Librarian Says “Too Many MLAs” The Sequel! #skpoli #saveSKLibraries #yqr #yxe

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?

Comments 4

  1. Daryl Wright wrote:

    Hey! Great post. I thought I would comment on one part of what you said that resonates with me quite a bit. then I’ll explain Why.

    The bulk of Alberta’s population is centered 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.

    The per capita visitor does not allow the complexity required to truly understand the issue. Its not a difficult problem, but yes it’s complex. While I am very “right wing” in my politics nothing is worse than an argument based on simple graphs. Yes they touch emotion, politically they can win with the public because you “get it” in under 1 minute.

    In Lloydminster the same argument was made that we had too many liqour stores. “More than red deer per capita” is what they told us. Which should have been reported as Lloydminster’s boutique liqour stores have the same m2/capita of the economic region as any other place. Because they probably on average drink about the same as everyone else.

    Thank you for pointing out simple graphs and recognizing they are little more than a a political tool used by any party to say we the voter are simple, we don’t understand complex issues and we vote with emotion. I surely hope that we can prove them wrong .

    Posted 30 Mar 2017 at 8:36 am
  2. HeadTale wrote:

    Thanks for your comment. Although my political leanings are very obvious to anyone reading this blog, I don’t see this as a left-right issue. Libraries pride themselves on being neutral and non-partisan sources of information for all people. When I worked at Southeast Regional Library, I took particular pride in ordering books that I *didn’t* agree with personally – Bill O’Reilly or books denying climate change or whatever.

    I hope many Sask Party voters in Saskatchewan speak up in defense of libraries – libraries are for everyone!

    Posted 30 Mar 2017 at 10:57 am
  3. Inez Anderson wrote:

    I think Mr. Morgan was shocked at the backlash and he is far less assured as he now tries to cover up just how badly he misjudged public reaction.
    Too many libraries for our population??? Everyone knows that Saskatchewan has more miles of roads to be maintained that the other provinces. What is the purpose of these roads? To join towns? Oh, do people live in these towns? I wonder if people who read live in these towns? I wonder if these people expect to receive services in return for their taxes, maybe even to have access to books? Hmmm.

    Posted 30 Mar 2017 at 10:34 am
  4. HeadTale wrote:

    That’s another wonderful analogy. Does Mr. Morgan think that Saskatchewan only needs highways between the major centres and roadways between smaller communities should be abandoned? Of course not. Now we just have to convince him that libraries are as important as highways in terms of economic infrastructure! 😉

    Posted 30 Mar 2017 at 10:59 am

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  1. From Head Tale - Saturday Snap – Today’s Story at the Library #skpoli #SaveSKLibraries @premierbradwall @saskmla @dochertymark on 01 Apr 2017 at 10:50 pm

    […] want to tell them that almost every statistic they’ve cited to justify their cuts is flawed. That combining public and school libraries isn’t a solution.  That they’d know this […]

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