and the spiritual. According to FSIN Vice-Chief Glen Pratt, “The spiritual is the foundation for the other three. Once we become strong in spirit . . . we become very balanced in a healthy way.”

c. 2009 Bernadette Wagner

This Thursday!

Oh, dear Reader, thereginamom‘s been busy!

Regina event details

She’s not only harvesting produce from her garden and preserving it for winter, but also learning a new song.  She hopes you’ll join in on the chorus and belt out “Harperman, it’s time for you to go!” with her on Thursday, September 17 at the Regina edition of the Canada-Wide Harperman Sing-Along.  Similar events are taking place in more than 40 communities nationwide.

Meet at Scarth Street & 12th Avenue, near Victoria Park at 12:30 PM to sing Harperman.  Arrive at the Making Peace Vigil on Scarth Street at 11th Avenue at noon and hop on the Peace Train of Song to the sing-along.

Why do this? For thereginamom, it is about supporting and defending Tony Turner’s right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Tony is a folk singer and songwriter from Ottawa who works as a scientist for the federal government.  He has been suspended from his job pending an investigation into allegedly violating the “departmental code of values and ethics” in his writing and performing the song, Harperman.

The messaging trm hears in this is that writing protest songs about the Prime Minister should be illegal.  Cons-fill-dumpster-with-libraryWell, sorry, Harperman, that attitude is right up there with the dumpstering agricultural research materials and books thing.

So, trm‘s had enough and she’s going singing on Thursday.  Hoping you’ll bring your voice and sing along, your instrument and play along, and/or your own verses to share, if opportunity comes along.

In the meantime, dear Reader, if you haven’t already done so, please do this, too.

And make sure you’re registered to vote!


Stop Harper – pass it on.

from Alison@Creekside

via https://benjamindickerson.wistia.com/medias/9jht8ireni

Changing the tune

Today is the anniversary of Jack Layton’s death. In 2011, I was at the Banff Centre, part of a Carolyn McDade and friends recording project with about a hundred women from different places in Canada and the USA. As I headed to breakfast that morning, one of the women from our group was in tears. When I asked what was the matter, I learned that Jack was dead.

I was shocked, went to tell another woman, and the rest is a blur. I know that we honoured him and his work with a moment of silence in the recording studio. And I remember the women from the USA asking about Jack and listening to our stories about him as well as the history of the NDP, the CCF, and the Farm and Labour parties that preceded them.

On the day of his funeral we recorded “Now You Can Go On”, one of four songs Carolyn wrote based on the words of the poem, You, Standing There Reading This: Stop, by William Stafford. It was such a fitting song for that day.

Later, my USA roommate, Ginny, and I sat in our room in Lloyd Hall, crying, as we listened to Stephen Lewis deliver Jack’s eulogy. Everyone, from both north and south of the border, was deeply moved. That deeply emotional experience made its way into our recording. The CD, Widening Embrace, is more powerful as a result.

#YQR Evacuation Centre Volunteers Needed

Too much going on politically.  And now this, too!

Evacuation Centre Volunteers Needed

Due to the unprecedented level of fires and smoke in the north the Red Cross will be assisting with evacuees arriving in Regina as early as June 29 evening for two evacuation centres being set up at the University of Regina (200 people) and Evraz Place (up to 800 people). They are in dire need of volunteers to assist with set up and also to assist with personal support and recreation for evacuees during their time here. Volunteers are needed for assistance at all times of day and through the weekend.

Please consider volunteering. To do so you need to get a criminal record check done with the Regina Police Service and the Red Cross has arranged that this can be done on the spot when you go to get it.

If you plan to volunteer please send your availability over the next ten days as soon as possible to:

Cindy Fuchs CHRP Provincial Director Saskatchewan

Canadian Red Cross | Croix-Rouge canadienne Western Zone 2050 Cornwall Street | Regina | Saskatchewan | CA | S4P 2K5 Cindy.Fuchs@redcross.ca T 306 721-1631 | F 306 721-1602 | C 306 536-6700 www.redcross.ca | www.croixrouge.ca

Major Federal Government Cuts Impacting Women in Canada Since 2006