So, yesterday’s post about “MLA says Saskatchewan has too many libraries. Librarian says Saskatchewan has too many MLAs” has become my most viewed post of all-time.
Within 24 hours, it’s blown away my previous record holder which, ironically, was about a random encounter I had with Brad Wall, soon after he axed the Film Tax Credit. That post took over a week to become my most viewed post of all-time. This one took less than 24 hours.
I think the point I made yesterday that there appears to be a bit of hypocrisy in the Sask Party’s recent budget cuts really resonates with people who feel that cuts aren’t being implemented fairly. Even people who aren’t library users or supporters have to wonder why we need to cut (not just cut but quite likely, as things stand now, *kill*) the province’s public library system but we also needed to add three completely unnecessary MLAs?
Education Minister, Don Morgan is in heavy spin mode today as I don’t think he expected the amount of pushback he’d get from across the province for his full frontal assault on public libraries.
Tonight on the news, he even brought out the fancy graphs to show how Saskatchewan supposedly has too many libraries compared to Alberta and Manitoba.
Of course, this graph is completely misleading and you don’t need to read too many library books to figure out why.
The bulk of Alberta’s population is centred in two places – Edmonton and Calgary. After that, there are EIGHT other cities in Alberta that are larger than Saskatchewan’s third largest city. It’s pretty obvious that when your population is more densely located, you need fewer libraries. Or, to put it another way, Calgary alone has a population that is roughly equal to the entire population of Saskatchewan. Would Minister Morgan suggest that our province could make do with just 20 libraries like Calgary has? Of course not!
The same thing happens in Manitoba where roughly half of their population lives in a single city. No wonder they also need fewer libraries per citizen than the much more sparsely populated and spread out province of Saskatchewan.
But forget all that. The point I made yesterday still stands. If Minister Morgan is going to talk about “services per member of the population”, let’s look at how many people each MLA serves in each prairie province…
Once again, Minister Morgan is being a whole lot misleading and a wee bit hypocritical with his comments today.
If Saskatchewan has too many libraries per capita (which it doesn’t as I explained above), then we also have too many MLAs per capita. But this budget greatly reduced funding to Saskatchewan’s libraries while not touching the number of MLAs – even though the arguments the Sask Party is using against libraries can just as easily be used against MLAs themselves.
Now, I wasn’t happy about it but I was willing to accept a few extra MLAs as it does provide better service for citizens and frees up time for stretched-thin MLAs to handle other responsibilities.
Will Mr. Morgan extend the same courtesy to Saskatchewan’s public libraries, admit his mistake and acknowledge they are necessary too?