Will Mandryk Eat His Privatization Crow?

Has anyone watched Mandryk eat crow about this doozy of a column defending Wall’s last campaign yet?
“On Tuesday, Wall emphatically said “no” to selling SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel, SGI and even STC. He reminded voters he signed the old NDP Crown Corporation Protection Act and noted his only proposed change to that law is on the sale of liquor stores.
Yet there was Broten, becoming the fourth straight NDP leader telling us of their opponent’s hidden agenda to sell off all Crown corporations, including SaskTel, SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SGI, STC, etc.”
“Broten has a smoking gun. Don’t let it get around, but … pssst …. Saskatchewan is running a deficit.
 
“He’s not talking about his plans for privatization, but we know, in his desire to go after quick, one-time money … anything is on the table for him.” Broten said.
 
Well, there you have it. What more proof could anyone possibly need? Wall and the Sask. Party intend to commit political suicide by first being forthright about selling liquor stores, then lying to the voters about selling off everything else.
 
So why does the NDP keep doing this?
There is the sentimentality.”
Ugh. He even mocked the smoking gun(s). Maybe he’s just sentimental about beating up on the NDP when they don’t even deserve it, instead of when they do.
This May, Wall closed STC, and changed the law in order to sell off half of SaskTel, SGI, SaskEnergy, etc. for a quick buck and to destroy public services in the hope that the private sector offers them instead. STC has been shut for weeks now, and Greyhound has expressed an interest in NOT operating buses on profitable bus routes in Saskatchewan. We went from having the best inter-city bus line in Canada, to NO bus service between the province’s largest cities of over a half million people collectively.
Mandryk’s column defending the Premier’s campaign deception, when he should have known better, helped make this possible.
Mar 18, 2016 11:24am
 
Media: ‘Why won’t both parties stop talking privatization?’
3rd party: ‘Change Crowns to public-owned co-operatives.’
Media: *silence* then ‘Why won’t the NDP stop talking about Crowns?’

Wall Built A Saskatchewan You Can’t Easily Leave

Saskatchewan Blogger Tammy Robert wrote about the bad governance of Brad Wall.

So Brad Wall had his Finance Minister write about the character of Tammy Robert.

Meanwhile, Wall’s Government has brought about a very justified human rights complaint by a Cree woman who wants to save the lives of people she hasn’t even met. That’s what the Premier should want to do, but clearly he’s more preoccupied with what’s written about him in Macleans.

3 years ago, a week before I died (temporarily), Regina City Council made illegal the Sask Party’s solution to STC’s closure. You can’t even thumb a ride to get away from Regina if you’re stuck here. WALL: That spells prosperity. Regina has a Wall, and you can’t walk, hop a train, or take a bus to get around it.

 

The Core Of the Problem Is Austerity

In the Saskatchewan Legislature Thursday, Premier Brad Wall says a decision to stop STC bus service and lay-off 250 people did not come easy.

Wall says the decision was difficult but ridership had declined significantly.

“As ridership declines and the costs increase, that per-passenger subsidy is well up over 90-dollars,” said Premier Brad Wall. “Almost 100-dollars per passenger, Mr. Speaker. And at some point you have to ask the question; is that the core function of government? To subsidize to 90-dollars per passenger for the bus company?”

STC’s the very definition of a “sustainable core service“! It costs less than a municipal transit service!

@PremierBradWall March 22, 2017:
#skbudget outlines a 3yr plan to balance: controlled spending, sustainable core services, less reliance on resource rev & keep econ strong.

==

There is presently no replacement bus service as the Minister indicated there would be. People are being stranded daily now, in Saskatoon and Regina even, unable to directly get to the other city without desperately going through Winnipeg, hitchhiking (illegally in Regina) or flying on expensive airline tickets.

Today, and last week, Greyhound’s website indicates “no service available” between Regina and Saskatoon! I’ve been in contact with Greyhound perhaps more than the incompetent Saskatchewan Government, to try and fix this problem.

There are companies other than Greyhound applying to operate in Saskatchewan, but the government has dragged on with deciding, until after the deadline arbitrarily set for STC’s privatization closure and subsequent sell off.

“The province is confident many of the routes that STC covered will be taken over by other privately owned companies.
Minister Responsible Joe Hargrave says they have already received an offer from a major bus company to take over some routes that will be cancelled when STC is done and Saskatchewan is the only province that still operates a bus company like STC.”

The Highway Traffic Board is supposed to be independent but……
“The HTB is, according to its website, a “completely independent body” that consists of members appointed by the Sask. Party government.
Its chair, Bill Missal, is a long-time Saskatchewan Party supporter who has, according to Elections Saskatchewan, donated to the Sask. Party.
He has also worked with Sask. Party MLA and former Highways Minister Don McMorris at election time.”

You might also like:
https://saskboy.wordpress.com/2017/06/05/weak-transportation-week/
https://saskboy.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/transportation-not-meeting-demand/
https://saskboy.wordpress.com/2017/05/31/stc-bus-shut-down-by-callous-saskparty/

Weak Transportation Week

Sent to a Saskatchewan Government employee who announced Saskatchewan Transportation Week immediately after STC bus and parcel services were closed to be sold off much later:

Dear Brandy Leippi:

Reading your press release citing the proclamation of this week as Saskatchewan Transportation Week, I was struck by how contradictory the Government’s messaging is in juxtaposition to reality.
http://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2017/june/01/transportation-week
“this week is about recognizing the thousands of people who make it happen.””
Hundreds were laid off on Thursday at STC.

““Investing in priority areas like transportation infrastructure is a major part of our government’s plan to ensure the economy remains strong,” Marit said.”
Failing to invest in rural and inter-city bus service will have the opposite effect, obviously.

““An efficient transportation network is the key foundation of a strong economy; nothing moves until the roads are built.”
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/highway-near-cumberland-house-called-saskatchewan-s-worst-1.1307838
4 years later:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/highway-123-cumberland-house-sask-1.4132668

“Since 2008, the Government of Saskatchewan has invested $7.4 billion in transportation infrastructure, improving more than 12,000 km of Saskatchewan highways.”
And has in that time also removed transportation options for people who don’t own a private car or cannot or will not drive for a variety of reasons.

If you’d like to turn this very obvious slide around, please help restore STC bus services at the very least until private sector replacements are in place. Investing in public EV charging infrastructure along major highway routes is probably a constructive means to work with Ottawa on improving Saskatchewan’s infrastructure, too.

Thank-you for your time.
Sincerely,
John Klein
Regina, SK

CC my MLA

The Sask Heavy Con comments in the press release were grating too. That association has been fighting the carbon tax with the Premier, instead of finding cost-saving ways to reduce their emissions, or lobby for ‘carrots’ to modernize their equipment as opposed to the carbon tax ‘stick’.

The Saskatchewan Government and SaskParty are really this obtuse.

Transportation Not Meeting Demand

It’s been kind of a bad year for transportation in Saskatchewan. Aside from the potential Supercharger for Swift Current, there haven’t been many tangible bright spots for Saskatchewan.

  • Premier Wall rejects the carbon tax plan to reduce emissions
  • SGI says they’re not considering a rebate on Zero Emission Vehicles, as they once had 5 years ago until Minister McMillian of SGI (now President McMillian of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Procurers) cancelled the rebate. Gee, no bad optics there, right? Just an oil industry lobbyist directly encouraging people to buy trucks over EV or hybrid vehicles.
  • The SaskParty closed and sold off the STC Crown, with no replacement for bus service apparently in mind. As a result, there’s no bus service between Saskatoon and Regina! I emailed a company reported in the news as seeking to offer service, and they replied:

    We have not been approved for scheduled passenger service yet

    Sincerely
    Mitch Blyth
    General Manager
    Carpe Diem Group featuring our new Land Jet mobile office division.
    Regina, Saskatoon & Yorkton Sk.
    []531-9626

  • Cumberland House still doesn’t have sufficient transportation to/from it.
  • Via Rail offered unlimited $150 passes and travel in July to youth under 25, then only to 1867 youth, then several thousand, but stopped before demand was satisfied, and failed to offer the pass for additional months, or add additional train service to meet the obvious demand. Saskatchewan only has Via service to 2 cities, Saskatoon and Melville. Regina, Moose Jaw, and Swift Current are left out even though they are on the Trans-Canada as is Calgary in Alberta.

Considering I was hoping a passenger rail line between Saskatoon and Regina could one day be built, it’s especially appalling that the government has ended bus service between the major cities this year.

So what can one person do? I attended the large rally at STC headquarters in March. I’ve pushed on City Council several times encouraging them to have Regina Transit buy STC resources and operate it on profitable routes as a money maker for the City, while providing a valuable service the province has abdicated itself from.

Greyhound and RCMP Bring #StarlightTours To Manitoba

Do you remember the Starlight Tours? Now you don’t have to be drunk to experience this police mistreatment, only be a First Nations person who is unwell.

A shameful story of racism out of Manitoba today. This is one of the companies the SaskParty is looking toward to offer replacement bus service due to the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) closure and sell-off happening in 2 days!

Spence said he pleaded with the police for help, asking if there was a way to get a ride or find some place to get away from the cold.

“They said there was nothing around here. I said, ‘What should I do?’ They said, ‘Your best bet is to start walking,’” Spence recalls.

Greyhound said in its defence:
“After further investigation, it appears the customer may not have been intoxicated and may have been experiencing a non-alcohol related issue.”

What the hell do they mean by “a non-alcohol related issue.”?

“Spence says at one point he was being followed by a pack of dogs.

“I just kept calm, and kept walking and eventually the dogs left me alone,” he said.”

““They should compensate me. I was scared for my life,” he said.”

This man was thrown off the bus, literally to wild dogs. Greyhound should be giving this man free bus rides for life, for this horrible mistreatment.

Still More Hawaiian Sights

Pearl Harbor

The 3rd day of driving, we headed toward the old Dole Plantation. After climbing a hill on the freeway, the Leaf’s battery was a little depleted especially since we started off at 66% since we couldn’t charge it overnight. We aimed for a free charger at a decidedly not-free health care clinic.

There was a huge solar array covered car-park behind it, and we circled the building only to finally find an EV charger that was either out of service, or not compatible with our EV. After learning from the support number on it that the troubleshooting steps I’d taken weren’t sufficient, we popped over to Tony Nissan to charge up. There were 3 Leafs there already, and only 2 chargers. One soon left after a couple minutes, and another Leaf rolled up with no miles remaining on the guessometer. I let him charge first, and we talked about his vehicle so I could learn more about owning an EV. The CHAdeMO charger at Tony had been broken for some time, and I overheard it wasn’t being repaired for months longer. That seemed totally unacceptable to me, but that’s what Nissan corporate in the USA wanted to do. Tony had shelled out $9000 already once to fix the cord on the charger, but it’d broken in some way again. I think there’s probably a design flaw, and some sort of replacement unit going in their place in the next few months.

We got our time on the charger, and rolled back down the hill and over to the other half of Pearl Ridge Mall that we had skipped the day before. This time we rode the Monorail over to the side with the giant Cook map on the floor, where we’d charged the car after the Tesla vacated the charging spot I waited 40 minutes for. We had to check all of the chargers before finding an available one. Another Leaf, and a BMW i3 were on the upper parkade chargers.

While charging, we had lunch, and shopped around a bit for jewelry and such. I popped out to see how the car was doing, and a young woman was charging her Leaf instead. Curious, I asked what was up, and she had to be across the island for a deadline of some sort, and apologized for interrupting my charging. I said it was okay, and to just plug me back in when she had enough for her destination.

Pearl Harbor

Then we went over to Pearl Harbor as it was closing, parked nearby, took some photos, parked again, took more photos, and got out of the lot just before they locked it up for the night.

Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

We drove past an unfinished freeway hanging over us in the air, and through Honolulu killing time exploring while on our way to return the Leaf to Autoland.
Pearl Harbor

electric tree
An electric Leaf definitely needs an electric tree!

We enjoyed the sunset at the coast in a park, with some cats, newly married couples, and a few homeless people in tents.
cat fed in Kaka'ako park

wedding in park