Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

WHAT’S WRONG WITH A CARBON TAX?

Posted by strattof on January 10, 2019

In October 2018, Prime Minister Trudeau announced that a carbon tax would be imposed on all provinces that do not have a carbon emissions pricing plan of their own. Those provinces are Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick.

The tax will be on emissions from fossil fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, and coal-fired electricity. It will come into effect on April 1 2019.

The carbon tax plan has set off a firestorm of controversy. Premier of Saskatchewan Scott Moe has even launched a court challenge on whether a federal carbon tax is constitutional—a case that will be heard in Regina in mid-February.

What is the truth about the carbon tax plan?

  • Is it a Liberal tax grab, as its opponents say?
  • Or is it, as Trudeau insists, the best way to fight climate change?

The answer: It is neither.

THE CARBON TAX: A TAX GRAB?

The carbon tax plan comes in two parts:

  1. THE TAX: The tax on emissions will start at $20 a tonne and increase by $10 a year until it reaches $50 a tonne in 2022.
  2. THE REBATE: To offset the cost of the carbon tax to those living in Saskatchewan and the other affected provinces, the Trudeau government has promised to return to residents 90% of the money it collects from the tax.

The rebate will vary depending on the province and household size. In Saskatchewan, a family of four will receive a rebate of $609 in 2019, while a single adult will receive $305.

Residents will start getting the rebate on their 2019 tax return where it will either be added to the refund payment or deducted from tax owing.

If the Trudeau government keeps its promise to return 90% of the carbon tax as a rebate, then the carbon tax is not a tax grab. (The remaining 10 per cent will be given to small and medium-sized businesses, schools, hospitals and other organizations that can’t pass on their costs from the carbon tax directly to consumers.) 

THE CARBON TAX & CARBON EMISSIONS?

Is the carbon tax an effective means of reducing carbon emissions? The short answer to this question is ‘no.’

According to the UN, Canada’s carbon price would have to reach between $140 and $590 a tonne by 2030 for Canada to meet the commitments it made under the Paris Climate Agreement: to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.

This does not mean the carbon tax as it stands is totally useless. It will have some (small) effect on emissions, possibly accounting for up to 7% of the required 30% reduction.

So let’s keep the carbon tax. But, if we are to avoid catastrophic climate change, it must not be Canada’s main climate policy. We must also implement policies that will radically reduce emissions.

RADICALLY REDUCING EMISSIONS

Here are five climate policies the federal government could implement that would radically reduce carbon emissions:

  1. Stop all new tar sands pipelines, including Trans Mountain and Energy East.
  2. Stop subsidizing fossil fuels—estimated at $3.3 trillion a year.
  3. Start investing in renewable energy industries.
  4. Fund public transportation, including urban, rural, and inter-city options.
  5. Invest in energy-efficient social housing.

CATASTROPHIC CLIMATE CHANGE

We have just 12 years left before catastrophic climate change. That is the grim warning issued last year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN’s climate science body.

According to the IPCC, our burning of fossil fuels has already resulted in a 1°C increase in global temperature. We are already seeing the damaging consequences of global warming:

  • Deadly heatwaves ● Devastating droughts
  • Raging wildfires ● Record floods
  • Rising sea levels ● Extreme weather events

If we want to avoid catastrophic climate change, we must limit the increase in global temperature to 1.5°C above preindustrial levels. This would mean

► A 45% reduction in CO2 emissions from 2010 levels by 2030.

► Zero emissions by 2050.

From A Poem To My Daughter, by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, performed at the 2014 UN Climate Summit

and there are thousands out on the street

marching with signs

hand in hand

chanting for change NOW

and they’re marching for you, baby

they’re marching for us

CLIMATE ACTION

CONTACT POLITICAL LEADERS

Tell Prime Minister Trudeau you want his government to implement policies that will radically reduce carbon emissions.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-3100

Let Premier Moe know you do not want to live in a province where short-term gains from exploiting fossil fuels are valued over the well-being of the planet and all who live here.

premier@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-9433

LEARN MORE ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

  • See Anthropocene: The Human Epoch, screening at the Library Film Theatre, 2311 12th Avenue: Friday January 11, 8:30 pm; Saturday January 12, 6:30 pm; Sunday January 13, 8:30 pm. 
  • Watch Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner perform A Poem To My Daughter: Google “Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner United Nations.”
  • Read “The Leftists’ Case Against the Carbon Tax,” by James Wilt, in Briarpatch: https://briarpatchmagazine.com/articles/ view/the-leftists-case-against-the-carbon-tax 
  • Listen to No No No Keshagesh (which means “greedy guts”), by Buffy Sainte-Marie. Buffy tells us what we must say to oil and pipeline companies and the governments that kowtow to them: youtube.com/watch?v=XKmAb1gNN74

MAKING PEACE VIGIL, EVERY THURSDAY–UNTIL PEACE BREAKS OUT

From noon to 12:30 pm, on Scarth Street at 11th Avenue

EVERYONE IS WELCOME

For further information please contact: makingpeace@sasktel.net

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/MPeaceVigil/

On the web: https://makingpeace.wordpress.com

MAKING PEACE VIGIL January 10 2019

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PEACE IN 2019

Posted by strattof on January 3, 2019

Rather than making peace, Canada keeps on making war:

  • 2017: Canada extended its military mission in Ukraine, Iraq, and Syria until March 2019.
  • 2017: Canadian troops arrived in Latvia to lead a NATO mission against “Russian aggression.”
  • 2017: Canada increased its war spending by 70% over the next 10 years.
  • 2017: Canada was not one of the 122 countries that signed a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  • 2018: Canada exported between $2 and $3 billion worth of military equipment.
  • 2018: Canada sent troops to Iraq to head up a NATO training mission.

ENDLESS WAR: 2001 – 2018

CANADIAN ENGAGEMENT

AFGHANISTAN     October 2001 – March 2014: 12+ years

LIBYA                     March 2011 – October 2011: 7 months

IRAQ                      October 2014 – ongoing

SYRIA                     March 2015 – ongoing

UKRAINE               September 2015 – ongoing

LATVIA                  June 2017 – ongoing

 As this table indicates, since 2001, there have been only a few months—March to October 2014—that Canada has not been engaged in war.           

 Why, instead of working for peace, has Canada chosen this ongoing, seemingly never-ending involvement in war? There are three main reasons:

  1. Canada’s dependence on the US for its foreign policy.
  2. Canada’s membership in the US-led military alliance NATO.
  3. Profits for the Canadian arms industry.

 THE HUMAN COSTS OF WAR

WAR AND SUFFERING IN SYRIA

In armed conflict of any kind, people suffer. To take Syria as an example, with the war there now well into its eighth year, the human calamity is terrible and ongoing.

  • Over 480,000 Syrians have been killed in the war.
  • In the first half of 2018 alone, 4,796 civilians were killed, including 1,104 children.
  • More than 5 million Syrians are refugees outside Syria, while another 6.3 million are internally displaced. That’s more than half of Syria’s estimated pre-war population of 22 million.

CANADA MAKES WAR IN SYRIA

Canada bears some responsibility for the suffering. We have been making war in Syria as part of the US-led coalition since 2015, when the Harper government expanded Canada’s military mission in Iraq into Syria.

The Trudeau government has twice extended Canada’s military mission in Syria, most recently until March 31, 2019.

WAR IS A DISASTER

War is a disaster for everyone it touches.

  • Soldiers are killed, maimed, traumatized.
  • Civilians in the war zone pay a tremendous price: death, injury, bereavement, displacement, trauma, poverty.
  • Citizens of countries engaged in war elsewhere also pay a price: Dead or injured loved ones. Money that could have been spent on education, affordable housing, and healthcare.

WAR IS STUPID

You see children fighting. What do you do?

  1. Encourage them to keep on fighting.
  2. Or break up the fight and ask them to work out their differences in a non-violent manner. 

ENDLESS WAR: WHO BENEFITS?

War is big business and Canada is making a killing off it— between $2 and $3 billion annually in military exports.

  • Canada is the 6th largest exporter of arms in the world.
  • Canada is the 2nd largest exporter of arms to the Middle East.
  • The US, “the most warlike country on earth,” according to former president Jimmy Carter, is the recipient of more than half of all Canadian military exports.
  • Saudi Arabia, despite its human rights violations and involvement in the war in Yemen, is the next largest buyer of Canadian military exports.

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious….It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.” —US Major General Smedley Butler, 1935

TAKE ACTION FOR PEACE IN 2019

CONTACT ELECTED OFFICIALS

  1. Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you want Canada to stop making war and to start making peace in the world. This would mean:
  • Withdrawing from the military missions in Iraq, Syria, Ukraine and Latvia.
  • Signing the treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  • Getting out of NATO.
  • Getting out of the arms industry.
  • Developing a foreign policy independent of the US.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-4211

  1. Send the same message to Minister of National Defence Harjit Sajjan: sajjan@parl.gc.ca or 613-996-3100.

ATTEND A MOVIE FOR PEACE

WEDNESDAY JANUARY 16, 6:30 pm: DR STRANGELOVE OR: HOW I LEARNED TO STOP WORRYING AND LOVE THE BOMB, LIBRARY FILM THEATRE, 2311 12th AVE

Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 film is a satire about nuclear war. Starring Peter Sellers, it tells the story of an unhinged US general who orders a first strike nuclear attack on the Soviet Union.

Dr. Strangelove is being screened at the request of PeaceQuest Regina. Admission is free.

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR SASKATCHEWAN

Posted by strattof on December 27, 2018

In five days’ time, it will be 2019. A new year is a time for new beginnings. 

Let’s reflect on the changes we need to bring about in our province to make life better for all who live here. We also need to resolve to follow through on those changes. 

A vast number of New Year’s resolutions – 88% – typically fail. What do we need to do to become part of the 12% that succeed?

5 NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF SASKATCHEWAN  

  1. MAKE THE MINIMUM WAGE A LIVING WAGE.

On October 1, the Saskatchewan government raised the minimum wage by a whole dime—to $11.06 / hour. Now, rather than having the lowest minimum wage in Canada, we have the 2nd lowest.

Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is a poverty wage. The average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $983 / month, hardly affordable for even a full-time minimum wage worker earning $1,917 / month.

A Living Wage for Saskatchewan is about $16 / hour. A Living Wage ensures that workers are paid above the poverty line.

Of the 1.1 million people who live in Saskatchewan, 125,000 of them live in poverty. Some of these poor people are minimum wage workers.

Meanwhile, in 2017, Cameco president and CEO Timothy Gitzel made $6.3 million. Why isn’t there a maximum wage?

  1. RESTORE THE SASKATCHEWAN RENTAL HOUSING SUPPLEMENT.

The Rental Housing Supplement is a monthly payment that assists low income families and persons with disabilities with their rent.

  • 4,000 recipients were dropped from the Rental Housing Supplement program in 2017 and 2018.
  • On July 1 2018, the provincial government stopped taking new applications for the Rental Housing Supplement.

The reason the provincial government gives for making this cut is that vacancy rates have risen and thus rents will be more affordable. In fact, rents have not come down and would have to decrease substantially to be affordable for those unable to access the supplement.

Without the supplement, a family with two children is left with only $711 for rent. The average rent for a two bedroom apartment in Regina is $1,141.

  1. STOP STEALING INDIGENOUS CHILDREN

The genocidal policy of removing Indigenous childlren from their families did not end with the residental school system. It carries on even today.

Today, there are approximately 5,000 children in care in Saskatchewan. 80% of these children are Indigenous. Today there are more Indigenous children in care in Saskatchewan than there were at the height of the residential school system.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s first Call to Action is “Commit to reducing the number of Aboriginal children in care.”

Rather than working to make this recommendation a reality, the Saskatchewan government spent much of 2018 looking for ways to get rid of the Justice For Our Stolen Children Camp located in front of the Legislative building. A peaceful camp, its main goal was to engage the provincial government in a conversation about the over-representation of Indigenous children in Saskatchewan’s child welfare system.

  1. STOP LINE 3.

Line 3 is a tar sands pipeline owned by Enbridge. It will run through southern Saskatchewan, passing just a few kilometres south of Regina, carrying toxic tar sand oil from Hardisty Alberta to Superior Wisconsin.

Enbridge calls Line 3 a replacement pipeline. It is not. It is a new, larger diameter pipeline that will convey nearly one million barrels of tar sands oil a day, more than double the volume of the old Line 3.

Tar sands development is the single biggest contributor to the growth of CO2 emissions in Canada, thus driving dangerous climate change. If Line 3 goes through, Canada will not be able to meet the commitments it made under the 2016 Paris Climate Agreement.

We have just 12 years left before climate catastrophe. This is the grim warning issued in October by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nation’s leading body for climate science.

5. STOP COMMERICAL DEVELOPMENT IN WASCANA PARK

Conexus is already building in Wascana Park. Brandt Developments has put out a call for tenants for the building it is proposing to build on the current site of the CNIB in the Park.

According to its founding charter, the 1962 Wascana Centre Act, Wascana Park was never intended to be used for commercial development.

Wascana Park is a public park. It is our park, paid for by generations of Regina citizens. 

MAKING PEACE VIGIL WISHES YOU A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

MAKING PEACE VIGIL

EVERY THURSDAY

until PEACE breaks out 

From 12 noon to 12:30 pm

On Scarth Street at 11th Avenue

EVERYONE IS WELCOME 

For further information please contact: makingpeace@sasktel.net

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/MPeaceVigil/

On the web: https://makingpeace.wordpress.com

MAKING PEACE VIGIL December 27 2018

 

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PEACE ON EARTH–AND GOOD WILL TO ALL MEN, WOMEN, AND CHILDREN, EVERYWHERE

Posted by strattof on December 21, 2018

CANADA MAKES WAR

ENDLESS WAR

Since 2001, Canada has been endlessly at war:

AFGHANISTAN      October 2001 – March 2014: 12+ years

LIBYA                      March 2011 – October 2011: 7 months

IRAQ                       October 2014 – ongoing

SYRIA                     March 2015 – ongoing

UKRAINE                September 2015 – ongoing

LATVIA                   June 2017 – ongoing

MORE WAR-MAKING

  • In 2017, Canada increased its war spending by 70% over the next 10 years.
  • In 2017, Canada was not one of the 122 countries that signed a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  • In 2017, Canada exported $1,031 billion worth of military equipment. This figure does not include the sale of military wares to the US, which accounts for well over half of Canada’s military exports.

MAKING A KILLING

War is big business. Many countries, including Canada, are making a killing out of this never-ending war-making.

  • Canada is the 6th largest exporter of arms in the world.
  • Canada is the 2nd largest exporter of arms to the Middle East.

Who loses in war? Ordinary people everywhere. 

WAR IS AN ATROCITY

In war, each side accuses the other side of war crimes. Each side points to atrocities committed by the other side. This is propaganda created to justify war. All sides in a war perform acts of violence and savagery. That is the nature of war.

War is a crime! War is an atrocity!

WE WANT PEACE

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 difference themselves instead of organizing nothing better than legalized mass murder.—Harry Patch, World War I Veteran 

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

May the noise of weapons cease! War always marks the failure of peace. It is always a defeat for humanity.—Pope Francis 

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

Violence begets more violence, war begets further wars, more enemies, and more suffering. War does not work, not even for the warriors.—Ursula Franklin 

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

PEACE DECORATIONS

Taped inside this pamphlet is a decoration to hang on your tree or wall or plant. It features either a peace symbol or a dove of peace.

PEACE SYMBOL

The peace symbol finds its origins in the British nuclear disarmament movement. Designed in 1958, it uses semaphore signals to convey its message.

Semaphore is a system of conveying information at a distance. You spell out a word by placing your arms in certain positions, each position representing a different letter in the alphabet.

N and D are the semaphore signals represented in the peace symbol. They stand for Nuclear Disarmament.

Today, the peace symbol represents the hope for an end to all wars.

DOVE OF PEACE

The white dove is a symbol of peace. It is often portrayed with an olive branch in its mouth, an image taken from the story of Noah releasing the bird to bring back proof that there was land again somewhere and the floodwaters were receding. 

MAKING PEACE VIGIL

EVERY THURSDAY

until breaks out

From 12 noon to 12:30 pm

On Scarth Street at 11th Avenue

 EVERYONE IS WELCOME

 For further information, please contact: makingpeace@sasktel.net

On Facebook: www.facebook.com/MPeaceVigil/

On the web: https://makingpeace.wordpress.com

This flyer is distributed on Treaty 4 territory.

It is printed on 100% recycled acid-free paper.

MAKING PEACE VIGIL December 20 2018

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SCROOGE LIVES IN REGINA

Posted by strattof on December 15, 2018

Today we have copies of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol to distribute. If you would like a copy, please ask one of us. We are happy to give you one as long as our supply lasts.

A Christmas Carol tells the story of the transformation of Scrooge from a greedy, mean, and selfish man into someone who is generous and open-hearted. A commentary on social injustice—the exploitation and oppression of poor people—the story is as relevant today as it was in 1843 when it was first published.

Tiny Tim, the youngest child of Scrooge’s clerk, Bob Cratchit, highlights the plight of those affected by the greed and meanness Scrooge exemplifies. Because his father is so badly paid, he is tiny, frail, and sickly.

Our society has many Tiny Tims of its own. Their health and well-being too will be diminished if we do not become a more equal and just society.

Our society also has many Scrooges: powerful people who, in exercising their power, demonstrate a cruel disregard for humanity, as well as for social justice.

SCROOGE LIVES IN REGINA

REGINA CITY HALL

REFUSAL TO PAY A LIVING WAGE

In October, Regina City Council voted 8 – 3 against adopting a Living Wage for municipal employees and contractors.

A Living Wage for Regina is $16 an hour, about $5 more than the Saskatchewan minimum wage. A Living Wage ensures that workers are paid above the poverty line.

In his meanness, Scrooge refuses to pay Bob Cratchit a Living Wage. One of the consequences of not paying workers a Living Wage is children who, like Tiny Tim, may be poorly nourished and sickly.

THE LEGISLATIVE BUILDING

THE 2ND LOWEST MINIMUM WAGE IN CANADA

On October 1, the Saskatchewan government raised the minimum wage by a whole dime—to $11.06 / hour. Now, rather than having the lowest minimum wage in Canada, we have the 2nd lowest.

One in four children is Saskatchewan lives in poverty. That’s 25% of Saskatchewan children: 64,000 children!

Why isn’t there a maximum wage?

ELIMINATION OF GRANT FOR SCHOOL SUPPLIES

In 2016, the Saskatchewan government announced it was eliminating the grant for children’s school supplies for people on social assistance. There was such an outcry that the government eventually reversed this cut

ELIMINATION OF RENTAL HOUSING SUPPLEMENT

The Rental Housing Supplement is a monthly payment that assists low income families with children and persons with disabilities with their rental costs.

In 2017 and early 2018, the Saskatchewan government dropped 4,000 recipients of the Rental Housing Supplement from the program. On July 1 2018, it stopped taking new applications.

Without the supplement, a family with two children is left with only $711 for rent. The average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Regina is $1,116.

14 of the 286 people who were identified as homeless in Regina’s 2018 homelessness count were children.

SCROOGE ALSO LIVES IN OTTAWA

NATIONAL HOUSING STRATEGY

In 2017, the Trudeau government launched a National Housing Strategy, which it promised would fix Canada’s homelessness crisis with $42 billion in spending. Will it?

  • The goal of the strategy is to cut homelessness in half by 2030. Why only in half?
  • The bulk of the money won’t be available until 2020—after the next federal election.
  • Much of the money depends on provincial matching funding.

POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY

In 2018, the Trudeau government announced a Poverty Reduction Strategy. On the upside:

  • It sets an official income poverty line.
  • It includes legislation and an advisory committee to monitor progress

On the downside:

  • The strategy does not include any new funding for existing programs.
  • The strategy does not include any new programs.
  • The goal of the Poverty Reduction Strategy is to cut poverty in Canada in half by 2030. Nearly five million people live in poverty in Canada today. What kind of country would purposely condemn 2.5 million of its citizens, including 620,000 children, to live in poverty?

A CHRISTMAS CAROL

In the novels of Charles Dickens, the poor and the homeless are often represented as children. As we have seen, in A Christmas Carol, Tiny Tim represents poor people—“the surplus population,” as Scrooge calls them.

There are two other children in A Christmas Carol, a girl named Want and a boy named Ignorance. While both are dangerous, for Dickens, it is our ignorant indifference to the plight of so many of our fellow citizens that is the more harmful as it allows their want and suffering to continue.

During the festive season, let’s all take a few minutes to contact our political leaders and let them know we do not want to be in a society where the greedy, mean, and selfish spirit of Scrooge lives on in their political decisions.

MAYOR FOUGERE & YOUR CITY COUNCILLOR

  • Go to the City of Regina homepage: regina.ca
  • Click on ‘Contact Us’ in the upper right hand corner.
  • Scroll down to ‘Contact Your City Councillor.’

PREMIER SCOTT MOE & MINISTER OF SOCIAL SERVICES PAUL MERRIMAN

Premier Moe: 306-787-9433 or premier@gov.sk.ca

Minister Merriman: 306-787-3661 or ss.minister@gov.sk.ca

PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-3100

 

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NO ROOM AT THE INN: REGINA’S HOMELESSNESS CRISIS

Posted by strattof on December 6, 2018

The Christmas story is quite well-known: Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem and find there is no room at the inn.

But how familiar are we with the current homelessness crisis in Regina? 2018 years later, there is still no room at the inn.

  • 286 people were identified as homeless in Regina’s 2018 homelessness count. That’s 54 more people than were identified in the 2015 count—a 23% increase.
  • These figures do not include the hidden homeless: people who are double-bunking or couch-surfing—groups that could easily double the number of homeless people in Regina.
  • Apartments are available in Regina, but for many people they are unaffordable. Affordable housing is defined as housing that costs residents 30% or less of their income.
  • The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $983, hardly affordable for a full-time minimum wage worker earning $1,917 per month, much less someone living on Social Assistance.
  • Regina’s shelters are filled to capacity.

CAUSES OF HOMELESSNESS

There are two main causes of homelessness in Regina:

►HIGH RENTS       ►LOW INCOMES

The lion’s share of responsibility for Regina’ homelessness crisis lies with governments: federal, provincial, and municipal.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

  • In 1993, the Liberal government of Paul Martin cut funding for new social housing. The result? The rise of mass homelessness.
  • In 1996, the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien announced it was shifting the running of all social housing to the provinces.

THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

  • In 1992, the NDP government of Roy Romanow scrapped rent control in Saskatchewan. The result? Boardwalk bought up Regina’s private rental housing, as well as Gladmer Park, a social housing project, and doubled the rent.
  • In 1997, the Romanow government began to sell off social housing units it had inherited from the federal government.
  • Then there was the boom and rents went through the roof.
  • From 2008 – 2015, income assistance rates remained stagnant.
  • In 2016 and 2017, the Sask. Party government of Brad Wall made cuts to income assistance programs.
  • In 2018, the Sask. Party government of Scott Moe made more cuts to income assistance programs.
  • Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is $11.06, the second lowest in Canada.

REGINA CITY COUNCIL

  • For close to a decade, the main response of City Council to Regina’s homelessness crisis was to pass the buck and say that affordable housing is a federal and provincial responsibility.
  • City Council also started to criminalize homelessness. In 2009, for example, it passed the Parks and Open Space bylaw which prohibits people from sleeping in parks.
  • In 2018, City Council voted 8 – 3 against adopting a Living Wage ($16 / hour) for municipal employees and contractors.

ENDING HOMELESSNESS

It will take all three levels of government to solve Regina’s homelessness crisis.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

In 2017, the Trudeau government launched a National Housing Strategy, which it promised would fix Canada’s homelessness crisis with $42 billion in spending. Will it?

  • The goal of the strategy is to cut homelessness in half over the next decade. Why only in half?
  • The bulk of the money won’t be available until 2020—after the next federal election. In the meantime, winter is here.
  • Much of the money depends on provincial matching funding.

THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

Here’s what the provincial government can do to help end homelessness in Saskatchewan:

  1. Raise the income assistance rates.
  2. Reverse the cuts it has made to income assistance programs.
  3. Make the minimum wage into a Living Wage: $16 /hour.
  4. Provide matching funding for the federal program.

REGINA CITY COUNCIL

In 2017, Mayor Michael Fougere brought a motion before City council: The Plan to End Homelessness in Regina. There has already been an overabundance of such plans. Did nothing come out of them?

Mayor Fougere’s plan has already cost taxpayers $60,000—to hire consultants. That money could have been used to house homeless people.

The plan was to be released in September. We’re still waiting.

The Mayor’s preferred solution to Regina’s homelessness crisis is Housing First, a program that finds permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness. Neither the 2017 nor 2018 budget allocated any money to Housing First. The 2019 budget doesn’t allocate any funding to Housing First either.

MAKING ROOM AT THE INN

During the holiday season, let’s all take a few minutes to contact our political leaders and let them know we do not want to live in a city where even one person is homeless—much less hundreds of people. If we all work together, we can end homelessness in Regina.

MAYOR FOUGERE & YOUR CITY COUNCILLOR

  • Go to the City of Regina homepage: regina.ca
  • Click on ‘Contact Us’ in the upper right hand corner.
  • Scroll down to ‘Contact Your City Councillor.’

PREMIER SCOTT MOE & MINISTER OF SOCIAL SERVICES PAUL MERRIMAN

Premier Moe: 306-787-9433 or premier@gov.sk.ca

Minister Merriman: 306-787-3661 or ss.minister@gov.sk.ca

PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-3100

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A TIME FOR OUTRAGE

Posted by strattof on November 29, 2018

There is not enough room on this pamphlet to express all of our outrage. Since we have to be selective, we decided to focus this time on local issues, leaving provincial and national outrages for future pamphlets.

There isn’t even enough space in this pamphlet for all of the local outrages! Below are a mere four of them:

  1. Homelessness
  2. City of Regina’s refusal to pay a living wage
  3. No supermarket in North Central
  4. Closing Maple Leaf Swimming Pool

Please let us know what local issues fuel your outrage: makingpeace@sasktel.net

OUTRAGE #1: HOMELESSNESS

  • 286 people were identified as homeless in Regina’s 2018 homelessness count. That’s 54 more people than were identified in 2015—a 23% increase.
  • These figures do not include the hidden homeless: people who are double-bunking or couch-surfing—groups that could easily double the number of homeless people in Regina.

In the 2016 municipal election, Mayor Michael Fougere ran on a platform of ending homelessness. His preferred solution to Regina’s homelessness crisis is Housing First, a program that finds permanent housing for people experiencing homelessness.

All Mayor Fougere has done so far is to bring a motion before City Council to develop a plan to end homelessness. There has already been an overabundance of such plans. This one is costing taxpayers $60,000 to pay consultants. Why wasn’t the money spent on housing homeless people?

Learn more about homelessness in Regina: TUESDAY DECEMBER 4, 7 pm: HOT TOPICS—A PANEL DISCUSSION OF HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA, CENTRAL LIBRARY, 2311 12TH AVENUE

The panel will feature people engaged in the struggle against homelessness in Regina. No one should be homeless in Regina!

OUTRAGE #2: REFUSAL TO PAY A LIVING WAGE

Last month, City Council voted 8 to 3 against adopting a Living Wage for municipal employees and contractors. The city administration had recommended against it, saying it would cost the city too much money. A Living Wage for Regina is $16 / hour.

Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is $11.06 / hour. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $983. In other words, minimum wage earners cannot afford Regina rents.

While a Living Wage would not solve Regina’s homelessness crisis, it would increase the income of some low-income people. It would also be good for the local economy.

There is something unseemly about people who make good money recommending or voting against a bit of an increase for those who make very little.

OUTRAGE #3: NO SUPERMARKET IN NORTH CENTRAL

Ever since the Superstore at Albert and Dewdney closed in 2000, North Central has been without a supermarket. Even worse, Super- store’s owner, Loblaws, put a condition of sale on the property: that a grocery store could not be built on it. This is outrageous!

North Central is a low-income, inner city neighbourhood of about 12,000 people. Many of the residents rely on buses, bikes, or their own two feet to get around. They have very limited access to affordable and nutritious food. To add insult to injury, the Food Bank is many kilometres away, on the 400 block Winnipeg Street.

North Central is a food desert. In the meantime, a two kilometer stretch along south Albert has five supermarkets: Co-op, Superstore, Save On Foods, Sobeys, and Safeway.

City Council can surely develop policies to address this outrage.

OUTRAGE #4: CLOSING MAPLE LEAF SWIMMING POOL

Closing Maple Leaf Pool is a proposal of Regina’s 2019 budget. Maple Leaf Pool is located in the Heritage area, which, like North Central, is a low-income, inner city neighbourhood.

The 2019 budget also proposes that Wascana Pool be rebuilt as a new “outdoor destination aquatic facility” at a total cost of $16.5 million. Wascana Pool, located in Wascana Park, is adjacent to several quite posh neighbourhoods.

According to the City website, Maple Leaf Pool is “beyond… repair.” All this means is beyond what the city is willing to pay to fix it. The City is, however, happy to increase the Regina Police Service budget by 20%—to $92.5 million.

Some City Councillors say that Heritage children can walk to Wascana Pool. It would be a 5K walk for some of those children. Why can’t they have a pool in their own neighbourhood?

The closure of Maple Leaf Pool will be discussed at the December 10 meeting of City Council, as part of the 2019 budget. Show your opposition to the pool closure by attending the meeting: 5:30 pm, City Hall. Better yet, make a presentation: www.regina.ca/ residents/council-committees/appear-before-council/

OUTRAGE IS NOT ENOUGH

Does it actually matter if we are outraged? Not really if we don’t do something about it. Even showing up at rallies is not enough.

What we also need to do is hold our elected officials accountable.

All of the issues listed on this pamphlet fall under the jurisdiction of the City of Regina. Pick two of these issues (or two of your own) and, the next time you have a spare minute, let Mayor Michael Fougere and your City Councillor know you want them to do something to address those issues.

You might remind them a municipal election is coming up in 2020.

Mayor Michael Fougere       777-7339 or mayor@regina.ca

Ward 1: Barbara Young        539-4081 or byoung@regina.ca

Ward 2: Bob Hawkins           789-2888 or bhawkins@regina.ca

Ward 3: Andrew Stevens      570-1402 or astevens@regina.ca

Ward 4: Lori Bresciani           570-1995 or lbrescia@regina.ca

Ward 5: John Findura            536-4250 or jfindura@regina.ca

Ward 6: Joel Murray              519-2232 or j.murray@regina.ca

Ward 7: Sharron Bryce           949-5025 or sbryce@regina.ca

Ward 8: Mike O’Donnell        545-7300 or modonnell@regina.ca

Ward 9: Jason Mancinelli       519-0078 or jmancine@regina.ca

Ward 10:Jerry Flegel              537-9888 or jflegel@regina.ca

If you are not certain who your City Councillor is, go to www.regina.ca/residents/council-committees/meet-city-council/

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SPREAD PEACE NOT WEAPONS

Posted by strattof on November 22, 2018

Canadians like to think that Canada acts for peace in the world. The reality is quite different. War is big business and Canada is making a killing out of it.

  • Canada exports military equipment worth between $2 – 3 billion annually. (It is impossible to know the true value of Canadian arms exports because the Canadian arms trade lacks transparency.)
  • Canada is the 6th largest exporter of arms in the world.
  • Canada is the 2nd largest exporter of arms to the Middle East.

While such arms sales generate huge profits, the weapons do not bring either peace or security. Instead, they bring violence, suffering, and death.

If Canada’s reputation as a country for peace is to be more than a myth, we will have to abandon our role as a major military exporter.

PEACE BEFORE PROFIT!

CANADA’S MILITARY EXPORTS

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia is Canada’s second-largest arms customer, buying about half a billion dollars in military goods annually. In 2014, the Harper government struck a $15 billion deal to sell weaponized military vehicles to Saudi Arabia. In 2016, the Trudeau government gave final approval to the deal.

WAR IN YEMEN

In 2015, a Saudi-led coalition, with US backing, invaded Yemen, with the goal of installing a friendly government. The invasion has devastated Yemen. ●More than 10,000 Yeminis have already been killed in the fighting. ●According to the UN, as many as 13 million Yemenis are currently facing starvation.

Through the Trudeau government’s refusal to stop arms shipments to Saudi Arabia, Canada has become complicit in this humanitarian disaster.

ABYSMAL HUMAN RIGHTS RECORD

In 2016, Saudi Arabia executed 47 men accused of terrorism offences. The Trudeau government condemned the executions.

Early this year, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted out a call for the release of imprisoned human rights activists. The Saudi response was to expel the Canadian ambassador, freeze bilateral trade, and instruct all Saudi students to leave Canada without delay.

In the meantime, Canada is maintaining business as usual with Saudi Arabia, even though there is credible evidence that Canadian-made armoured vehicles are being used to suppress protests in Saudi Arabia.

JAMAL KHASHOGGI

On October 2, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered in the Saudi consulate in Turkey. A CIA investigation has concluded that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman personally ordered the killing. Still the Trudeau government seems set on keeping the $15 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

UNITED STATES

The US is Canada’s largest arms customer, likely accounting for about 50% of military goods exports from Canada. In truth, we have no idea of the actual size of this arms trade as Canadian military exports to the US are exempted from licensing and reporting requirements.

According to former US President, Jimmy Carter, the US is “the most warlike country on earth.” Today the US maintains approximately 800 military bases in 80 countries. As of December 2017, the US is officially fighting wars in seven countries: Afghanistan, Libya, Iraq, Syria, Niger, Somalia, and Yemen.

NATO

NATO is a US-led military alliance of 29 countries. In 2017, NATO countries were Canada’s third-largest arms customers, accounting for $339,000,000 or 33% of sales.

  • NATO has armed forces around the globe.
  • NATO is responsible for escalating tensions with Russia. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, NATO has been expanding eastward to Russia’s borders.
  • NATO insists on the right to employ nuclear weapons on a first-strike basis. Canada’s NATO membership is the reason why the Canadian government has not signed the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty.

SWORDS INTO PLOUGHSHARES

Canada must start spreading peace, not weapons. That would mean

  • Getting out of the arms industry
  • Getting out of NATO
  • Working for peace at the UN
  • Signing the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty

But what to do with the war industry? How about transforming all those weapons-making enterprises into renewable energy companies. Such a swords-into-ploughshares project seems particularly apt as war has a huge carbon footprint.

TAKE ACTION FOR PEACE

CONTACT POLITICAL LEADERS

Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you want Canada

  • To stop selling arms to Saudi Arabia
  • To stop selling arms altogether
  • To get out of NATO
  • To sign the Nuclear Weapon Ban Treaty
  • To start making diplomatic peacemaking a top priority
  • To invest at least some of the $ saved from not making war in renewable energy.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-3100

Send the same message to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland: Chrystia.Freeland@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-5234

SIGN ONLINE PETITIONS CALLING ON CANADA TO STOP SELLING ARMS TO SAUDI ARABIA

  • Amnesty International
  • Change.org
  • Leadnow.ca
  • SumOfUs
  • Petition e-1221

 

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NOVEMBER 11: REMEMBRANCE DAY

Posted by strattof on November 12, 2018

Sunday November 11 is Remembrance Day. This year’s Remembrance Day marks the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I. On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, fighting ceased in “the war to end all wars.”

World War I was supposed to be “the war to end all wars” because of the unprecedented scale of the slaughter—with tens of thousands falling in a single day to machine guns and poison gas.

Today war rages on:

  • Canada has been endlessly at war since 2001: first Afghanistan, then Libya, now Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and Latvia.
  • None of the students currently in our schools has ever known a time of world peace, their entire lives having been lived during active warfare.

When will we ever learn!

TO REMEMBER IS TO WORK FOR PEACE!

CANADA MAKES WAR

ENDLESS WAR

Since 2001, Canada has been endlessly at war:

AFGHANISTAN      October 2001 – March 2014: 12+ years

LIBYA                       March 2011 – October 2011: 7 months

IRAQ                        October 2014 – ongoing

SYRIA                       March 2015 – ongoing

UKRAINE                 September 2015 – ongoing

LATVIA                    June 2017 – ongoing

MORE WAR-MAKING

  • In 2017, Canada increased its war spending by 70% over the next 10 years.
  • In 2017, Canada was not one of the 122 countries that signed a treaty banning nuclear weapons.
  • In 2017, Canada exported $1,031 billion worth of military equipment. This figure does not include the sale of military wares to the US, which accounts for well over half of Canada’s military exports.

MAKING A KILLING

War is big business. Many countries, including Canada, are making a killing out of this never-ending war-making.

  • Canada is the 6th largest exporter of arms in the world.
  • Canada is the 2nd largest exporter of arms to the Middle East.

Who loses in war? Ordinary people everywhere.

TO REMEMBER IS TO WORK FOR PEACE

Initially, November 11 was a day of sad remembrance and dedication to peace. Sadly, today it is a day to celebrate war and the military.

Tell Prime Minister Trudeau you want Canada

  • To commit to peace.
  • To get out of Iraq, Syria, Ukraine, and Latvia.
  • To stop selling arms.
  • To sign the nuclear weapons ban treaty.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-992-4211

WE WANT PEACE

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

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 

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

May the noise of weapons cease! War always marks the failure of peace. It is always a defeat for humanity.—Pope Francis 

War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. – Major General Smedley Butler 

Violence begets more violence, war begets further wars, more enemies and more suffering.—Ursula Franklin 

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

WHITE POPPIES, RED POPPIES, & RED BUTTONS

WHITE POPPIES

Some of us are wearing white poppies. The white poppy is a symbol of peace, of our hope for an end to all wars, and of our commitment to work for a world where conflicts are resolved without violence and with justice. 

RED POPPIES

Some of us are also wearing red poppies to honour Canada’s veterans. We are particularly concerned about the 40,000 Canadians who served in Afghanistan and the challenges they are facing.

RED BUTTONS

The red button is the work of the Mennonite Central Committee. It reads: “TO REMEMBER IS TO WORK FOR PEACE.” War is not necessary or inevitable. Peaceful alternatives exist, as do non-violent means to resolve conflict between individuals and communities.

If you would like a white poppy or a red button, please ask one of us. We are happy to give you one of each, as long as our supplies last. 

PEACE STUDIES PETITION

Take action for peace and sign the petition calling on the provincial government to introduce Peace Studies into the K-12 curriculum. Shockingly, none of the students in our schools has ever known a time of world peace, their entire lives having been lived during active warfare.

True peace also requires addressing other forms of violence, including discrimination based on race, class, gender, religion, and disability.

We have copies of the petition with us.

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HOMELESS IN REGINA

Posted by strattof on September 23, 2018

Regina’s homelessness crisis began more than a decade ago, in 2006, when rents began to rise sharply. Every year since, the crisis has worsened.

Today it has reached such disastrous proportions that Carmichael Outreach, Regina’s main housing support agency, has put out a call for donations of tents to give to people in need of shelter.

Over the past several months, Carmichael has been forced to turn people away with nothing.

  • There is no affordable rental housing in Regina.
  • Regina homeless shelters are full to over-flowing.

That’s where the tents come in: they are better than nothing. In the words of Carmichael’s Executive Director Cora Sellers: “We’ve given them to people who have nowhere to go at the end of the day because the shelters are full and they can’t get help from anywhere else….It’s a last resort so that they have some privacy and some form of shelter.” 

WHAT CAN WE DO TO END HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA?

HOMELESS IN REGINA: 6 KEY FACTS

  1. 286 people were identified as homeless in Regina’s 2018 homelessness count. This figure does not include the hidden homeless: people who are double-bunking or couch-surfing.
  2. Apartments are available in Regina, but for many people they are unaffordable. Affordable housing is defined as housing that costs residents 30% or less of their income.
  3. The average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment in Regina is $983, not affordable for a full-time minimum wage worker earning $22,800 per year, much less someone living on Social Assistance.
  4. Social Assistance only provides $459 for housing for a single person. There is no decent housing in Regina for $459.
  5. On July 1, the province cut off new applications for its Rental Housing Suppplement—a program that helped low income families and people with disabilities pay their rent.
  6. Without the supplement, a family with two children is left with only $711 for rent. The average rent for a two bedroom apartment in Regina is $1,141. 

SHELTERS ARE NOT THE ANSWER

Regina has six emergency shelters, with 152 beds in total. That’s not even enough beds to accommodate the 286 people identified in the 2018 homelessness count, not to mention the hidden homeless.

But emergency shelters are not the answer to Regina’s homelessness crisis.

  • Shelters are often not safe.
  • Shelters do not allow for self-reliance or a sense of dignity.
  • Shelters are not homes. A home is more than a place to sleep. It is a place where one can be any time one chooses and where one can keep one’s possessions—conditions not met by shelters, where, typically, folks have to be out of the building between 9 am and 6 pm, taking all their possessions with them.

What, then, is the solution to Regina’s homelessness crisis?

Tents                                                   NO

Enough money to pay the rent          YES

ENDING HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA

It will take all three levels of government to solve Regina’s homelessness crisis.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

In 2017, the Trudeau government launched a National Housing Strategy, which it promised would fix Canada’s homelessness crisis with $42 billion in spending. Will it?

  • The goal of the strategy is to cut homelessness in half over the next decade. Why only in half?
  • The bulk of the money won’t be available until 2020—after the next federal election. In the meantime, winter is coming.
  • Much of the money depends on provincial matching funding.

THE PROVINCIAL GOVERNMENT

With its austerity budgets, the Sask Party government is making Regina’s homelessness crisis worse. The cutting off of the Rental Housing Supplement is only one example. Nor is the provincial government likely to provide matching funding for a federal government housing program.

THE CITY OF REGINA

In 2017, Mayor Michael Fougere brought a motion before City Council: The Plan to End Homelessness in Regina. There has already been an overabundance of such plans: the 2007 Regina Community Plan on Homelessnessthe 2013 Regina Comprehen-sive Housing Strategy the Mayor’s two Housing Summits the Mayor’s Housing Commission. Did nothing come out of these?

Moreover, the City of Regina’s commitment to providing funding to implement the plan depends on the provincial government also providing funding. Is this an escape clause for City Council?

In any case, $60,000 of City of Regina taxpayers’ money has already been spent on this new plan—to hire consultants. This money could have been used to house homeless people.

The plan is slated to be released later this month. So stay tuned.

TAKE ACTION TO END HOMELESSNESS IN REGINA

MARK INTERNATIONAL TENANTS DAY, OCTOBER 1: Attend a gathering in Knox-Met lower hall, 10:30 – 11:30 am, and learn more about issues facing renters in Regina—2340 Victoria Avenue. Tea will be served.

LET PRIME MINISTER TRUDEAU KNOW

►You want his government to work to eliminate homelessness in Canada, not just cut it in half. ►You want all the money for the National Housing Strategy to be available immediately. ►You do not want any of the money to be dependent on provincial matching funding.

justin.trudeau@parl.gc.ca or 613-995-0253 

LET PREMIER SCOTT MOE KNOW

►You want his government to accept new applications for the Rental Housing Supplement. ►You want his government to contribute funding to federal and municipal plans to end homelessness.

premier@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-9433

LET MAYOR FOUGERE KNOW

►You are tired of plans to end homelessness in Regina. You want action. ►You want City Council to make ending homelessness in Regina a 2019 budget priority. ►You do not want city funding to implement the plan to be dependent on the provincial government providing funding.

mayor@regina.ca or 306-777-7339

 

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