Residents raise concerns over provincial cuts during town hall

By Angela Brown
August 11, 2017 - 10:03am Updated: August 11, 2017 - 10:55am

Reduced mobility for the elderly, loss of jobs, and loss of services, including the loss of the STC.

These were some of the impacts from this year’s  provincial budget cuts that area residents raised during Thursday’s Cuts and Crowns town hall meeting in North Battleford.

About 30 people attended the meeting at Third Avenue United Church – the first of a number of town hall meetings planned for the area to address the impact on the community from the province’s budget cuts this past spring.

JoAnn Jaffe, a spokesperson for Save STC (The Saskatchewan Transportation Company) and a University of Regina professor, said she is hoping people in the Battlefords can help “contribute to a movement to reverse the budget and stop the cuts, and to build a more inclusive province.”

“This province has always at least for the last 100 years depended upon public ownership, Crown corporations, and government enterprises to allow it to function as one entity, rather than every person out for themselves," she said. "People have had a social conscious; they have cared for those who are less fortunate.”

Cindy Hanson, an associate professor at the University of Regina, also with Stop the Cuts and Save STC, had similar concerns.

“This is a good start and for people to learn on their own what Crowns are about and the importance of Crowns for the public good in Saskatchewan,” Hanson said. “It’s also an important place for people to demonstrate their solidarity with each other.”

Rob Feist, a Battlefords lawyer and former NDP provincial candidate in the local riding, who attended, said he hopes people will “organize and move forward" after the meeting.

He said the meeting was a chance for people to learn more about the “attack on our Crown corporations in Saskatchewan.”

Feist mentioned on Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s resignation, while he wishes him well, he said Wall is leaving “a legacy of cuts, of tax increases.”

“Organizations like Stop the Cuts are coming together to say no to the Sask Party’s agenda.”   

During the meeting people said that the budget cuts are hurting the most vulnerable people the most.

Another town hall meeting is planned for the Fall.

The event facilitators said while the meetings will help raise awareness, people have to take action if they hope to affect change to improve the situation.

Shelley Boutin-Gervais, who is also a town of Battleford councillor, attended the meeting and said it’s important to “get people engaged.”


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