WANTED! Young musicians: NessGeneration

The Ness Creek Music Festival is one of the most family-friendly events in the province. Located in the boreal forest where the air is still clear and on a site that is spectacular, it is a festival to take in! And, the folks organizing it are providing excellent opportunity for young Saskatchewan musicians, aged 13 to 18, to showcase their musical and/or spoken word abilities.

NessGeneration Poster

NessGeneration Auditions

WANTED! Young musicians to play the youth stage at the Ness Creek Music Festival

Apr 18 Regina (UofR campus, Riddell Centre)

Apr 19 Saskatoon (Cosmo Senior Centre)

Apr 25 La Ronge (Churchill High)

Apr 26 Prince Albert (Union Centre)

Email ness_generation@hotmail.com to sign up. All ages welcome!! Doors open at 7pm – $3 cover

I’m wishing I was more than just a few years younger! Have fun, kids!

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.

Retreating and Updating

The Regina Mom is participating in the Saskatchewan Writers Artists Colony at St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, SK where the temperature has rarely climbed to the minus single digits in the more than two weeks I’ve been here. Nevertheless, it’s been a beautiful and creative, albeit grueling, time for me. Just yesterday, I finished the first draft of a children’s novel that’s been living in me for almost two years. It feels so good to have it outside of me, even though I know that it needs more work before it makes its way to a publisher’s desk.

As I write this, one of Saskatchewan’s finest writers, David Carpenter, sits on the blue sofa next to the one on which I am seated, checking his email. Across the hall in the St. Pete’s boardroom, the award-winning Saskatchewan poet, Brenda Schmidt, works away on her laptop.  And, if I’m not mistaken, the Victoria, B.C. poet, Rhona McAdam, sits across the table from her.  (Check out her link for some great images and tales of our adventures here.)  Ontario poet and essayist, Maureen Scott Harris, just walked by.

It’s such a wonderful community we’ve created here, a colony of writers and artists who gather for a brief time to focus in on their work, to renew friendships and create now, and then to scatter back to their regular lives. It is a community in which I look forward to participating each year.  This year marks the tenth February I’ve spent time at Colony and I know the children’s novel never would have made it out of me without this time.  To all who have been part of it, including the St. Peter’s community, I extend my gratitude.
Still, while I am here the world carries on. Real Renewal, a citizens’ coalition in Regina has organized a petition drive to ask the Regina Public School Board for a moratorium on school closures. They have also provided some interesting statistics about the aboriginal populations in the areas where schools are targeted for closures.

The provincial government in Saskatchewan continues to attack organized Labour in the province by removing all Labour representatives from Crown Boards. Let’s watch what happens to our Crowns without the voice of Labour to speak for them.

The most destructive project on Earth, the tar sands development in northern Alberta and Saskatchewan, carries on with support from the federal government.

The nuclear industry carries on with its “renaissance” which, if it succeeds, will kill more life on planet Earth.

Carpenter has taken his leave from the blue sofa and now the emerging poet and fiction writer, Shelley Banks, a Sage Hill Writing Experience alumnus and a Masters student in the Creative Writing program at the University of British Columbia has replaced him. It signals that I’ve been here a while and had best get back to my creative work.

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!