Investing in the Future

The Regina Mom has just learned that she’s going here to work on her next book of poetry.  And so she needs to raise money–fast. As a result, she’s hosting a Sizzling Summer Salon and Silent Auction with writers, artists, and musicians of her acquaintance on Wednesday, July 14 at 7:30 p.m.

30 tickets are available and they’re $25 in advance, $30 at the door, providing there are some left by then. Note that a Paypal link will be in place by tomorrow.  Note also that any money raised over and above that necessary to attend the prestigious writing school will be used to buy the Regina Mom more writing time.

Here’s that Paypal link. The payment will go to hubby’s already established account and he’ll notify me.

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Budget 2010: Still Leaving Women Behind

This came my way via the PAR-L email list.  Huge thanks to Kathleen Lahey for this work.  It puts a light on the inherently sexist economic system in which women exist, a system Stephen Harper is determined to prop up, regardless how much it hurts women and their children.

Kathleen Lahey
Mar. 5, 2010

The big picture: Women are half the population in Canada and nearly half the official labour force – but still do 62% of all unpaid work, and receive only 40% of after-tax incomes.

This Budget: The government claims that it is providing one last $19 billion ‘stimulus’ package this year, shorn of new tax cuts or spending items. This is highly misleading. New corporate tax cuts and continued huge PIT and GST cuts bring the total to $41.9 billion for 2010/11.

Gender gaps This $41.9 billion is being delivered in forms that will benefit far more in Budget 2010: men than women, widen gender gaps even further, and continue to drive up poverty rates among women and single parents:

2010-2011: Amount: Women’s share:
Infrastructure spending $ 9.6 bill. 7% to 22%
Corporate tax cuts $10.1 bill. 10% to 37%
GST tax cuts $10.0 bill. 38%
Personal income tax cuts $ 7.4 bill. 40%
EI enhancements $ 4.8 bill. 36%
Single-parent UCCB tax cut $ 0.005 bill. 81% (max $168/C)

Infrastructure spending $9.6 billion, 2010-2011
($8 billion, 2009-2010)

• For 2010-2011, the ‘base’ infrastructure fund is $7.7 billion, which will continue to be allocated to road, municipal improvement, and building infrastructure:

– only 7% of construction, trade, transportation workers are women
– only 21-22% in engineering, manufacturing, and primary industries/women1

• For 2010-2011, an additional $1.9 billion is being added for post-secondary infrastructure, consisting of both construction and enhancement of selected areas of research and technology innovation:

– these construction funds will impact women in the same 7% to 22% range
– there are relatively few women in the research and technology areas targeted for the remainder of this funding: only 21% to 23% are women2

• No gender equity requirements have been included in any of these spending programs

• Tying provincial and municipal construction project criteria to federal funding forces provinces/local governments to match funds on the same terms (provincial shares: 61%) and continues to block child care projects desperately needed across the country

• Will women get another 2 shelters this year? (Cf 3 animal shelter projects in 2009)
Corporate income tax cuts $10.1 billion, 2010-2011
($6.3 billion, 2000-2010)
($44.8 billion, 2010-2014)

• These tax cuts were announced beginning in 2006, were accelerated in 2008, and will be fully implemented in 2012 – they reduce the general rate from 22.12% to 15% by 2014

• By 2014, total federal revenues produced by corporate income taxes will have been permanently cut by a third of former corporate tax revenue

• The $10.1 billion cut in 2010-2011 reflects the 1% cut that came into effect in 2009 plus the new 1.5% cut coming into effect in 2010 (but buried in fine print in Budget 2010)

• These cuts permanently depress Canada’s annual revenue, and form one basis for the argument that Canada cannot fund programs like child care or women’s services

• The federal government has been pressuring provinces to make similar large rate cuts

• Once the combined federal-provincial corporate income tax rate falls below 35%, the US government will begin collecting a share of Canada’s foregone CIT revenues

• The government itself has admitted that corporate income tax cuts only weakly promote economic growth (Budget 2010, table A1.1)

• Men will be the largest beneficiaries of these cuts, because almost all CEOs, directors, and controlling shareholders are men, and 63% of corporate shares are owned by men

• One of the tax benefits of receiving corporate dividends is that the first $50,000 is tax exempt ($34,000 if issued by small business corporations) – compare this with those who live on subsistence incomes of $10,320 or less – such low incomes are PIT-free, but will still bear total taxes of 17.175% from the GST/HST-PST, EI, and CPP GST tax rate reductions (2%) $10 billion (annual) ($34.8 billion 2007-2011)

• The GST and PST/HST are highly regressive, giving the biggest benefits to those with the highest incomes regardless of whether they save or spend

• The GST tax credits refunds only a small part of the GST that is paid by those with low incomes (the credit covers the tax on approx. $4,750 of spending)

• GST tax savings per year on spending, for taxpayers in —

Bottom income quintile: $280
Top income quintile: $1,244

• The 2% rate cut has contributed substantially to the sharp reduction in federal revenues, thus impairing federal capacity to go ahead with adequate affordable child care or expand EI to give benefits to more marginalized members of the labour force

• As the federal government has placed pressure on provinces to induce them to ‘harmonize’ their PSTs with the federal GST, provincial tax bases are being expanded to include previously non-taxed services, resulting in further increases that affect lowincome taxpayers the most negatively (usually without offsetting low-income credits)

• 62% of these federal GST tax cuts go to men, 38% go to women Personal income tax cuts $7.35 billion, 2010-2011
($18.4 billion, 2008-2010)

• Lowest income tax rate reduced from 16% to 15%: ($5.5 bill)

– At least 40.4% of women receive no benefit from any of these cuts because their incomes are so low they already pay no income taxes

– These cuts to to middle and high income taxpayers too – to all taxpayers
– Women’s average incomes are too low to use the whole benefit of this cut
– The average benefit to men of this cut is $196 – to women, $171
– Men receive 57% of this cut, women, 43%

• $220 increase in the personal exemption: ($0.55 bill.)

– At least 40% of women will receive nothing from this cut (no tax liability)
– This cut is also available to all taxpayers, no matter how high their income
– 54% of this cut goes to male taxpayers; maximum cut/year = $333

• $1,894 increase in the lowest income bracket (15%): ($1.0 bill.)

– Only 14% of all women taxpayers can get this tax cut (and 30% of all men)
– 67% will go to male taxpayers; maximum cut/year = $1324

• $3,788 increase in the second income bracket (22%): ($0.3 bill.)

– Only 6% of all women taxpayers will enjoy this tax cut (and 14% of all men)
– 70% of this cut goes to male taxpayers; maximum cut/year = $1515
Employment insurance $4.8 billion, 2010-2011
($2 billion in 2009-2010)

• For 2010-2011, $2.6 billion of this total is being allocated to further extensions of EI for those with ‘standard’ eligibility for regular benefits

• For 2010-2011, an additional $2.2 billion is being allocated to labour market adjustment projects in regions facing special challenges

• Regardless of program allocations, those working less than 35 hours per week during qualifying periods have marginal eligibility

• Because 70% of all part-time workers are women, and because the hourly wages of women in all employment categories are lower than men’s, only about 36% of those receiving regular EI benefits are women

• The EI extensions offered in 2009 and 2010 (announced in Budget 2009) are only available to workers already qualifying for EI; they do not bring other workers into EI

• The new women workers who might qualify under EI enhancements are those who stayed at home for long periods of time with their children – not women in nonqualifying paid work who have only taken time out for maternity leave, and who are disproportionately disadvantaged in obtaining those EI benefits due to the current eligibility criteria

• There is growing support for the 360 hour EI qualification test

• Postponement of increases in employee contribution rates and reduced employer contribution rates that have never occurred are not real tax benefits Home buyer tax credits $200 million in 2009-2010

• These credits will only be available to those who can afford to purchase a home

• Because these credits are not refundable, even low-income taxpayers who are able to purchase a home cannot use them, because they will have no tax liability against which to offset them

• On average, women will thus receive far fewer credits under this program, because their average incomes are much lower than men’s:
– women’s average incomes: $27,000
– men’s average incomes: $45,0006

• Most women’s incomes fall into the three lowest income quintiles, all of which are net dis-savers – they end every year with net debt7

• For the same reasons, low income taxpayers – predominantly women – will not have RRSP savings that they are allowed to roll into home purchases on a tax-free bases Working income tax benefit $580 million per year

• The current Working Income Tax Benefit (WITB) is $522/year for a single individual and $1044 for a single parent; Budget 2009 enhanced these benefits to the current levels:

– Single individuals: to $925 credit per year, phased out at income of $16,700
– Single parents: to $1,680 credit per year, phased out at income of $25,700

• Only one spouse/partner or the other can claim this credit

• Women who cannot enter paid work without affordable reliable child care will not be able to take advantage of this increased credit Canada child tax benefit $230 million/year

• The brackets measuring the phase-out of the Canada Child Tax Credit and the National Child Benefit Supplement are each being increased by the same $1,894 that is added to the 15% income bracket

• The result of this change is to increase at the top end of the brackets used to phase-out these two low-income benefits, adding a bit more to the after-tax income of the parents currently receiving the CCTB or NCB Supp at the highest end of that income scale

• No new money is going to parents at the low end of the income brackets used to measure qualification for these benefits, however UCCB/Single parent calculation $5 million/year

• The ‘Universal Child Care Benefit’ was introduced in 2006 to replace the $5 bill. national child care program established in 2005 (UCCB cost/year = $2.1 billion)

• The government claimed that it ‘will support child care choices by families’8

• The UCCB is taxable, and this change will reduce the single parents’ tax on it by $168/yr

• Even the full UCCB ($1200/yr) is far too little to enable single parents to ‘choose’ to stay at home to care for their children vs. pay for childcare so they can earn income Joint tax measures Ongoing; expanded in 2006

• All joint fiscal measures create disincentives to women’s paid work

• Joint low-income refundable tax credits impose tax penalties on low-income women:

• There are a few tax benefits that are designed to provide refundable credits to those whose incomes are too low to be able to claim ordinary tax benefits (40.4% of women) GST tax credit Canada Child Tax Benefit
Working Income Tax Benefit [$580 mill/yr; $522 single; $1044 couple]

• However, these refundable credits are all subject to couple-based LICOs that artificially bar many low-income women from receiving these refundable credits

Single taxpayer: $13,500 [2009: $16,700]
Coupled taxpayer: $21,500 [2009: $25,700]

• These couple LICOs raise the ‘welfare wall’ for low-income women in relationships

• They impose tax penalties on relationships without regard for the economic realities of those relationships

• Open-ended joint tax measures undermine women’s economic security:

• Unlike joint provisions for low-income refundable tax credits, many joint tax benefits discourage women with mid/high income spouses/partners from earning income

• Most joint tax benefits reward higher income spouses for supporting their spouse/partner

– without any upper limits on eligibility, no matter how high the income (e.g., dependent spouse credit and transferrable spousal credits; family limits on child care deductions; spousal RRSPs; caregiver credits; Universal Child Care Benefit; pension income splitting; TFSA investment income splitting)

• Pension income splitting (2006 onward; $0.6 bill/year): For couples only: The higher the income of the supporting spouse, the higher the tax benefit from pension splitting:

Supporting spouse/ $26,800 Tax benefit: —
partner income: $31,800 $500
$41,800 $700
$72,000 $2,975
$100,000 $8,125
$140,000 $11,216

• Creates fiscal disincentives for lower-income spouse to work after higher-income spouse/partner retires, to have own-source pension income, or a spousal RRSP Tax-free savings accounts: $0.5 billion (2009; expanding)

• $5,000 can be contributed to tax-exempt accumulation accounts each year for ultimate tax-exempt withdrawal; $10,000 per couple; $5,000 per adult child

• Only the top quintile of households have enough savings to fully fund TFSAs fully9

• Spousal TFSAs are not required to remain the property of the non-earning owner

1. Statistics Canada, ‘Work Chapter Updates,’ Women in Canada (Ottawa: 2005); online:
http://www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/89F0133XIE/89F0133XIE2006000.htm.
2. Statistics Canada, ‘University Enrolment, 2007/2009,’ The Daily (July 13, 2009);
online:
http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/090713/tdq-9-713-eng.htm.
3. Based on data in CRA, Income Statistics 2007.
4. Based on data in CRA, Income Statistics 2007.
5. Based on data in CRA, Income Statistics 2007.
6. Canada Revenue Agency, Income Statistics 2007 [2005 tax year] (Ottawa: 2007) table
6,
at 15-16; online: http://www.cra-arc.gc.ca/gncy/stts/gb05/pst/fnl/pdf/table6-eng.pdf.
7. Sauve, Vanier Insitute for the Family, 2005.
8. Hon. Flaherty, Minister of Finance, The Budget Speech 2006 (May 2, 2006); online:
http://www.fin.gc.ca/budget06/speech/speech-eng.asp.
9. Sauve, Vanier Insitute for the Family, 2005

The Maple Syrup Revolution!

Whoever said Canadian politics was boring wasn’t paying attention! I certainly did not imagine that Minister Flaherty’s Economic and Fiscal Update – a tradition of modern Parliamentary democracies – would be the tipping point for a majority of Canada’s politicians. I’d been encouraged to participate in the grassroots’ push for a coalition government, urged to send emails and write letters, but I dismissed the idea as too pie-in-the-sky.

Well I’m taking a huge bite of some mighty fine humble pie right now!  The past few days have been a truly remarkable demonstration of how a Parliamentary system of governance can work. I’m not suggesting that it’s the best system around, just that what has been built into it, in terms of checks and balances, seems to work.  This is how would-be tyrants and dictators are prevented from taking power.

A coalition of Liberal, NDP and Bloc MPs is the best outcome we can hope for at this time in our history. The coming together of a coalition as diverse as this is truly remarkable and will, I believe, force Parliament to work in the best interests of all who live in this vast and diverse place.  As I said elsewhere, it is the only logical response to an ideologue whose drive for power exceeds common sense and common decency in the House of Commons.

And now we see the Conservatives embarking on a massive PR campaign, a last-ditch effort to hang onto power. “It’s a PR war now,” according to a senior Conservative.

That about says it all, doesn’t it?  Public. Relations.  For the right wing alliance that became the Conservative Party of Canada, governance appears to be meaningless.  It’s about business, not government.  It’s about dog-eat-dog, not co-operation.  It’s about survival of the fittest, not love thy neighbour.  It’s really sad, actually.

And then, looking at the text of the Accord that all three parties in Opposition signed, in the Policy section, the coaltion lists its concerns, concerns over and above partisan politics:

Economic Stimulus Package
The top priority of the new Government is an economic stimulus package
designed to boost the domestic economy beginning with (but not limited to):
• Accelerating existing infrastructure funding and substantial new
investments, including municipal and inter-provincial projects (such as
• transit, clean energy, water, corridors and gateways). This would certainly
include addressing the urgent infrastructure needs of First Nations, Métis
and Inuit;
• Housing construction and retrofitting; and
• Investing in key sector strategies (like manufacturing, forestry and
automotive) designed to create and save jobs, with any aid contingent on
a plan to transform these industries and return them to profitability and
sustainability.
Rapid Support for those affected by the Economic Crisis
The new Government is committed to ensuring that the federal government has
the appropriate programs in place to assist those most affected by the economic
crisis so that all citizens will be in a position to fully participate in the economic
recovery to follow, including the following measures:
• Facilitate skills training to help ensure Canadian workers are properly
equipped to keep pace with the rapidly changing economy, while
respecting provincial jurisdiction and existing agreements;
• Amend the current law establishing a new crown corporation for
employment insurance in order to guarantee that all revenue from EI
premiums provides benefits and training for workers. Eliminate the current
two week waiting period;
• Lower the minimum required RRIF withdrawal for 2008 by 50 per cent;
• Reform bankruptcy and insolvency laws to better protect pensions; and
• Implement an income support program for older workers who have lost
their jobs in order to help them make the transition from work to receiving
retirement benefits.
Other Priorities to Stimulate the Economy
• Support for culture, including the cancellation of budget cuts announced
by the Conservative government.
• Support for Canadian Wheat Board and Supply Management
• Immigration Reform
• Reinstate regional development agency funding to non-profit economic
development organizations.
Families
As finances permit, we are committed to moving forward with improved child
benefits and an early learning and childcare program in partnership with each
province, and respectful of their role and jurisdiction, including the possibility to
opt out with full compensation.

It’s unfortunate that children fall to the bottom of the heap, but then again, this is a Liberal-led coalition and it took them 12 years of governance to actually put foward a plan, so I guess we know where we have to place some effort, eh?  My kids are 17 and 15 now so maybe by the time they have kids in a decade or so, we’ll have a real plan for childcare in this country!

But I digress.  It’s clear that the coalition partners have the interests of the people of Canada at heart and not their own partisan interests.  Layton made huge concessions in allowing the corporate tax cuts to proceed.  Dion has had to eat some humble pie, too, having said he’d never work with a socialist like Layton.  And Duceppe, by providing support to this coalition, could be seen by hard-liners as jeopardizing Quebec sovereignty.

Pretty sweet times in Canada, eh?  It’s definitely a Maple Syrup Revolution!

with thanks to skdadl @ pogge.ca for the blog post title.

North American Union, Listeriosis, TILMA & the Stephen Harper Party

A trip through some blog posts has my neural pathways click-click-clicking! Be forewarned, this is a click-heavy post!

It all started with Alison@Creekside, talking about Stock Day and the hook-up with the Conference Board of Canada, Bell Canada, Microsoft and the RCMP for discussions on the server in the sky, that whacked-out plan for a surveillance society.  It’s a plan which flows from the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America (SPP), that nasty piece of work cobbled together by the US Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE – those poor, poor millionaires) and the Mexican Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales (Comex, a group sponsored by Exxon Mobil, and boasting affiliation with none other than Milton Friedman’s Chicago School of Economics).

After civil society defeated the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), a piece on the path to North American Union, the CCCE worked with the CFR and Comex on another way of making change.  They proposed, in 2003, the North American Security and Prosperity Initiative (NASPI) which identifed five key areas of work:

Wholehearted action on these began when the SPP agreement was signed by former Liberal Prime Minister Paul Martin, US President George W. Bush and former Mexican President, Vincente Fox, in 2005.  It has been lovingly tended by PM Harper, President Bush and Mexico’s President Calderon.

On my blogging journey, when I got to Larry Hubich‘s post discussing the Stephen Harper defence strategy that’s absent from the Conservative platform, I thought SPP.  He sent me over to Owls and Roosters, for more on the $490,000,000,000 defence plan.

In the sidebar at OnR, I noted a piece about TILMA, the Trade, Investment and Labour Mobility Agreement that puts investment ahead of people.  Get this!  A re-elected Stephen Harper government would force TILMA on the provinces.  From page 16 of Stephen Harper’s de-sweatered platform:

A re-elected Conservative Government led by Stephen Harper will work to eliminate barriers that restrict or impair trade, investment or labour mobility between provinces and territories by 2010… We hope to see further progress, but are prepared to intervene by exercising federal authority if barriers to trade, investment and mobility remain by 2010.

And guess where talk of labour mobility barriers first appeared.

Yup!  The CCCE! It’s in the section on regulatory efficiencies:

  • As part of this effort, three issues of significant sensitivity must be addressed: the use of trade remedies within a de facto integrated market; regulatory restrictions on access and ownership in major industries; and impediments to the mobility of skilled labour.

Given what’s happening on Wall Street right now, it would make more sense for Canada to race away from markets more integrated with the USA!  But Steve, like Noah of the Old Testament, is staying the course.  In fact, Canada should have run away from the North American integration a long while ago.  That might have prevented 20 recent deaths.  From the same regulatory/economic efficiencies section:

  • With respect to standards, inspection and certification procedures, our two countries should be able to apply a principle of “tested once” for purposes of the Canada-United States market. Examples of such areas are the consumer and industrial goods sector, food safety and pharmaceuticals.

Food safety, huh?

But wait! There’s more.

I had to travel back to Alison@Creekside, in 2006, where she quoted a Maclean’s article (note the changed URL),

This is how the future of North America now promises to be written: not in a sweeping trade agreement on which elections will turn, but by the accretion of hundreds of incremental changes implemented by executive agencies, bureaucracies and regulators.

Incremental changes, huh?

One more bit from that Maclean’s article.  Ron Covais, president of the Americas for the arms manufacturer, Lockheed Martin, and a former adviser to US Vice President, Dick Cheney, said of the 2006 SPP meeting, “We’ve decided not to recommend any things that would require legislative changes because we won’t get anywhere.

Democratic process is such a pain, isn’t it?

Government by stealth; the Stephen Harper Party’s strength.

Can you stand more, dear reader?

Go ahead, watch this without me; I’ve had enough for one day!

Crossposted at rabble.ca/election

Sexist Economics Enrages Me!

Sexist Economics

Sexist Economics by Bernadette L. Wagner

I am a woman, enraged!

I am enraged that global capital, after more than three centuries of greed, continues in its greedy ways, wanting more concessions from government, calling for bigger bottom lines, demanding more, more, more.

I am enraged that women and their children bear the brunt of the greed, living in poverty, suffering illness, dying too young.

I am enraged that governments bend to corporatists, hold tight to neoliberal paths, junk programs that attempt to redress imbalances.

I am enraged that our current economic system is based in a social system of  women as chattel and has not “adjusted” to the reality that women are human beings.

I am enraged that, in economic terms, the work that women do to keep our families healthy and functioning, that moves the economy through its cycles, that makes the world a better place for the many, doesn’t matter.  If it did matter, our GDP would look very different.

I am enraged that the “Feminist Dozen” has yet to be addressed in any real way by any of our governments.

I am enraged that in the 21st century the realities of women’s lives are repeatedly forgotten and dismissed in favour of an economics that degrades and devalues women’s worth.

Crossposted at rabble.ca/election

YWCA Fundraiser: Women of Distinction

It disturbs me that critical services for women are underfunded and that our governments make little effort to provide support to those agencies who have shown, repeatedly, their worth.

Several years ago now, the YWCA came up with a unique way to honour women and raise much-needed funds at the same time. Ever since, an event dubbed Women of Distinction Awards Gala is held and many thousands of dollars are raised to fund vital programs such as that provided by the Isabel Johnson Shelter and the YWCA residence for women.

This year’s event takes place on May 1 and you will find the details here. The list of nominees includes several women I have worked with over the years and I wish them the best for simply being noticed for the work they do, but more importantly, for doing the work they do within our community. Without their commitment, we would notice a signifant gap in our community.

So, get your tickets and let’s hear your applause for this year’s nominees:

wod logo

The Arts

Martha Cole

Jeannie Mah

Community Leadership & Enhancement

Ingrid Alesich

Holly Nagel

Robyn Betker

Jeanette Gelowitz

Angelica Barth

Barb Dedi

Contribution to a Rural Community

Jo Mader

Cultural Heritage

Camille Bell

Katherine Chang

Tracey Dunnigan

Education

Heather Salloum

Lynn Carr

Keitha Adams

Norma Wildeman

Deb Ash

Entrepreneurship

Donna Bially

January Kardash

Elaine F Burnett

Leslie Charlton

Leadership & Management

Patricia Warsaba

Gail Rosseker

Lifetime Achievement

Elaine Yeomans

Jeanne Perry

Wanda Prettyshield

Science, Technology & Environment

Paule Hjertaas

Kim Dohms

Teamwork

Osteoporosis Canada Regina Chapter

Regina Ecoliving

Friends for Life

Daughter’s of Africa International Inc

Forever Friends of Hope Foundation Inc.

Wellness,Recreation & Healthy Living

Lisa Brownstone

Heather Stevenson

Carla Nicholls

Peggy Martin-McGuire

Young Woman of Distinction

Janet Moleski

Sheenah Ko

Rachel Mielke

Nicole Olszewski

Brad Wall, meet Saskatoon!

Just over five months in office and Premier Brad Wall has more than a video scandal on his hands. He and his SaskParty have managed to rile up a significant portion of the citizens in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It appears that he’s getting a bit more than he bargained for by pulling the plug on the Station 20 West Community Enterprise Centre, a broad and innovative community-based project that transforms contaminated wasteland into an environmental showcase and will bring much-needed attention to a core neighbourhood:

The Station 20 West Community Enterprise Centre

An innovative three-storey state-of-the-art structure, located at 20th Street West between Avenues L and K on Saskatoon’s West Side, will be a home to:

  • non-profit community organizations
  • public institutions
  • for-profit businesses and cooperatives

Working Together Works.

The Station 20 West CEC will integrate the delivery of needed community services and programs such as:

  • medical and dental
  • access to healthy food
  • jobs, training, housing

This initiative is a model one and it is one which has garnered broad-based support from not only the community of Saskatoon but also from people across the province. It’s not surprising then that more than 2,500 folks showed up for a Community Walk in support of Station 20 West. From the Saskatoon Star Phoenix:

Thousands gather to protest Station 20 West cuts

Danielle Mario, TheStarPhoenix.com

SASKATOON – The sidewalks around the block designated for Station 20 West were filled with a throng of people taking part in the largest demonstration in recent Saskatoon history.Between 2,000 and 2,500 people gathered on the lot at the corner of 20th Street West and Avenue L on Saturday morning to protest the provincial government’s recent decision to take back $8 million in funding for the development, which was to feature dental and medical clinics, public health and nutrition programs, and a co-op grocery store.

Demonstrators started trickling onto the empty lot at 9 a.m., and within the hour, the area was filled with people of all ages.

“It’s not about politics. It’s about the community,” said Sheila Pocha, co-chair of the project’s board of directors.

“I think that’s the real problem. (The government) never met with us, and never saw our financial plan. It’s sustainable, it’s viable, and it makes a lot of sense. The government is telling us to go find an old church, or an old school, or an old Barry Hotel now.”

It seems to me that the real problem now is Premier Brad Wall’s narrow, ideological bent, nothing more, nothing less.

Shame on you, Premier Wall! And shame on former Premier Lorne Calvert and his NDP administration for not providing secure funding for this project when it was first requested!

h/t to Sean in Saskatchewan

Nurses livid! Proposal “most regressive in SUN’s history”!

There’s so much going on in this province right now, most of it quite frightening. I’m going to start with the most recent and work my way back as time permits over the course of the weekend. This media advisory, from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses outlines the attack on nurses in SK. This, at a time when SK is experiencing unprecedented economic growth!

MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Friday, April 4, 2008
SAHO CONTRACT PROPOSALS CONSIDERED
“MOST REGRESSIVE IN SUN’S HISTORY”
<<<Regina>>>The Saskatchewan Union of Nurses says that the province’s regional health authorities have tabled the most regressive contract proposals in SUN’s history, and has predicted that hundreds of nurses will either resign or retire early in response.
The union is calling for the Minister of Health to replace the department officials and regional health authority leadership that is responsible for what SUN President Rosalee Longmoore describes as “a destructive and malicious attack on nurses and safe patient care and a crude attempt to tear up the SUN/Government Partnership.”
Longmoore says, “They are refusing to commit to fill current vacancies, because they are using the vacancies to balance their budgets. Instead, they have submitted proposals that would require nurses to work unlimited overtime. That’s not a retention strategy – that’s a detention strategy that will backfire -nurses cannot work more and more overtime. They have a professional obligation to refuse more overtime if they are too tired to provide safe patient care. They will refuse, or they will just quit.”
SUN says that regional health authorities want to muzzle nurses who report instances where safe patient care is being jeopardized. According to Longmoore, “Nurses went on strike in 1988 and 1999 to get the right to report in writing to supervisors when patient care is jeopardized. Nurses are obligated by legislation and professional standards to protect patient safety – we will never give that up.”
“The Minister of Health is going to have to decide – how long is he going to continue to let his own Ministry officials and regional health authorities try to tear up the SUN/Government Partnership and avoid implementing it? How would the worst contract in SUN’s history help the government achieve its retention and recruitment targets? The retention and recruitment proposals from the Partnership must be binding in the collective agreement, or regional health authorities will continue to defy the Minister,” said Longmoore.
The union has advised Conciliator Doug Forseth that they are adjourning contract talks until after their annual meeting on April 23-25.
-30-
To speak to a SUN representative, please call:
Rosalee Longmoore, SUN President (306) 539-6162 (cell)

Status of Women in SK

Spring has sprung and the regina mom has been busy offline.

Imagine my surprise, when gathered with a few others, I learned that Premier Wall believes that women in Saskatchewan have equality! I’ve been working for women’s equality for more than twenty years now, so I’m totally amazed!  A brief scan of his Cabinet confirms it, however.  There is no Minister Responsible for the Status of Women.

I mean, really, we should have seen it coming, what with his buddy-buddy-ness with PM Harper.  For some reason, however, I believed that Wall really was going to be different.  But in fact he is more like the NDP than ever.  He is more of the same-old, same-old graduate Saskatchewan Old Boys’ Club in which the Saskatchewan NDP’s old boys held memberships.

And that’s terrible news for the women of Saskatchewan, women who will be even further marginalized by uncaring white men with power.

Enterprise SK is Unfair to Women

The Sask Party government has been in power about two months. And SK women are already being shafted.

SK Enterprise and Innovation sent out 300 invitations to SK groups and businesses asking for their nominations for candidates to serve on the board of Enterprise SK. Of those 300, a grand total of two were issued to women’s organizations. Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan, an excellent organization which has helped many SK women to be successful businesspersons, received both of those invitations!

Membership in the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. has grown to over 820 since the organization was founded in 1995. To date, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. has assisted over 27,600 women with information and path finding services; has provided business training sessions for over 13,750 women; has scheduled over 20,550 business advisory appointments; and received over 318,000 unique visits to the website. In addition, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan has lent over $13.4 million from its loan fund to help women start, expand or purchase existing businesses in the province and leveraged an additional $10.3 million in funding.

Not surprisingly, women’s businesses do very well in this province. In fact, women’s businesses do well all over. And it’s because women know how best to organize their lives for success. According to the book, Ladies Who Launch: Embracing Entrepreneurship & Creativity as a Lifestyle, women’s creative and intuitive capacities make them more successful and happy in their own businesses. Women think creatively differently from men. It’s part of the feminine process, according to the authors of Ladies Who Launch.

Ah yes, but we in SK are apparently too backwoods and backwards and sexist to admit that, to celebrate that. Instead, we’re supposed to be happy that women of Saskatchewan will be guaranteed a whopping .67 percent — yes, that’s right less than one percent — of the nominations to the Board of Enterprise SK.

I say, blow it out your ear, Brad! We want more. We deserve more. And it’s up to you, as Premier to all the people in the province  — women are people, too, you know — to honour our capacity and our success.

We have not come very far, good women, if this is how we’re treated by the powers that be. Our contributions to the economy, to the wisdom of enterprise continue to be soundly ignored by the men who are running the province. And this will continue to happen because the patterns already so deeply entrenched will be even more deeply entrenched by the body appointed to advise government on the economic policies for the future.

These policies will impact not only us, but also our daughters and our granddaughters and our families. We have to speak out on this; we have to change the course of history and make it our story, too.

Please add your name to the comments section below. I’ll forward the list to Minister Stewart and Premier Wall. If you have time to do more, please click on the links and send a message to the Minister and the Premier. I know they’ll want to hear from as many as possible on this issue.

And hey, thanks for stopping by!

The Regina Mom

PS:  Boys and men are welcome to sign in, too!