Letter to MLA regarding STC Closure/Privatization

Dear Mrs. Beaudry-Mellor:

I’m dismayed by your government’s cut of all rural SK bus service. This is a horrible decision that isolates people in small towns and cities, and harms people who cannot drive including people who are blind, or unable or unwilling to operate a private motor vehicle. It will increase the cost of healthcare delivery. Package delivery to rural Saskatchewan is also harmed. Charter buses will be harder to obtain in our province now too.

Rather than cut an essential public transportation service that will literally never be offered by the private sector or even a co-operative (because it will never make money), the PST could have been raised to 6.5%. This would pay to improve public transportation across the province. Did you realize that your government gives close to $0/year to regular public transportation, which makes it a Canadian anomaly. In an increasingly urbanizing province, might it be a good idea to ensure people don’t sit in traffic jams daily? One could assume that the SaskParty doesn’t care about public transportation, people without cars in rural Saskatchewan, or building solutions to reduce air pollution.

I hope you can work to reverse this short-sighted cut, because I fear that once the service is privatized, another responsible government will not take the time to build a crown service that is required for prosperity in rural Saskatchewan.

Sincerely,

John Klein

Regina

P.S. The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is no doubt overjoyed by this privatization. I asked them in 2015 for an example of a private bus service that would serve as the model for one in Saskatchewan to use if we lost STC. They suggested one in Hong Kong. Seriously. Saskatchewan is so much like Hong Kong apparently. I guess if you don’t reverse the cut, the SaskParty could bring in consultants from Hong Kong to help. If they cost less than $12Mil to consult, you’d still save money.

UPDATE: Instead of the “human conversation” promised in her Facebook ads, I got a form letter response that didn’t address my points or ideas.

Hello John

Thank you for sharing your concerns about the provincial budget.

As you know, Saskatchewan is faced with a difficult challenge due to resource revenue being down over $1 billion for three years, tax revenue down due to resource sector slowdown (corporate tax), and a growing population adding pressure to vital services. Our plan includes controlling and reducing spending, modernizing and expanding the tax system, investing in priority areas, and returning to balance over three years.

Meeting the challenge requires very difficult choices, not the least of which is winding down STC. Despite the company’s best efforts, ridership continues to drop

and costs continue to soar, the per passenger subsidy ballooning from $25 per passenger to $94 in the last decade alone. The growing burden is not sustainable and the government made the decision that the funding would be best used on core priorities.

{Why is public transportation not a “core priority” for the SaskParty?}

Knowing your concerns is helpful as we move forward. I take feedback from constituents seriously and truly appreciate you taking the time to write.

Sincerely,

Tina

Sent on behalf of

The Honourable Tina Beaudry-Mellor, MLA
196 Massey Road, Regina, SK   S4S 4N5
T: []
E: []

I’ve included corrections and facts that supplement Tina’s letter.

STC Bus Service Couldn’t Survive the SaskParty

This news makes me so mad and disappointed. The future of Saskatchewan got a little more bleak today.

“What are the core services that people expect from government – and it is not necessarily a bus company,” Finance Minister Kevin Doherty said Wednesday.

“As for the short window of time before service ends, the province said new buses were on order and they would have to pay for them.

One of the worst parts of this is that the effing CTF finally gets their way. Now there’s no feasible means to exist in a small town without a car. If you’re blind, or can’t drive, you’re screwed. It’s a heartless cut that hurts seniors, environmentalists, people with disabilities who cannot drive, and makes life less likely to thrive in small town Saskatchewan.

ADDED:

“You guys don’t know what you’re doing to small communities. Think about the little people.”

One Nigerian immigrant doesn’t know how she’ll bring her daughter into Saskatoon for medical appointments. An elderly Saskatoon woman said she won’t be able to travel anymore to the Manitou Springs Resort and Mineral Spa near Watrous. Another man lamented the loss of parcel service as he headed to pick up some car parts ordered from Prince Albert.

My life is shutting down

It’s the sort of problem that cannot be solved without government support. If people could form a co-operative and offer replacement service, they would, but they simply wouldn’t make enough money to offer this vital link between communities. It cannot be overstated what a body blow this is to rural Saskatchewan, and that even includes cities like Weyburn, Humboldt, and Yorkton.

Sustainable Fossil Fuel Myths

I think the Fossil Fuel industry isn’t going to manage to sustain their myths. They say things that a kid with a 5th grade education should figure out are not true.

Burning natural gas is not sustainable. It’s a fossil fuel. It will run out, and it produces waste gas that contributes to climate change. Yet their project engineer Keith says it produces, “sustainable electricity that is reliable and also good for the environment.”

I looked this place up, and it looks like it would be a terrifically efficient natural gas power plant. Unfortunately it still isn’t sustainable, and does not produce renewable energy. I flew over the site west of Edmonton in February and looked it up to figure out if it was coal or natural gas they were burning. It’s not really clear to me what’s causing that smoke.

Alberta natural gas power Sundance 7

Saskatchewan is familiar with Premier Wall pushing the incorrect idea that burning fossil fuels is “sustainable”.

Up Is Down, Left Is Right, Idiots in Government

These are examples of why the US and Canada cannot have nice things. We’ve idiots in government. Who put them there? Was it voters, or people with even more direct influence like Donald Trump and Stephen Harper?

EPA Pruitt is touting a long discredited idea pushed by Heartland Inst. and so-called “Friends of Sci.”.

Can’t blame Premier Wall on Harper or Trump, unfortunately. He’s all your doing, SaskParty voters.

It’s Not Been A Great Week

Trudeau’s Broken Reform Promise

At the Parliamentary Committee I spoke at, I told Nathan Cullen I was disappointed he wasn’t running for the NDP leadership.

Global really holds the Liberals feet to the fire in this report.

“Trudeau says consultations have made it clear that Canadians are not interested in a new electoral system.”

Here’s that video, with me and others commenting. Minister Goodale wasn’t available for comment, apparently.

Wall Gets Support From Postmedia & CBC For “Doing Right Thing”

You’ve evidence that Wall is trying to now do the right thing, and not cynically trying to get out in front of an issue to which public opinion has turned against his view of only a year ago?
Wall pays enough hacks that he doesn’t need free moral support from Postmedia too.
Did you catch when CBC posted Wall’s hack Paul as one of his average citizen supporters, on their story defending the Premier’s “inconsistencies”? At least Paul does his job so well that he sees success like that. How can you not be happy for him?
Wall  sent a letter to Trudeau in November 2015 complaining that the threat of a single terrorist being among the refugees was grounds enough to slow down the process of Syria refugees. Wall — likely playing to his base at the time — was dead wrong to do so…

THAT’S the story, Mandryk, not a nice little set up to take a shot at the SFL (also a hobby of the Premier’s). Wall was “dead wrong” to serve as the poster child of Islamophobia in Canada by suggesting Syrian refugees posed a security risk. Has he sincerely changed his view? Let’s wait a year and see if he can maintain the new image he’s attempting to cultivate. Praising him now is jumping the gun.

Some newspaper guy said this a year ago:

“But if Wall is being serious about this critical issue (as Trudeau also now needs to be) doesn’t it also make sense not to play into ISIS’s hands by refusing or limiting sanctuary for those refugees from Syria fleeing these barbarians? …

But it was unhelpful to anyone other than Wall’s conservative base to give credence to the notion that it’s now OK to abandon desperate Syrian refugees because a terrorist hiding among them might slip through the screening cracks.

However, it seems very helpful to ISIS to have some western leaders suggesting that desperate Syrian refugees are just terrorists-in-waiting.”

If we get in line to slap the Premier on the back this week, will we just be back to smacking him upside the head for being “helpful to ISIS”, by next year?

“we all need to condemn those living in a perpetual state of outrage, rather than the politicians trying to do the right thing.”
This is a joke, coming from a political columnist, right? Or, does anyone really want to condemn me for consistently advocating for progress and peace in our society, city, province, and country.