Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on October 6, 2016

Rather than giving peace a chance, Canada is engaging in a military first foreign policy.

  • Since 2003, Canada has been endlessly at war: Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, Iraq-Syria—Canada has been or is there making war.
  • Today, Canada is directy involved in two international wars—Iraq-Syria and Ukraine.
  • In July, the Canadian government committed to sending troops to Latvia as part of a new NATO force to deter “Russian aggression.”
  • In August, Canada voted against a UN plan to ban nuclear weapons.
  • Canada continues to expand its role as an arms dealer, selling weapons all over the world, including to Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the United States.
  • Now, the Canadian government is considering joining the US Ballistic Missile Defence system.

“All we are saying, is give peace a chance.”—John Lennon



  • On September 9, the US and Russia brokered a partial ceasefire in the multi-sided civil war in Syria.
  • On September 17, the US, which wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad out at all cost, led air strikes on a Syrian government air base killing more than 60 Syrian government soldiers.
  • On September 22, Russia, Assad’s main ally, along with the Syrian air force, began dropping bombs on Aleppo, a main rebel stronghold in the civil war.
  • Russia and the US are blaming each other for the collapse of the ceasefire.
  • In the meantime, the suffering of the people of Aleppo is horrendous. 


  1. The war in Syria is in its 5th year, creating the greatest humanitarian crisis of our time. 
  2. Over 400,000 Syrians have been killed in the war.   
  3. 8 million Syrians have become refugees, the majority of them in neighbouring countries. 
  4. 5 million Syrians are internally displaced. 
  5. 80% of Syrians within Syria live in poverty. 70% are without access to adequate drinking water.   


  • All of the major parties involved in the Syrian conflict must be brought to the peace table: the US, Russia, the Assad government, rebel factions, Daesh (ISIS), the Kurds.
  • We must all speak out against military interventions and help mobilize public opinion to lobby international decision-makers to work on diplomatic peacemaking.

War is not a natural calamity like a tempest or an earthquake; war is man-made and man can prevent it.”—James Endicott


Canada is the world’s second largest exporter of arms to the Middle East and the 6th largest military exporter in the world.

Who benefits from war? Arms dealers. War is big business. Who loses? Ordinary citizens everywhere.

“War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicous….It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.”—Major General Smedley Butler


The US Missile Defence system (BMD) is an anti-missile system that has been in development since the 1990s. Its stated goal is to defend against nuclear attack by “rogue” states.

It is currently located in a number of countries, including the US, the UK, Denmark, Greenland, and Romania. The US would like this system to be everywhere.

In 2005, the Liberal government of Paul Martin said “no” to joining BMD. The following were some of the reasons:

  • The viability of the program is unproven.
  • It would cost Canadian taxpayers billions of dollars.
  • The name “missile defence” is a misnomer, as the system is, in effect, a weapons development program and would lead to a new arms race.
  • It would not contribute to world peace or security.

These reasons still stand. The Liberal government of Justin Trudeau should also say “no” to joining BMD and start saying “yes” to working for peace. 

“The deployment of BMD will not bring us one step closer to collective security and peace agreements no matter how much money is spent on it.”—Ed Lehman



  • Google “Development and Peace Syria petition”
  • Google “Avaaz Protect Syrian Civilians Now”
  • Google “Avaaz Protect Aleppo’s Children Now”


  1. LET PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU KNOW you want Canada to stop making war in Syria and to start making diplomatic peace-making a top priority: or 613-995-0253.



A public discussion of why Canada should NOT join the US ballistic missile defence system, this event will feature three panelists: David Gehl (Regina Peace Council), Dr. Stephen Moore (Making Peace Vigil & Campion College English Department), and Dr. Bill Stahl (PeaceQuest Regina & Professor Emeritus of Luther College, University of Regina, Sociology Department).

A part of Keep Space for Peace Week—October 1 – 8—an international week of protest to stop the militarization of space, the event calls on us all to work for peace. Everyone is welcome.

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Posted by strattof on October 6, 2016

TransCanada Pipelines wants to ship tar sands oil from Alberta to New Brunswick. Energy East, its proposed pipeline, cuts right through Regina in the Harbour Landing area. 

The metal structure in the above photograph marks the pipeline, which comes into Harbour Landing from the west and then turns south at the drainage ditch. It shows how close the pipeline is to people’s homes in Harbour Landing. The houses on James Hill Road, which runs about 25 metres behind from where the photo was taken, are even closer.


  1. TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline will be 4,400 km long—the longest pipeline ever built in North America.
  2. It will carry 1.1 million barrels a day of Alberta and Saskatchewan crude, mostly diluted bitumen, to a new deep sea port near St John New Brunswick.
  3. To save money, TransCanada plans to convert 3,000 km of an already existing natural gas pipeline, originally built in the 1970s, for the Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba portions of the pipeline.
  4. The pipeline will cross 80 watersheds and cross or run near more than 3,000 waterways, putting the drinking water of over five million people at risk along its route.
  5. When the oil reaches New Brunswick, it will be loaded on to tankers and exported, mainly to Asia. 


TransCanada claims its pipelines are safe. Its safety record tells a different story. In its initial year of operation, TransCanada’s first Keystone pipeline, constructed in 2010, had 12 spills, including one that dumped 79,493 litres of oil in North Dakota.

The Energy East pipeline plan is extra risky. The converted portion of the pipeline was constructed to carry natural gas, not tar sands oil which is much thicker and more acidic and corrosive and must be pumped at a higher pressure.

Should Energy East be approved, the question is not if, but when there will be pipeline leaks and spills.

This could happen in Regina

  • On March 29 2013, the citizens of Mayflower Arkansas woke to find their streets flooded with tar sands oil. An old Exxon pipeline had ruptured, spilling more than 1 million litres of tar sands oil in community neighbourhoods and waterways.
  • On July 20 2016, a Huskie Energy pipeline spilled 250,000 litres of tar sands oil into the North Saskatchewan River, contaminating the drinking water of three cities, North Battleford, Prince Albert, and Melfort.
  • Since 2006, over 8,000 oil pipeline spills have occurred in Saskatchewan.


The Energy East pipeline would expand Canadian tar sands production.

  • Tar sands production poisons the water, air, land, and people in surrounding First Nations communities.
  • Tar sands development is also the single biggest contributor to the growth of carbon emissions in Canada, thus driving dangerous climate change.
  • 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history.
  • Climate scientists warn that, if we are to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must leave at least 80% of tar sands oil in the ground.


  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau supports Energy East.
  • Premier Brad Wall supports Energy East.
  • Regina Mayor Michael Fougere supports Energy East.


  • Toronto City Council passed a resolution against the transport of tar sands oil through the city by rail or pipeline.
  • The Mayor of Montreal and the Montreal Metropolitan Community oppose Energy East.


Indigenous people have taken the lead in opposing pipelines. The original caretakers of this land, they are determined to protect it, and the entire planet, from environmental destruction.

Last week, 85 First Nations from Canada and the US signed a continent-wide accord against tar sands expansion, committing to a unified struggle against the construction of pipelines in their territories.



  • Tell Prime Minister Trudeau you don’t want Energy East running through your community or province: or 613-995-0253.
  • Send the same message to Premier Brad Wall: or 306-787-9433.
  • Tell Mayor Michael Fougere you want Regina to ban the transport of tar sands oil through the city by rail or pipeline: or 306-777-7339.
  • Make Energy East an issue in the municipal election. Ask candidates for mayor and city council where they stand on it.

Sign the Council of Canadians’ petition asking the Government of Canada to deny approval to the Energy East pipeline:

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Posted by strattof on September 23, 2016

  1. Do you think Regina needs an anti-racism campaign?

Regina is in denial. Many of us, including a number of our prominent officials, believe Regina is not a racist city. How then do we account for the following?

THE FREQUENT OCCURRENCE OF INDIVIDUAL ACTS OF RACISM—for example, racist abuse shouted out a car window.

INSTITUTIONAL RACISM—that is racist policies and practices that are embedded in institutions and work to maintain conditions of inequality. For example:

  • Segregation: Regina is an extremely segregated city, with its primarily Indigenous North Central neighbourhood, “Canada’s worst neighbourhood,” according to Maclean’s, cut off from the city’s more affluent areas.
  • Inadequate Housing: 37% of First Nations households in Regina live in inadequate or overcrowded housing.
  • Child Poverty: Regina has an Indigenous child poverty rate of 41%, the 2nd highest in Canada.
  • Unemployment: The unemployment rate for First Nations in Regina is more than three times that of the general population.
  • Police Surveillance: Excessive police surveillance is the norm in North Central. Racial profiling is a city-wide practice.
  • Lack of Representation: Regina has no Indigenous City Coucillors. Yet Indigenous people make up about 10% of Regina’s population.
  1. How would you address Regina’s affordable rental housing crisis?

The good news is that Regina’s rental vacancy rate has improved, rising from 1.8% in 2013 to 5.3% in 2015. The bad news is that rents too have increased—by 84% between 2005 and 2015.

As a result:

  • Regina has a growing population of homeless people.
  • Many Regina residents have to choose between paying the rent and buying food.

While City Council cannot solve all of Regina’s housing problems, there are things it can do. For example:

  • Require developers to include affordable rental housing in their plans or pay a fee into an affordable housing account.
  • Identify empty buildings that can be converted into affordable housing and, with the help of the business community, NGOs, and volunteer citizens, convert them into affordable rental housing.
  • Develop a program to build 100 new units of affordable rental housing a year, with matching funding from the province.
  • If City Council can spend $73 million of Regina property taxes on a new stadium, it can spend $73 million on affordable housing. 
  1. If elected, what will you do to make Regina Police Service more democratically accountable?

The Board of Police Commissioners is supposed to scrutinize the conduct of Regina Police Service (RPS). In fact, it functions mainly as a police cheerleading squad.

The Board has five members, three of whom are City Councillors, including the Mayor who chairs the board.

The current chair’s standard response to any criticism of the RPS is to say it is “the best police service in Canada.” Much of the public portion of each and every board meeting is dedicated to accepting hundreds of “letters of appreciation”—notes of praise from Regina citizens. Criticism is not permitted.

What is needed is a robust level of civilian oversight.

  1. Do you think Regina should adopt a living wage?

In May, City Council voted to delay until 2017 any decision on a motion that the city adopt a living wage policy for city employees. In the words of Mayor Michael Fougere, such a policy is “premature.”

A living wage is the amount two working parents, with two children, each need to earn to meet the family’s basic needs and ensure it does not slip into poverty. Regina’s living wage is calculated to be $16.46 per hour.

By contrast, Saskatchewan’s minimum wage—10.72 per hour as of October 1—is a poverty level wage.

Many US cities and some Canadian cities, including Port Coquitlam and New Westminster, have adopted a living wage.

Regina should follow suit. After all, our city pays 700 city employees in senior positions $100,000 or more! (Mayor Fougere is a member of this six-figure salary club.) The living wage should also be extended to cover employees of firms contracting with the city and then to all workers in Regina and the province.

  1. Where do you stand on TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline?

The Energy East pipeline will cut right through Regina in the Harbour Landing area. It will carry 1.1 million barrels of tar sands oil a day.

  • TransCanada has a poor safety record. A spill would have a devastating impact on our city.
  • The pipeline will expand Canadian tar sands production, thus driving dangerous climate change.
  • 2016 is set to be the hottest year ever recorded.

Toronto City Council passed a resolution banning the transport of tar sands oil through the city by rail or pipeline. Mayors from the entire Montreal metropolitan area have spoken out against the Energy East pipeline project.

Regina needs to follow these good examples.

  1. Do you support Regina’s adoption of the Blue Dot Movement’s Declaration of Citizens’ Right to a Healthy Environment?

The Blue Dot refers to planet earth as seen from outer space. The Movement is an initiative of the David Suzuki Foundation.

When the Blue Dot motion calling on the City of Regina to respect citizens’ right to a healthy environment came before Regina City Council in January, Council voted to postpone making a decision.

What kind of City Council does not want its city’s citizens to have a healthy environment? 125 other Canadian municipal governments have already passed the Blue Dot resolution.

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Posted by strattof on September 16, 2016

Wednesday September 21 is the day declared by the United Nations as International Day of Peace, also known as World Peace Day. Established in 1981, it is a day devoted to “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people.”

This year, World Peace Day has a special meaning for Canadians:

  • Canada is directly involved in two international wars: Iraq-Syria and Ukraine.
  • Canada is sending troops to Latvia as part of a new NATO force.
  • Canada sells weapons to many countries, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, and the US.
  • Last month, Canada voted against a UN plan to ban nuclear weapons.


P   E   A   C   E 


What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or under the holy name of liberty or democracy?Mahatma Gandhi 

It is my conviction that killing under the cloak of war is nothing but an act of murder.–Albert Einstein 

Politicians who took us to war should have been given the guns and told to settle their differences themselves instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder.–Harry Patch, Britian’s last surviving World War I veteran 

Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.–Martin Luther King 

All we are saying is give peace a chance.–John Lennon 

You can bomb the world to pieces but you can’t bomb the world to peace.–Michael Franti 

J   U   S   T   I   C   E

Our motto should be: let us make peace so that we can concentrate on the really important work that needs to be done. That is, alleviating the plight of the poor and the defenceless, for as long as most of humanity feels the pain of poverty we all remain prisoners.–Nelson Mandela 

If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire.–George Monbiot

W E   A R E   T H E   9 9 %–Occupy Movement

Let us all eat cake!–Making Peace Vigil

He who sleeps on a full stomach whilst his neighbour goes hungry is not one of us.–The Prophet Muhammad 

Feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty. Clothe the naked. House the homeless.–from the Christian corporal works of mercy 

Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.–Dr. Seuss 

Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day I can hear her breathing.–Arundhati Roy



You are invited to the raising of the peace flag in front of City Hall, Tuesday September 20, 10 am. The ceremony will include a peace prayer and a peace song. EVERYONE IS WELCOME.


Mayors for Peace is an initiative of the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It works for the abolition of nuclear weapons. As of September 1 2016, 7,132 cities had joined the movement, including 105 cities in Canada.

Regina’s Mayor was invited to join in April. Four months later, he still has the proposal “under consideration.”


Attend a public discussion of “Keep Space for Peace”—or Why Canada should not join the US ballistic missile defence system: Saturday October 8, 2 pm, University of Regina, Research and Innovation Centre, Room 208.

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Posted by strattof on September 14, 2016

Robin Hood is known for robbing the rich to give to the poor. The Saskatchewan government is Robin Hood in reverse. It robs the poor to give to the rich.

Earlier this month, the Sask Party government announced cuts to Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disabilities (SAID), “an income support program for people with significant and enduring disabilities.” 2,700 people will see their already-meagre incomes reduced even further.

When the cuts come into effect, a single person on the SAID program living in Regina will receive $1,064 as a general living allowance and up to $262 as a rental supplement, making a maximum total of $1,326. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $918.

Rather than cutting SAID, the Sask Party government could have raised taxes on the wealthier classes.



The claims made by the now former Minister of Social Services, Donna Harpauer, in defence of the SAID cuts are worthy of the main villain of the Robin Hood legend, the Sheriff of Nottingham, a mean-minded schemer and representative of the power elite.


These are the key terms used by Harpauer, by which she meant decreasing SAID benefits so they match those of programs with inferior benefits.

  • Rather than a race to the bottom, why not increase the benefits of all those on income support programs?
  • In the name of equity and fairness, why doesn’t Donna Harpauer try living on $1,326 a month?


This has been another of Harpaurer’s frequent claims: that the cuts will “eliminate duplication.” Is “duplication” the right word when SAID recipients (people with disabilities) have only $1,326 a month to live on? “Meanness” seems more accurate.


Harpauer was at least accurate in her claim that rental units are more available now than they were several years ago. What she didn’t say is that rents in Saskatchewan have doubled since 2006 and are still increasing. The average monthly rent for even a bachelor suite in Regina is $706.

The Sask Party’s solution to the province’s growing homelessness problem is to buy homeless people a one-way bus ticket to Vancouver. What we really need are more affordable (social) rental housing units!


Harpauer must have gotten desperate! Her ultimate defence of the SAID cuts was that they were recommended by the Advisory Group on Poverty Reduction.

Read the Advisory Group’s report and see for yourself that Harpauer’s claim is UTTER NONSENSE!



SAID is not the only social and/or income support program being cut by the Sask Party government. For example:


This program supplements the income of low income families with children, thus helping the working poor.


Low-income seniors now have to pay $25 for every prescription over $25, an increase of $5 per prescription. This is the Sask Party government’s second increase to the cost of prescriptions. When the plan was first introduced, the cost was $15 per prescription.


This program which helps Indigenous people navigate the colonial (in)justice system, has been cut by a third of its funding.


On October 1, the minimum wage in Saskatchewan will be raised from $10.50 to $10.72 per hour. This measly 22 cent increase won’t do much to help low-income earners’ frail standard of living. In the name of equity and fairness, Saskatchewan MLAs should try to live on the minimum wage.


  1. Raise taxes on the rich.
  2. Increase income support payments so that everyone in the province has an income above the poverty line.
  3. Adopt a Living Wage policy. A living wage is the amount two working parents, with two children, each needs to earn in order to meet the family’s basic requirements and ensure it does not slip into poverty. Regina’s living wage is $16.46 an hour.
  4. Expand quality affordable housing.
  5. Implement a Saskatchewan Anti-Poverty Act which recognizes in enforceable legislation the right of everyone to an adequate income, adequate housing, and fair wages for a decent living.


  • Sign the STOP CUTS TO SAID petition. We have copies with us.
  • Ask former Minister of Social Services Donna Harpaurer to try living on $1,326 a month in the name of equity and fairness: or 306-787-3661.
  • Present Premier Brad Wall with the same challenge. Also let him know you want him to be more like Robin Hood: or 306-787-9433.
  • Ask the newly appointed Minister of Social Services, Tina Beaudry-Mellor, to cancel the cuts to SAID and to increase support payments so that everyone in the province has an income above the poverty line: or 306-787-7550.
  • Send the following statement to your MLA: “I challenge all elected members of the Legislature to vote to cut their own salaries in order to sufficiently fund the level of maintenance promised to persons with disabilities.”

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Posted by strattof on September 8, 2016

Many Canadians consider peacekeeping part of Canadian identity. This association of Canada with peacekeeping began in the 1950s when Lester B. Pearson, who later became Prime Minister, suggested to the UN that it establish a peacekeeping force. In 1957, Pearson won the Nobel Peace Prize for proposing the idea.

Over the next 40 years, Canada participated in more UN peace-keeping missions than any other country. In the early 2000s, however, Canada began to direct its participation to US- and NATO-led missions, as, for example, in Afghanistan and Libya.

Now, the Trudeau government wants to “renew Canada’s commitment to peacekeeping operations.” In August, the Trudeau government announced it would commit 600 troops, 150 police, and $450 million for “peace and stabilization operations.” Also in August, the Trudeau government sent Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan on a fact-finding mission to Africa to identify the government’s priorities for peacekeeping missions.

Given this reengagement with peacekeeping, now might be a good time to consider questions such as the following:

  • What exactly is “UN peacekeeping”?
  • How is it related to peacemaking?
  • What is its relationship to war-making?


The concept of peacemaking, even going back to the 1950s, when Lester Pearson first proposed the idea, has been problematic. It seems to be a clear instance of Orwellian doublethink: “War is peace.”

  • UN peacekeeping is carried out by military personnel—that is soldiers who have been trained to kill.
  • These soldiers have at their disposal all kinds of military hardware, including machine guns and armoured vehicles.
  • The UN peacekeeping principle of “Non-use of force except in self-defence and defence of the mandate” leaves plenty of room for the use of force.

In Orwell’s 1984, doublethink—the act of “holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously and accepting both of them” as correct—is a tool used by the ruling elite to control the minds of citizens. Even though Oceania is endlessly at war, citizens believe their country is working for peace.


Canada has been endlessly at war since 2001: Afghanistan, Libya, Ukraine, Iraq, Syria. While the Trudeau government sounds less belligerent than its predecessor, it is, sadly, making as much, if not more war. For example:

  • The Trudeau government extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria for another 12 months and tripled the number of troops on the ground.
  • It has committed to sending troops to Latvia as part of a new NATO force to deter “Russian aggression.”
  • It approved a $15 billion deal to sell combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia.
  • It recently voted against a UN plan to ban nuclear weapons.


  • War is big business. It is very profitable for Canadian arms manufacturers, making them $12.6 billion in annual revenues, approximately 50% of which comes from international sales.
  • Who loses? Ordinary citizens everywhere. 


Peacemaking means working to prevent or to stop war through non-violent means. It also means working to make war obsolete. It requires what the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace calls “a transformation of values…from violence and warfighting to nonviolence and peace.”

What would a peacemaking Canada look like? A peacemaking Canada would:

  • Make the diplomatic resolution of conflicts its top international priority—rather than rushing off to war under US- or NATO-led missions or in UN military interventions, otherwise known as “peacekeeping missions.”
  • Stop supporting the manufacture and export of weapons—such as the combat vehicles sold to Saudi Arabia.
  • Get out of NATO—a US-led, aggressive military alliance, that perpetuates violence across the globe.
  • Work for the elimination of nuclear weapons—weapons whose existence make nuclear war all too likely.
  • Replace the Ministry of Defence with a Ministry of Peace—a ministry that would specialize in preventative diplomacy, non-violent conflict resolution, and peace research.



  • Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you want Canada to become a peacemaker:: or 613-995-0253.
  • Send the same message to Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan: or 613-995-7052.


Mayors for Peace is an initiative of the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It works for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

As of Seotenber 1 2016, 7,132 cities had joined the movement, including 105 cities in Canada.

Regina’s Mayor was invited to join in April. Four months later, he still has the proposal “under consideration.”


Enter the Peace Symbol Contest: Create a peace symbol on any surface: for example, a sidewalk using chalk; your garden using flowers or rocks; a cake using icing. Take a photo of your peace symbol and email it to  You will, in return, receive a peace gift and become eligible to win a major peace prize.  Enter soon. The deadline is midnight September 21.


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Posted by strattof on September 1, 2016

Labour Day is an annual holiday to recognize the economic and social achievements of workers. In Canada, it traces its origins to December 1872 when a parade was staged in support of the Toronto Typographical Union’s strike for a 58-hour work-week. Since 1894, it has been celebrated on the first Monday in September.

Today, Canadians tend to treat Labour Day as the last holiday weekend of summer. But whether we are barbequing on the patio or cheering on the Riders in the Labour Day Classic, we can take a moment to acknowledge the many accomplishments of Saskatchewan workers.

We might also spare a thought for the many challenges faced by today’s workers: lack of respect for workers’ rights; growing unemployment; dangerous workplaces; and an inadequate minimum wage.


In January of 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that the Saskatchewan government’s Essential Services Act was unconstitutional. The law as written took away the right to strike from many workers, and thus weakened their ability to bargain freely with their employers. In consultation with groups representing the labour movement, the government was forced to re-write its bill to conform with the Supreme Court decision.

Just this week, groups representing the affected workers appeared in court in Regina to argue for damages arising from the government’s original decision not to respect workers’ rights.

The problems are not limited to Saskatchewan’s workers. Ontario employs the largest number of temporary agricultural workers in Canada under a 50-year-old program called the Seasonal Agricultural Workers program (as well as the Temporary Foreign Workers program). Under this program, workers are bound to a single employer, cannot bargain freely, have ineffective means for addressing workplace safety issues, and cannot expect their employers to bargain with them in good faith. They have no prospect of gaining permanent-resident status.

As a result, these are among the most vulnerable workers in Canada. A review of the conditions of these workers is promised for the fall, but the pressure must be put on the federal government to see their rights are respected.


In 2015, 32 Saskatchewan workers were killed on the job or due to workplace injuries or illnesses. Many more became ill or injured.

Just this month in our province, there have been three workplace deaths of young people in their 20s:

  • A 21-year-old construction worker died of injuries at the site of the Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon.
  • A 27-year-old mining worker died at the Agrium Potash mine in Vanscoy.
  • A 29-year-old worker died at an oilfield site near Alameda.

All workers deserve to work in safe and healthy workplaces. Families and friends should not see a loved one leave the house for the last time in the morning after losing them to a workplace injury.


Unemployment continues to rise in Saskatchewan. According to Stats Can, in July, there were 38,600 unemployed people in Saskatchewan, a number greater than the population of Moose Jaw. This represents an additional 5,600 unemployed people over the previous year.

The unemployment rate rose from 5.4% to 6.3% from June to July, while in June of this year, the number of EI recipients had risen by 20% over the same month in the previous year.

While some new jobs are being created, the Sask Trends Monitor reports that many of these are of lower quality (low-paying, part-time) than the jobs that have been lost.

The government has placed a large amount of the blame on falling oil prices, but maintaining an economy based on cycles of boom and bust contributes to economic insecurity of workers just as poor-quality, low-paying jobs do. We must work to build an economy in which all workers enjoy economic stability and security.


  1. Beginning in October of 2016, Saskatchewan’s minimum wage will rise by 22 cents to $10.72, placing it among the lowest in Canada.
  2. Across North America, cities, states, and provinces are joining the $15 and Fairness campaign, which seeks to ensure a minimum wage of $15 per hour as a first step towards ensuring that all workers can have a livable wage.


  • Endorse the $15 and Fairness campaign at
  • Let Premier Brad Wall know you want Saskatchewan to have the highest (not the lowest) minimum wage in Canada: or 306-787-9433.
  • Attend the LABOUR DAY FAMILY PICNIC, Monday September 5, noon – 3:30 pm, Legislative Building: Sponsored by Regina Trade Unions. Free food, entertainment, and fun!


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Posted by strattof on August 23, 2016

Many Canadians—including former Prime Minister Stephen Harper and our current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—believe Canada is not a colonial state. In Harper’s words, Canada “has no history of colonialism.” Or as Trudeau put it: Canada is “without some of the baggage that so many other Western countries have—either colonial pasts or perceptions of American imperialism.”

How, then, do we account for:

  • The 1876 Indian Act which enshrines white settler domination and supremacy and Indigenous subjugation?
  • The forced dispossession, displacement, and containment of Indigenous peoples under Canada’s reserve and pass systems—systems that made Indigenous lands available for European settlement?
  • The genocidal residential school system, for which Harper himself apologized?


White settler supremacy remains intact. In childcare, education, housing, health, employment, the justice system—indeed, almost everywhere in Canadian society—whiteness is an advantage and Indigenous identity a disadvantage. For example:


Figures up to June 2016:

  • 51% of First Nations children live in poverty.
  • The rate rises to 60% for children who live on-reserve.
  • The numbers are even worse for Saskatchewan where 69% of on-reserve First Nations children live in poverty.
  • The poverty rate for non-Indigenous children is 13%.

July 2016:

The Trudeau government introduced the Canada Child Benefit (CCB), a non-taxable payment which the government claims will help 90% of Canadian families. Here are the figures for a family of four:

HOUSEHOLD INCOME            CCB                 PREVIOUS PLAN        

$15,000                                   $11,800           $10, 175         

$45,000                                   $9,850             $5,900

$90,000                                   $5,875             $3,330

$140,000                                 $3,125             $2,050

$200,000                                 $0                    $1,959


  1. How many First Nations families will the CCB pull out of poverty? To be eligible for the benefit, you have to have filled out an income tax return—which, according to government figures, means about 50% of on-reserve families could miss out on the benefit.
  2. Will an income of $26,800 pull a family of four out of poverty?


  • A child who attends a First Nations school receives 33% – 50% less funding than a child in a provincial school.
  • Many on-reserve schools are in poor condition and present health concerns.


46     Percent of dwellings on Saskatchewan First Nations that are in poor condition.

23     Percent of off-reserve First Nations households living in Core Housing Need—that is housing that falls below the adequacy, affordability or suitability standards. The incidence of Core Housing Need for off-reserve First Nations households is almost double that of non-Indigenous households.

37     Percent of off-reserve First Nations households in Regina living in Core Housing Need—the highest incidence among Canadian municipalities.


93     Percent of Saskatchewan First Nations that have had at least one Boil Water Advisory since 2004. 


39     TB incidence rate per 100,000 people on Saskatchewan First Nations, as compared to 7.5 cases per 100,000 people in the province as a whole.

52     Community Well-Being Index for Saskatchewan First Nations: Scores can range from a low of 0 to a high of 100. Most non-First Nations Saskatchewan communities score in the 80s and 90s.


Prime Minister Trudeau says his government is going to reset Canada’s relationship with First Nations peoples. In his words: “It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation.”

What would such a renewed relationship look like? Here are a few of the demands of Regina’s Colonialism No More Camp:

  • Revoke the Indian Act
  • Uphold the true spirit and intent of the Treaties
  • Uphold and respect the Treaty rights of urban, off-reserve Indigenous peoples.


WHEN:          SATURDAY AUGUST 20, 1 – 7 pm


Are you concerned about the treatment of Indigenous people in Saskatchewan and Canada? Do you have questions for representatives from INAC (formerly “Indian Affairs”)? Do you want more information about what INAC does and what services are available to you?

On August 20th, INAC and Health Canada have agreed to participate in an open Question and Answer session at Albert-Scott Community Centre in North Central. It’s a Town Hall for the people!

Everyone who has questions or concerns and wants answers is invited to attend this family event! Food will be provided.


This flyer is being distributed in memory of 22-year-old Colten Boushie, a member of Red Pheasant Cree Nation, who, on August 9, was shot and killed in the Battlefords area when the car he was in pulled into a farm yard after having a flat tire. The owner of the property, Gerald Stanley, is charged with second-degree murder.

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Posted by strattof on August 4, 2016

On August 6, 1945, the United States dropped a uranium bomb on Hiroshima, a city of 350.000. The bomb instantly killed a third of the population, most of them civilians. Three days later, it dropped a plutonium bomb on Nagasaki. It too killed tens of thousands of people. In both cities many more would be dead by the year’s end, as a result of injuries and radiation poisoning.  

On the 71st anniversary of these horrific events, we remember:

  • The victims of the 1945 bombings.
  • Those who have died or been injured in nuclear accidents.
  • Those who have died or been injured from working in the uranium industry.
  • Those whose lives, land, and resources have been impacted by uranium mining.


71 years after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the threat of nuclear war still looms over humanity. Indeed, it is at its highest since the Cold War.

The world’s nine nuclear powers—the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France, India, Pakistan, Israel, and North Korea—together possess some 16,000 nuclear weapons, 95% of which  belong to the US and Russia.

Now, the US is embarking on a “modernization” of its nuclear arsenal, a euphemism for the development of a new generation of nuclear weapons. Russia and China are following suit.

According to former US Secretary of Defence, William Perry, “the possibility of a nuclear calamity is higher today than it was during the Cold War.”


Canada has never produced a nuclear bomb. However, Canada’s nuclear record is not innocent. Indeed, Canada has been very much involved in nuclear arms from the beginning. For example:

1945: Canada was the primary source for the uranium for the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The uranium came from Port Radium, NWT, and was refined at Port Hope, Ontario. 

1945 – 1969: Canada was the main supplier of uranium for the Cold War atomic arsenals of the US and Britain.

1970: Canada signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Officially Canada now exports uranium exclusively for the generation of electricity. However, much of that uranium, whether exported raw or as fuel in a nuclear reactor, ends up being used in the manufacture of nuclear weapons. 

1974: India used a Canadian nuclear reactor, a gift from the Canadian government, to produce plutonium for its first atomic bomb, setting off a nuclear arms race with Pakistan.

2016: Today, Canada is the world’s second largest producer of uranium, exporting it to the US, Europe, China, and India.


Northern Saskatchewan is, today, Canada’s only producer of uranium, with Cameco and AREVA dominating the landscape and accounting for about 20% of world uranium production.

What is the impact of Saskatchewan uranium mining on humanity on the communities in the mining area on national and provincial revenue?


Most of Saskatchewan uranium is exported to the US. This uranium is the initial source of much of the depleted uranium (DU) used by the US military for the production of DU weaponry. The demonstrated health effects of DU weaponry include cancer, immune system failing, kidney damage, and birth defects.

The US is also likely to use Saskatchewan uranium to develop its new generation of nuclear bombs, as is China.

According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the hand on the Doomsday Clock is now at three minutes to midnight, meaning that “the probability of global catastrophe is very high.” Nuclear weapons are foremost among the threats to the continued existence of humanity.


The uranium mining industry in Northern Saskatchewan is part of the on-going colonization of Indigenous peoples and lands in Canada. Located on traditional Dene, Cree, and Métis territories, the mines were established after minimal consultation and at the expense of traditional Indigenous land-based economies. No account was or is being taken of the effect of uranium mining on human health, wildlife, water, and land. While some jobs are on offer, most are at the lowest levels of employment. In the meantime, the uranium industry is making billions.


  • Uranium, a non-renewable resource, enjoys very low royalty rates in Saskatchewan.
  • In 1999, Cameco set up a subsidiary in Zug, Switzerland, a well-known tax-haven. Now, the Canada Revenue Agency has taken Cameco to court for tax avoidance of up to $2.1 billion. Saskatchewan’s portion of the tax bill would likely wipe out the 2016-2017 provincial deficit of $434 million.



Mayors for Peace is an initiative of the Mayors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. It works for the abolition of nuclear weapons.

As of July 1 2016, 7,095 cities had joined the movement, including 105 cities in Canada—among them Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg.

Regina’s Mayor has been invited to join, but has declined to reply.


The peace symbol featured on the front of this pamphlet was designed for the nuclear disarmament movement. It is based on semaphore signals for the letters N and D, which, when put together, make the shape at the centre of the peace symbol.

Create a peace symbol on any surface: for example, a sidewalk using chalk; your garden using flowers or rocks; a cake using icing. Take a photo of your peace symbol and email it to You will, in return, receive a peace gift and become eligible to win a major peace prize.

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Posted by strattof on July 28, 2016

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau indicated that, under the Liberals, Canada would turn away from the Harper government’s legacy of war-making and instead work to bring peace to the world’s war-ravaged regions.

While Trudeau sounds less belligerent than his predecessor, his government is, sadly, not working for peace. Instead it is making more war. For example:

  • In March, the Trudeau government extended Canada’s military mission in Iraq and Syria for another 12 months and tripled the number of troops on the ground.
  • In April, the Trudeau government approved the $15 billion deal made by the Harper government to sell combat vehicles to Saudi Arabia.
  • Earlier this month, the Trudeau government committed to sending troops to Latvia as part of a new NATO force to deter “Russian aggression.”




Kudos to the Trudeau government for keeping its election promise to stop Canadian bombing in Syria. Unfortunately, this (apparent) move towards peace is undermined by the government’s expansion of the scope, as well as the length, of Canada’s military mission in the region.

For example:

  • Ground troops: The Trudeau government first tripled the number of Canadian troops on the ground to a total of 600 and then increased the number again to 830. These are Canadian soldiers who train Iraqi soldiers to kill.
  • Military helicopters: The Trudeau government has sent three military helicopters to Iraq to support Canadian ground troops.
  • Deadly weapons: The Trudeau government is providing Iraqi forces with weapons, including machine guns and mortars.


Will western military operations in Iraq and Syria bring about any good outcome? Have the first 13 years of the so-called “war on terror” had a beneficial outcome?

  • Descent into murderous chaos in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya
  • The emergence of Daesh, otherwise known as ISIS, in Iraq, a direct result of the 2003 US-led occupation of Iraq
  • Immense human suffering


Rather than working for peace, the Trudeau government continues to support NATO, an aggressive military alliance which perpetrates violence across the entire globe.

  • In June, Canada participated in a massive NATO military exercise in Poland and the Baltic states, all part of the former Soviet Union.
  • Earlier this month, Prime Minister Trudeau committed to an open-ended NATO military mission in Latvia, a state that shares a border with Russia.


Rather than seeking a peaceful resolution to hostilities between Ukraine and Russia, the Trudeau government is fanning the flames of war.

  • In March, the Trudeau government extended Canada’s support for Ukrainian armed forces for another year.
  • Also in March, the Trudeau government expanded the econ-omic sanctions placed on Russia by the Harper government.
  • Earlier this month, Prime Minister Trudeau signed a free-trade agreement, negotiated by the Harper government, that may allow Canada to export weapons to Ukraine.


What started the conflict and tension in Eastern Europe? According to most western leaders, it was precipitated by Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

It is not quite that simple. Left out of this version of events is the role of NATO in initiating the crisis.


Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has been expanding eastward to Russia’s borders.

  • In 1999, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic became NATO members.
  • In 2004, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania joined NATO.
  • NATO has also made overtures to Georgia and Ukraine.


With the $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, Canada became the world’s second largest exporter of arms to the Middle East. The Trudeau government also continues to sell arms to China, as well as to the US, “the most warlike country on earth,” according to former president Jimmy Carter. Today, Canada is the sixth largest military exporter in the world, up from 10th place in 2014.


  • Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you want Canada to stop making war in Iraq and Syria and Eastern Europe; to start making diplomatic peacemaking our top international priority; to get out of NATO; and to stop selling arms: or 613-995-0253.
  • Send the same message to Minister of National Defence, Harjit Sajjan, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Stéphane Dion: or 613-995-7052 or 613-996-5789.

  • Create a peace symbol on any surface: for example, a sidewalk using chalk; your garden using flowers or rocks; a cake using icing. Take a photo of your peace symbol and email it to You will, in return, receive a peace gift and become eligible to win a major peace prize.

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