I work in the north end but happened to have a couple meetings in the south end this afternoon so was able to swing by the big labour rally that was happening at the Legislative Building over the lunch hour to protest the Sask Party’s fiscal mismanagement and targeting of public service workers.
Here’s a few thoughts…
- For a pretty cold day, it was an amazing turnout. I thought it was hundreds of people but saw estimates saying there were possibly as many as 2000 people attending! (Heck, one Sask Party supporter appears to put his estimate at 6400 people attending the hour long rally! Either that, or he doesn’t know about unpaid lunch breaks/scheduled days off/union leave.)
- Given that it was International Women’s Day, it was also fitting that most of the featured speakers at the rally were women.
- Unfortunately, it was also noted by many of the speakers that it would be women – heavily employed in the public sector in female-dominated professions such as education and health – that would be disproportionately affected by any cuts.
- I had my first chance to catch up with Saskatchewan’s newest MLA, Ryan Meili, and congratulate him on his victory in Saskatoon-Meewasin. Turnout is usually down in byelections and that held true for the NDP whose vote was down by 10%. But extremely alarmingly for the current majority government, the Sask Party was down by forty-four per cent. (No wonder Brad Wall seemed so nervous in his last press conference!) 😉
- The Sask Party is trying to sow dissention by pushing Ryan Meili as a future leader of the NDP and portraying Trent Wotherspoon as a rival. But from what I saw (and heard firsthand from people who would know), there weren’t many people who worked harder to elect Ryan in Saskatoon-Meewasin then Trent Wotherspoon – not the actions of someone who’s trying to hold down a rival in my books.
- A bit disappointed to see the lack of visible presence for Sask Union of Nurses. My understanding is that particular union chooses to present itself as non-partisan for strategic reasons. But when you have a government that is as openly hostile to labour as the current Saskatchewan government, personally, I think a more visible role is called for.
- Speaking of unions, I always get a chuckle that unions, for the most part, promote equality, respect and similar values but all bets are off when there’s a protest – I saw signs calling Brad Wall, Bill Boyd and other Sask Party MLAs criminals, thieves and worse! (But maybe it’s also okay to say these mean things if they’re true?) 😉
- Speaking of, the sign of the day was a giant bed sheet with the words “Trump wants a wall? He can have ours!” printed on it.
- I need better winter boots. I stayed as long as I could handle it but had to leave early as I was feeling like my toes were going to fall off.
- On International Women’s Day, it’s telling that the NDP has 5 of 11 MLAs (45%) who are female while the Sask Party only has 11 of 50 (22%). I’m said before on this blog that I’m not a huge fan of tokenism or promoting candidates just because they’re women. But at the same time, I think women are equal to men (or should be) so in a fair and just world, women should organically end up making up (roughly) half of the positions of power as has happened in the NDP caucus and, well, not so much in the Sask Party caucus.
- Brad Wall is the last Premier in Canada to give up his salary top-up from his party – which makes him a follower, not a leader.
- Also, does anyone think that a politician who’s already making six figures needed a $47,000 top-up of money that’s coming from party donors – including corporations and/or those located outside the province?
- Where’s Waldo? Labour Protest Rally Version…