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

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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.
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To speak to a SUN representative, please call:
Rosalee Longmoore, SUN President (306) 539-6162 (cell)