Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on September 12, 2019

Sunday will mark the 145th anniversary of Treaty 4, also known as the Qu’Appelle Treaty. Signed on September 15, 1874 at Fort Qu’Appelle, Treaty 4 was negotiated, on a nation-to-nation basis, by the Cree, Saulteaux, and Assiniboine First Nations with the Crown representing the Canadian government.

As the map above shows, the land covered by Treaty 4 represents most of southern Saskatchewan, as well as small portions of Manitoba and Alberta.

The Canadian government’s goal in signing Treaty 4 was to gain this land for European settlement, agriculture, and industry. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald also wanted the land to complete Canada’s first transcontinental railway—a railway that would ultimately run through Regina.

In signing Treaty 4, the Cree, Saulteaux, and Assiniboine First Nations agreed to share the land and its resources with the newcomers. Instead, they were forced by a policy of deliberate starvation, implemented in 1878 by the government of John A. Macdonald, to move onto tiny reserves the government had allotted to them.

For the past 145 years, the Cree, Saulteaux, and Assiniboine First Nations have kept their side of the Treaty 4 agreement. When will the Canadian government start to keep its Treaty 4 promises?


“As long as the sun shines and the water flows.” These are the words of Treaty 4 Commissioner Alexander Morris. Morris was echoing the words of First Nations leaders and thus indicating that, from the perspective of the Crown and the Canadian government, the Treaty would be everlasting.

The sun is still shining and the water or river is still flowing. Why, then, is the Government of Canada still refusing to keep its Treaty promises?

The consequences of broken Treaty promises have been dire for Indigenous Peoples. For example:


Indigenous Peoples experience the highest levels of poverty in Canada:

  • 25% of Indigenous Peoples in Canada live in poverty.
  • 47% of First Nations children in Canada live in poverty.
  • The figure is even worse in Saskatchewan, where 66% of First Nations children live in poverty.

Why are Indigenous Peoples more likely to be poor than other Canadians? Before the arrival of European settlers, Indigenous Peoples enjoyed 100% of the land and resources of what was to become Canada. Then, in the words of the late Arthur Manuel, a First Nations political leader, “the biggest land theft in the history of mankind” occurred and Indigenous Peoples “were reduced by the settlers to a tiny patchwork of reserves that consisted of only 0.2% of the landmass of Canada, the territory of our existing reserves, with the settlers claiming 99.8% for themselves.”

This stolen land continues to generate fabulous wealth for settler Canadian society.


Poverty and ill-health are closely linked. The life expectancy for Indigenous Peoples in Canada is 15 years shorter than for other Canadians.

Indigenous poverty is part of the ongoing genocide committed by the Canadian state against Indigenous Peoples.


Treaty 4 also promised “to maintain a school on the reserve allotted to each band.” Instead the Government of Canada implemented the residential school system.

  • Established in 1876, Canada’s residential school system lasted for over a century—until 1996 when the last residential school, Gordon’s School in Punnichy SK, closed.
  • More than 150,000 children attended the schools, having been forcibly removed from their families and communities.
  • Mental, emotional, physical, and sexual abuse were rife at the schools. Food was often insufficient and of poor quality. In most cases, schools were poorly maintained and overcrowded.
  • At least 6,000 children died at the schools from malnutrition, disease, and abuse. Many of the children were buried unceremoniously in unmarked graves.
  • In the words of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report, the residential school system was “an integral part of a conscious policy of cultural genocide.”      


The Treaty 4 flag was designed by Gordon Oakes, an influential elder from the Nekaneet Cree Nation, on Treaty 4 territory. At the flag’s centre is the medicine wheel, used by generations of Indigenous Peoples in North America for health and healing and as a tool for learning and teaching.

The wheel or circle represents the connectedness of everything—all our relations—while the four sections of the wheel represent the four directions and the teachings related to them.

The sections on the Treaty 4 flag also represent the promise that the Treaty would last “as long as the sun shines, the river flows, and the grass grows.”


  1. The Treaty 4 flag flies permanently in front of Regina City Hall. Next time you’re in the area have a look at it.
  2. Next time you are driving north on Albert Street in the Golden Mile area, keep an eye out to your right for a bright sign on the top of the Mackenzie Art Gallery: “As long as the sun shines, the river flows, and the grass grows.” A sculpture by renowned Indigenous artist Duane Linklater, it is titled Kâkikê / Forever —a reminder of all the Treaty promises made and broken by Canadian settler society.  
  3. Attend the screening of We Were Children at Central Library, Wednesday September 25. 6:30 pm. The film tells the story of two residential school survivors.  
  4. Read Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual For Decolonization: Decolonization%20Handbook.pdf
  5.  Learn about Cindy Blackstock’s ongoing work to end inequities in funding for First Nations children, youth, and families. Google “Cindy Blackstock First Nations Child and Family Caring Society.”

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Posted by strattof on September 2, 2019

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 the 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 facing today’s workers, including: A poverty-level minimum wage The gig economy Dangerous work places; Attacks on unions.


  1. What is the current minimum wage in Saskatchewan?

$11.06 an hour, the lowest minimum wage in Canada. On October 1, the minimum wage will be raised by a whole 26 cents, to $11.32 an hour. Saskatchewan will still have the lowest minimum wage in Canada.

  1. How much would a full-time worker have to earn to stay out of poverty in Saskatchewan?
  • A new Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives study puts the figure at $17.98. That would be enough to afford a one-bedroom apartment in Regina. A single parent would need $22.62 to afford a two-bedroom apartment.
  • Fight For $15 Saskatchewan puts the figure at $15—for starters.
  1. What are some of the effects on workers of a poverty-level minimum wage?
  • Food bank use has grown 77% in Saskatchewan since 2008.
  • 11% of children in Saskatchewan live in poverty. The national average for child poverty is 9%.
  1. How many Saskatchewan workers earn the minimum wage?

Approximately 16,200, with women making up 65% of them. One in five Saskatchewan workers earns less than $15 an hour.


In 2018, Cameco CEO Tim Gizel took home $6.8 million. That’s 282 times what a minimum wage worker in Saskatchewan earned.

Why is there no maximum wage?

The gap between rich and poor is growing increasingly wider in Saskatchewan.

  • Raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour—for starters.
  • Raise the taxes on the wealthy.


The gig economy is growing in Saskatchewan. More and more people are working for ride-sharing and restaurant and grocery pickup and delivery businesses.

Here’s the problem: Gig economy workers have no guarantee of getting even the minimum wage, pathetic as it is. How can this be?

  • The giants of the gig economy—multibillion dollar corpor-ations such as Uber and Skip the Dishes—insist their workers are not employees, but rather are independent contractors.
  • The classification matters, for, under provincial labour law, employees, but not contractors, are entitled to certain rights, including a guaranteed minimum wage and the right to strike.

In other words, the gig economy is undermining hard-fought for labour protection in place for a century. The good news is that gig economy workers are beginning to fight back. Let’s support them!


  • 48 people lost their lives in Saskatchewan because of their work in 2018. That’s a 60% increase in fatalities.
  • With the highest fatality rate in the country, Saskatchewan is the most dangerous place to be a worker in Canada.

One way to prevent fatalities is to increase penalties for employers who do not take worker health and safety seriously.


The main purpose of labour unions is to give workers the power to negotiate for more favourable working conditions and other benefits through collective bargaining.

Since the 1970s, unions have been under attack in Canada, with federal and provincial governments introducing legislation to reverse collective bargaining rights.

A recent example is the Saskatchewan government’s 2007 Essential Services Act—legislation that took away the right to strike from many workers and thus weakened their ability to bargain freely with their employers. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that this Act was unconstitutional.


  • Let Premier Scott Moe know you want Saskatchewan to have ►the highest (not the lowest) minimum wage in Canada and ►a minimum wage that is a living wage: For starters, that would mean raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour. Also let the Premier know you want ►gig workers to be classified as employees in provincial labour law and ►harsher penalties for employers who do not take worker health and safety seriously: or 306-787-9433.
  • Send Minister of Labour Relations, Don Morgan, the same message: or 306-787-5353.
  • Attend the LABOUR DAY FAMILY PICNIC: Monday September 2, noon – 3:30 pm, Legislative Building. Hosted by Regina and District Labour Council. Free food and entertainment. Everyone is welcome.
  • Spend part of Labour Day listening to some of the best union songs ever written: ●Talking Union, Almanac Singers ●Bread and Roses, Joan Baez ●There is Power in a Union, Billy Bragg ●The Rebel Girl, Hazel Dickens ●Take ‘Em Down, Dropkick Murphys ●Part of the Union, Strawbs ●Which Side Are You On? Natalie Merchant ●Joe Hill, Paul Robeson ●Solidarity Forever, Utah Phillips ●Union Burying Ground, Woody Guthrie ●Working Man, Rita McNeil

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Posted by strattof on August 22, 2019

Public transit is the solution to many of Regina’s problems. For example:

  • TRAFFIC CONGESTION ON 11th AVENUE: A Regina Transit bus holds 40 passengers. A regular bus load of passengers takes up far less road space than 40 cars.
  • DOWNTOWN PARKING: The ever-growing number of parking lots gives downtown Regina a desolate and abandoned look. Still people have a hard time finding parking. More people using transit is the answer to this problem.
  • TEXTING WHILE DRIVING: In 2018, Regina Police Service issued 1,800 distracted driving tickets for drivers using mobile devices. The fine for distracted driving is $280. That’s enough to buy 3 monthly adult bus passes. You can text to your heart’s content on the bus with no safety (or ticket) worries.

If transit is the solution to these and other problems, why are more people not using transit?




Even though Regina is a relatively small city, many rush-hour commutes take 30 minutes or more. More people using transit is a solution.


Transit has about a tenth of the traffic injury or death rate as car travel. Transit also makes streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians.


Not only can you text while riding the bus. You can also read or even snooze a little with no safety worries.


Downtown parking costs on average $200 per month. A 30-day adult bus pass is just $88. You also save on gas. 


According to experts, the main reason for the increase in asthma rates worldwide, for both children and adults, is air pollution and, more explicitly, exposure to nitrogen dioxide, which comes mainly from vehicle exhaust. To experience the full effect of air pollution in Regina, try standing on a busy Regina street during rush hour.


Public transit not only provides solutions to local problems. It is also part of the answer to a major international problem: global warming. In 2018, the United Nations issued this grim warming: We have just 12 years left before climate disaster.


  • Transit cuts carbon emissions.
  • One bus load of passengers takes the equivalent of 40 vehicles off the road, reducing emissions by about 15,000 tonnes a year.


The good news is that transit use in Regina is, in fact, growing. In 2018, there were nearly 6.9 million rides, representing a 7% increase in ridership since 2016.

The challenge is to further grow transit ridership. Here are two tried and true ways—just to get us started:


Research shows that when buses come every 15 minutes lots more people start taking the bus. Currently, most Regina Transit routes run at 30 minute intervals during the day and early evening hours and at 60 minute intervals after 8:45 pm.


  1. First bus – 8:45pm: 15 minute intervals.
  2. 8:45 pm – last bus: 30 minute intervals.


Research shows that free transit is one of the most effective strategies to get people out of their cars and onto public transit. Also, transit is prohibitively expensive for many people who don’t own a private vehicle.

  • A number of European cities already offer free transit.
  • In 2019, Victoria began to offer free service to anyone under the age of 18
  • Regina already offers free transit on New Year’s Eve and to and from Rider Games.


  1. Make transit free for people in the following categories: Social Assistance recipients, Youth, and Senior.
  2. Embark on a free transit plan to completely eliminate fares in stages over a five year period.


Regina Transit is subsidized by municipal taxes. If free transit becomes a reality, that subsidy will increase.

But private vehicles are also subsidized. It is, after all, Regina tax- payers who foot the bill for road infrastructure and maintenance.

Private vehicles also have many hidden costs, including air pollution, climate change, accidents, and congestion.

We cannot afford to keep subsidizing private vehicles.



Let Mayor Fougere and your City Councillor know you want improved transit service. For a start, that would mean more frequent service and the elimination of fares over the next 5 years.

Other improvements would include earlier and later service and better Sunday and holiday service.


Also let the Mayor and your Councillor know you want them to take up the transit challenge issued by the Regina Transit union: Rely on transit for a week and experience the joys and woes of Regina Transit.

Mayor Michael Fougere: 777-7339 or

Ward 1: Barbara Young: 539-4081 or

Ward 2: Bob Hawkins: 789-2888 or

Ward 3: Andrew Stevens: 570-1402 or

Ward 4:  Lori Bresciani: 570-1995 or

Ward 5: John Findura: 536-4250 or

Ward 6: Joel Murray: 519-2232 or

Ward 7: Sharron Bryce: 949-5025 or

Ward 8: Mike O’Donnell: 545-7300 or

Ward 9: Jason Mancinelli: 519-0078 or

Ward 10:Jerry Flegel: 537-9888 or

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Posted by strattof on August 8, 2019

Tomorrow will mark the third anniversary of the shooting death of Colten Boushie. On August 9, 2016, Boushie, a 22 year-old member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, died from a gunshot to his head after the vehicle in which he was travelling pulled into a farmyard near Biggar. Gerald Stanley, a 56-year-old white farmer, fatally shot Boushie, at point-blank range, in the back of the head.

On February 9 2018, an all-white jury found Stanley not guilty in the shooting death of Boushie—a verdict that highlighted the systemic racism in the Canadian justice system. Since that date, Boushie’s family have been seeking justice.

Has anything changed in the 18 months since Stanley’s acquittal? Not much—at least not for the better.

Those of us who are settler Canadians must take responsibility for the failure of our justice system and stand with Indigenous Peoples in their calls for justice.



The tragic death of Colten Boushie continues to shine a light on racism and injustice in our society. For example:


It was an all-white jury that found Gerald Stanley not guilty. How did this happen? Indigenous Peoples make up over 25% of the population of the Battlefords where the trial was held.

The answer is peremptory challenges. During jury selection, lawyers can dismiss potential jurors without giving any reason. In the case of the Stanley trial, Stanley’s lawyers dismissed all visibly Indigenous potential jurors.

The Canadian government is in the process of abolishing peremptory challenges. It is the only positive step that has been taken toward justice since Stanley was found not guilty. England, the birthplace of peremptory challenges, abolished them in 1988.


This is what Canadian colonialism looks like.

  • When, on August 9, 2016, the RCMP went to Red Pheasant Cree Nation to inform Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, of her son’s death, officers behaved as if Boushie’s family members were criminals. RCMP vehicles surrounded the home. Officers searched the home, some with their guns drawn. An officer ordered a grieving Baptiste to “get it together” and asked her if she had been drinking.
  • In 2017, the RCMP, in an internal investigation, cleared itself of any wrong-doing when its officers visited the home of Debbie Baptiste the day her son was killed.
  • The arrest of Gerald Stanley ignited a firestorm of racism against Indigenous Peoples, much of it promoting even more violence against them. The RCMP laid no hate speech charges against those who posted hate-speech online.


Canadian colonial society has always found ways to justify violence against Indigenous Peoples. Here are a couple of the tried and true strategies used in relation to the killing of Colten Boushie.


  • The RCMP’s first media release linked the news of Boushie’s death to a recent surge in thefts in the area—providing, as FISN Chief Bobby Cameron put it, “just enough prejudicial information for the average reader to draw their own conclusions that the shooting was somehow justified.”
  • In covering of the case, the Canadian media all too often reproduced the usual stereotypes of Indigenous Peoples, thus helping to justify the not guilty verdict. 


The response of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities (SARM) to the killing of Colten Boushie was to make it look like rural landowners were the real victims. The provincial government followed suit.

  • In March 2017, SARM voted 93% in favour of lobbying the federal government for more relaxed self-defence laws.
  • In January 2019, the provincial government purchased 147 carbine rifles to arm rural conservation officers.
  • In May 2019, the provincial government passed new trespassing laws “to reduce rural crime,” thus sending a signal that vigilante justice against Indigenous Peoples has government approval.

Ever since Canada’s inception, the Canadian justice system has been deployed to protect the use of land for European settlement.


According to white settler mythology, hardy pioneers made unoccupied and unused land productive. In fact:

  • Indigenous Peoples had been occupying the land for 1000s of years and making very Oproductive use of it.
  • The Canadian government signed treaties with First Nations, under which the land was to be shared. First Nations have honoured the treaties. The Canadian government has not.






The film looks at the racism in the Canadian justice system that came to light through the trial of Gerald Stanley and the Boushie family’s pursuit of justice. Everyone in Canada needs to see it.




A 20 minute documentary about Camp Justice For Our Stolen Children, which stood on the Legislative grounds from February to September 2018: This film will be screened in conjunction with six other short films as part of an “Indigenous Showcase” program.

All the films are part of the Regina International Film Festival. To see the full program, go to:

BOOKS (available at Regina Public Library)

  • The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline
  • Whose Land Is It Anyway? A Manual For Decolonization, with essays by Pam Palmater and Arthur Manuel (online)
  • Children of the Broken Treaty, by Charlie Angus
  • Seeing Red: A History of Natives in Canadian Newspapers, by Mark Anderson and Carmen Robertson

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Posted by strattof on July 26, 2019

Many Canadians believe that racism is not a part of Canadian society. We may be feeling particularly smug in the wake of Donald Trump’s racist “Go back where you came from” tweet, attacking four Congresswomen of colour.

According to Prime Minister Trudeau, “That’s not how we do things in Canada.” Perhaps this is his aspirational goal. Regrettably racism is alive and well in Canada.

  • Canada was founded on the racist idea of white supremacy, which provided the justification for European occupation of Indigenous Peoples land.
  • Today white supremacy continues its reign. For example: ●First Nations reserves occupy only 0.2% of the Canadian land mass. 99.8% of Canada is reserved for settler Canadians. ●Through the Indian Act, first passed in 1876, the Canadian state continues to claim the right to exercise 100% control over every aspect of the lives of Indigenous Peoples.
  • “Go back where you came from” is an anti-immigrant sentiment heard over the decades in Canada, as well as today. Its core message is “Canada belongs to white people.”

A first step in confronting racism is to understand what it is and how it operates. This will allow us to recognize its existence in our society. Only then can we take the next step: standing up against racism both as individuals and as a society.


“Go back where you came from” has a variety of meanings, including “You are not allowed here.” This taunt has long and deeply entrenched roots in Canadian society and has had a powerful influence on immigration and refugee policy.


When the Komagata Maru, a ship carrying 376 Sikh, Hindu, and Muslim passengers, arrived in Vancouver harbour, Canadian authorities did not permit it to dock. Nor did they allow food and water to be provided for passengers. Eventually the ship was forced to return to India where 19 of the passengers were shot and killed by British India police. 


Passed by the Canadian government, this act completely banned Chinese immigration to Canada. It remained in force until 1947.


When the St. Louis arrived in Halifax harbour, Canadian officials refused to allow any of its 739 German Jewish refugee passengers to land, forcing the ship to return to Europe where a third of its passengers ended up being murdered in the Nazi death camps.


When the Sun Sea arrived off the BC coast, government authorities labelled the passengers—492 Sri Lankan men, women, and children—“terrorists” and detained them in a provincial prison for a prolonged period. Ultimately, a majority of the passengers were found to be in legitimate need of Canada’s protection.


Under the Safe Third Country Agreement, signed by Canada and the US in 2004, if a person makes a refugee claim at a Canadian port of entry on the US-Canada border, they will be sent back to the US. If, however, they enter Canada at unofficial crossings, they can make a claim.

The Trudeau government is in the process of closing this “loophole,” thus stripping away the legal rights of refugees to have their claims heard.

1867 – 2019: GO BACK WHERE YOU CAME FROM Why isn’t this taunt ever directed at white Canadians?



Saskatchewan was founded on genocidal policies against Indigenous Peoples:

  • John A. Macdonald’s policy, implemented in 1878, of the deliberate starvation of Indigenous Peoples living across the plains, including where Regina now stands, until they moved onto the tiny reserves the government assigned to them.
  • The residential school system, which functioned from 1880 to 1996, when the last residential school in Canada, the Gordon Indian Residential School in Saskatchewan, closed.

These genocidal policies continue today. For example:

  • The over-apprehension of Indigenous children in the child welfare system: 85% of the children in state care in Saskatchewan are Indigenous.
  • The failure of provincial police services to provide protection for Indigenous women.


In the 1920s, the KKK flourished in Saskatchewan, with a membership of 25,000. Asserting white Anglo-Saxon Protestant supremacy, it targeted Catholics and Jews and opposed immigration to the province from anywhere but Britain.

The KKK was so mainstream in Saskatchewan that in Regina it held its meetings in City Hall.


In its promotion of racist, anti-immigrant views, Saskatchewan’s yellow vest movement is the 21st century equivalent of the KKK. It too wants to “Keep Saskatchewan White,” in its case by limiting immigration to people of European ancestry.

Like the KKK too, the yellow vesters have acquired mainstream legitimacy, with political leaders—Premier Scott Moe and federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer—speaking at rallies and thus giving the yellow vesters licence to carry on with their racism.


  1. Call out racist statements, along with all other forms of hate speech, whenever you encounter them.
  2. Call on all political leaders to stand up against hate and to distance themselves from, as well as condemn, any groups or individuals that engage in anti-immigration rhetoric or hate speech of any kind.
  3. Learn more about racism and white supremacy in Canada. Add the following to your summer reading list (available at Regina Public Library or online).
  • Keeping Canada British: The Ku Klux Klan in 1920s Saskatchewan, by James Pitsula
  • The Reconciliation Manifesto, by Arthur Manuel
  • Undoing Border Imperialism, by Harsha Walia
  • A Dangerous Crossing, by Ausma Zehanat Khan
  • National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls: A Legal Analysis of Genocide

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Posted by strattof on July 23, 2019

The long-awaited plan to end homelessness in Regina has finally been released. Titled Everyone is Home: A 5-Year Plan to End Chronic and Episodic Homelessness in Regina, the plan reveals “the depth of homelessness in Regina.”

The figures are shocking—much worse than we had been led to believe.2,200 people were homeless in Regina in 2018.

Imagine the daily, even hourly, trials these 2,200 people faced:

  • Where am I going to sleep tonight?
  • Where can I find some food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?
  • Where can I find a public washroom? 

The plan also reveals the cost of ending homelessness in Regina—which turns out to be quite modest: an investment of $63 million over five years in a Housing First program.

Where will the money come from? According to the plan, about $25 million will come from the federal government and $38 million from the provincial government. The problem is that these contributions “have not yet been confirmed.”



  1. Regina has more homeless people per capita than most other Canadian cities. Over the course of a year, the number of people experiencing homelessness in Regina is conservatively estimated at about 2,000.
  2. While Indigenous Peoples only make up 9% of Regina’s population, they accounted for 80% of the homeless people in the 2018 homelessness count. In other words, Indigenous Peoples are grossly over-represented in Regina’s homeless population—a reflection of the systemic racism in our country, province, and city.
  3. Women made up 51% of Regina’s homeless people in the 2018 count. More than 20% of the women had dependent children. 33% reported spousal abuse as their reason for being homeless. The rate of violence against women in Saskatchewan is double the national average.
  4. More than 25% of the homeless people in the 2018 count were youth. Most of the homeless people in the count began experiencing homelessness as youth.
  5. The main cause of homelessness in Regina is economic: the inability to find housing that is affordable. The standard definition of affordable housing is housing that costs residents 30% or less of their income.
  6. Of Regina households with a total income below $30,000, over 50% are spending more than half of their income on housing.
  7. Worse still, 54% of renter households spend more than half of their income on rent.
  8. 9% of renter households in Regina are in what is termed extreme core housing need, which is defined as living in poverty with more than 50% of income going to housing.



The problem is, of course, the money—the $63 million needed to end homelessness in Regina. Neither the federal nor the provincial government has pledged support.

Nor is it likely either will do so without a lot of additional pressure.

  • The $25 million in federal funding is meant to come from the Liberal government’s National Housing Strategy, which the parliamentary budget officer recently announced is not adequately funded.
  • For over a decade, the provincial government has been implementing austerity measures.


Mayor Fougere is the force behind the plan to end homelessness. ●In the 2016 municipal election, he ran on a platform to end homelessness. ●In 2017, he brought the motion before City Council that launched the plan.

Paradoxically, Mayor Fougere refuses to put any city money into ending homelessness in Regina. According to the Mayor, “affordable housing is not a municipal responsibility.”


There is always money for sports facilities. The new Mosaic Stadium cost $278 million of our tax dollars to build. In contrast, the cost of ending homelessness in Regina is a mere $63 million.

In 2012, when the new stadium was in the planning stages, city officials promised that Taylor Field, where the old stadium stood, would be redeveloped to include 700 new affordable housing units. Now is the time to keep that promise. How about if the city allocated $4 million annually to this project for the next five years.


Ending homelessness in Regina would actually reduce costs for all levels of government. Indeed, according to the plan, the investment would return 50 cents for every dollar invested, reducing the cost of the plan from $63 million to $37 million.

Where will the savings come from? From decreases in demand for other public services, including health care, social support, policing, and corrections.


We need to end homelessness in Regina. As Mayor Fougere put it: “With all the prosperity we have in this city and this province, with all the wealth and opportunity, we should not be facing this issue.”

The City of Regina cannot on its own solve Regina’s homelessness crisis. That will require all three levels of government. But the City can at least do its part and provide a model.


Let Mayor Fougere know

  • You want the City to contribute to the cost of ending homeless-ness in Regina—say $4 million annually for the next 5 years.
  • You want the City to keep its promise to redevelop Taylor Field to include 700 new affordable housing units.
  • You do not want the plan to end homelessness to end up gathering dust on a shelf, along with all the previous plans.

 777-7339 or


Let Minister Duclos know you want the federal government to provide financial support for Regina’s plan to end homelessness:

613-992-8865 or


Let Minister Merriman know you want the provincial government to provide financial support for Regina’s plan to end homelessness.


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Posted by strattof on June 27, 2019

On June 16, the Trudeau government declared a “national climate emergency.” The very next day, this same government approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion (TMX).

Is this blatant hypocrisy? Or might it be Orwellian doublethink: the act of holding two mutually exclusive beliefs as true. Without question, the approval of a new tar sands pipeline is not compatible with a responsible climate policy.

  • The rightly declared climate emergency is caused by rising CO2 levels in the earth’s atmosphere.
  • The leading cause of the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere is the burning of fossil fuels.
  • TMX will almost triple the pipeline’s capacity to carry tar sands oil.
  • Tar sands development is the single biggest contributor to the growth of CO2 emissions in Canada.
  • Currently Canada is warming at twice the global rate.



  1. TMX would run roughly parallel to the already existing Trans Mountain pipeline, carrying diluted bitumen from Edmonton to Burnaby, on the BC coast, where it would be loaded onto tankers and shipped to Asia for processing.
  2. TMX would increase the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of bitumen a day, thus facilitating the growth of Alberta’s tar sands, Canada’s greatest and fastest growing source of CO2 .
  3. Diluted bitumen, sometimes called dilbit, is tar sands oil that has been diluted with chemicals, many of them toxic, so the thick sticky substance will flow through a pipe.
  4. TMX would cross 15 First Nations, Jasper National Park, and 800 waterways. It would also run directly under a number of schools, shopping centres, and residential neighbourhoods.
  5. TMX would quadruple the number of tankers to more than 400 a year along the BC coast.
  6. In 2018, when Kinder Morgan, the US oil company that owned Trans Mountain, threatened to walk away from the expansion project, the Trudeau government bought the already existing 65-year-old Trans Mountain pipeline, along with the proposed expansion, for $4.5 billion. This figure does not include the cost of constructing the expansion, an estimated $10 billion.


What is it that the Trudeau government does not understand about a climate emergency? For over three decades, climate scientists have been warning us that if we did not make significant reductions in CO2 emissions, we would face the worst effects of climate change.

Those worst effects are already very much with us:

►Deadly heatwaves               ►Devastating droughts

►Raging wildfires                 ►Record floods

►Rising sea levels                  ►Extreme weather events

If TMX is built, Canada will miss by a long shot its 2030 Paris Agreement emissions target—to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels.


PIPELINES: Pipelines are accidents waiting to happen. Between 2005 and 2018, there were 14 spills along the already existing Trans Mountain pipeline.

TANKERS: Increased tanker traffic will put the BC coast at increased risk of an ocean tanker spill.

TOXICITY: Diluted bitumen spills are particularly toxic because of the chemicals used to thin the bitumen. 


  • The price was exorbitant. Ottawa spent $4.5 billion of our tax dollars for a 65-year-old leaky pipeline, along with the proposed expansion. According to the company’s 2017 annual report, all its pipeline assets in Canada were worth a mere $1.03 billion. It was a great deal for Kinder Morgan!
  • TMX may never be built. According to the federal government, construction is expected to start in September. But that is unlikely. ●TMX still faces some regulatory hurdles. ●Some First Nations and settler environmental groups plan to block the project through court challenges and protests. ●The BC government opposes the project.
  • TMX is not financially viable. To be cost-effective, TMX would have to be in use for 30 years. Like it or not, the end of the fossil fuel era is near. Wind and solar energy are now cost-competitive. The fossil fuel industry has already started to weaken. That is why no private sector offer was made to Kinder Morgan for its Trans Mountain pipeline assets.


  1. Invest in a clean-energy future.
  2. Help oil workers transition to other forms of employment.
  3. Invest in public transportation.
  4. Fix the drinking water on every First Nation = $3.2 billion.


In the words of Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish school girl who started the School Strike for Climate movement:

“Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.  

According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, we are less than 12 years away from not being able to undo our mistakes. In that time, unprecedented changes in all aspects of society need to have taken place, including a reduction of our CO2 emissions by at least 50%…. 

Adults keep saying: ‘We owe it to the young people to give them hope.’ But I don’t want your hope. I don’t want you to be hopeful. I want you to panic. I want you to feel the fear I feel every day. And then I want you to act. 

I want you to act as you would in a crisis. I want you to act as if our house is on fire. Because it is.” 

  • Thank Prime Minister Trudeau for declaring a “national climate emergency.” Let him know that you now want him to act as he would in an emergency. Such action does not include building TMX: or 613-992-4211.
  • Make TMX an election issue. Let all the candidates in your riding know a) you do not want the pipeline built and b) you want the federal government to stop subsidizing the fossil fuel industry and to start investing in solar and wind power.

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Posted by strattof on June 15, 2019

Here we go again. The Government of Saskatchewan is once more speaking openly about the possibility of nuclear power for the province. The last time the province considered nuclear power was in 2008 – 2009. Public opposition was so fierce that the government backed away from the idea.

The major difference between the two proposals is size of reactor:

  • 2008 – 2009: Two large nuclear reactors
  • 2019: A number of small modular reactors

According to Premier Scott Moe, small modular reactors are, unlike large nuclear reactors, safe. In 2008, then Premier Brad Wall made the same safety claim—about large nuclear reactors.

Like Brad Wall a decade earlier, Premier Moe is also promoting nuclear energy as clean—a way for Saskatchewan to replace coal power stations and reduce its carbon emissions.

What is the truth of these and other claims being made for nuclear power?

  • Is nuclear power clean?
  • Is nuclear power safe?
  • Is nuclear energy economical?
  • Are there other energy options for Saskatchewan? Or is it time for Saskatchewan to go nuclear?



Carbon Emissions

While nuclear power is cleaner than coal power, it is not free of carbon emissions. Vast amounts of fossil fuels are used to mine, mill, refine, enrich and transport uranium; and to process, transport, and store nuclear wastes.


There is also nothing “clean” about the radiation that nuclear spreads: from uranium mine tailings, to reactor radiation, to radioactive wastes.

Nuclear Wastes

Nuclear reactors produce ever-accumulating radioactive wastes as spent fuel that has to be managed for millennia—essentially forever. No safe and secure system of storing nuclear wastes permanently has been created.

Remember back in 2010, when the federal government’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization was thinking that Northern Saskatchewan would be a good place to dump Ontario’s nuclear wastes? Thanks to the Committee For Future Generations and their 820 kilometre walk from Pinehouse to Regina it never happened.


Since the first nuclear power reactors were constructed in 1954, there have been more than 100 serious accidents from the use of nuclear power. These include:

1979    Three Mile Island      US

1985    Chernobyl                  Russia

2011    Fukushima                 Japan 

Canada has had its share of nuclear accidents, nine in Ontario and one in Manitoba. The most recent was in 2011 in Pickering. 


  • Even small modular reactors are expensive to build and maintain, especially given safety requirements.
  • No nuclear plant has ever been built without massive taxpayer subsidies.
  • Renewables are now cheaper than nuclear power.


Why is the provincial government promoting nuclear power? The short answer to this question is to support Saskatchewan’s uranium industry. As Premier Moe put it: “We have the uranium.”

The opportunity to once again promote nuclear power arose from the federal government’s recent mandate that all coal-fired generators must be shut down by 2030, unless they have carbon capture sequestration technology.

  • 40% of Saskatchewan’s electricity comes from coal.
  • Three of the province’s generators are coal-fired.
  • Only one of these generators, Boundary Dam 3, has carbon capture and sequestration technology. 


Nothing much is the answer to this question.

  • Located on traditional Dene, Cree, and Métis territories, the mines are part of Canada’s on-going colonization of Indigen-ous peoples. They operate at the expense of the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples in Northern Saskatchewan.
  • Saskatchewan uranium is used by the US to develop its nuclear weaponry. Nuclear wastes from nuclear power generators are also used to produce nuclear weapons.
  • Uranium enjoys very low royalty rates in Saskatchewan.

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


Saskatchewan carbon emissions are, per capita, the highest in Canada– 244% above the national average. Electricity generation accounts for 20% of Saskatchewan emissions.

As part of the struggle against catastrophic climate change, Saskatchewan must shut down its coal-fired generators. It also needs to eliminate all its natural gas generators.

Saskatchewan has an (over) abundance of sun and wind. Wind and sun power have a low carbon footprint. Let’s become a leader in solar and wind power generation!



Let Premier Scott Moe know you do not want nuclear power in Saskatchewan: or 306-787-9433.

Send the same message to Minister of Energy and Resources, Bronwyn Eyre, and Minister of the Environment, Dustin Duncan:

Minister Eyre:  or 306-787-0804

Minister Duncan: or 306-787-0393


BOOKS: Available at Regina Public Library

Canada’s Deadly Secret, by Jim Harding

From Hiroshima to Fukushima to You, by Dale Dewar & Florián Oelck

Nuclear Power Is Not The Answer, by Helen Caldicott


Candyce Paul on uranium mining

Committee For Future Generations

Clean Green Saskatchewan; No Nuke News; Canadian Coalition

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Posted by strattof on June 15, 2019

The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) released its final report last week. It is a powerful and damning document.

Basing its findings on the testimonies of over 2,380 witnesses, as well as on extensive research, the commission concluded that Canada is guilty of genocide:

  • That the high rate of violence perpetrated against Indigenous girls and women and Two Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex, and asexual (2SLGBTQQIA) people “amounts to a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples”; and
  • That this genocide has been perpetuated historically and is maintained today by the Canadian state.

The report also provides 231 recommendations or Calls For Justice that tell us what we must do to end and redress this genocide.

The work of the commission is over. The work of Canada and Canadians is just beginning.


  1. In 2014, the RCMP published a report documenting 1,181 missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada between 1980 and 2012.
  2. Current estimates put the number at around 4,000.
  3. According to the MMIWG report, “There is no reliable estimate of the numbers of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA persons in Canada,” the reason being that “prejudice, stereotypes, and inaccurate beliefs and attitudes…negatively influence police investigations, and therefore death and disappearances are investigated and treated differently from other cases” (1b, 234).
  4. Indigenous women and girls make up about 4% of the female population of Canada. According to the RCMP report, Indigenous women and girls accounted for 16% of all female homicides.
  5. The figure for Saskatchewan is much higher: 55% of the women and girls murdered in Saskatchewan were Indigenous. Saskatchewan has the highest rate of murdered Indigenous women and girls among the provinces.
  6. According to the MMIWG report, “Indigenous girls and women now make up almost 25% of female homicide victims” (1b, 55).
  7. “Indigenous women and girls are 12 times more likely to be murdered or missing than other women in Canada and 16 times more likely than Caucasian women” (MMIW 1b, 55).
  8. The violence has not diminished over the course of the 2.5 years of the National Inquiry. Indigenous women and girls are still being killed in disproportionate numbers and many are still vanishing without a trace.


“The violence the National Inquiry heard amounts to a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit and Métis, which especially targets women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people” (MMIWG 1a, 50).

Genocide, as defined by the United Nations includes:

  • Killing members of the group
  • Causing serious bodily or mental harm to group members
  • Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calcula-ted to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
  • Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
  • Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group

Canadian settler colonialism was and is genocidal. For example:

  • 1880s: John A. Macdonald’s deliberate starvation of Indigenous Peoples on the Plains of Canada
  • 1876 – Today: The racist and sexist Indian Act
  • 1880 – Today: The forced removal of Indigenous children from their families and communities
  • Ongoing: Coerced sterilization of Indigenous women
  • Ongoing: The link between resource extraction projects, man camps, and violence against Indigenous women and girls
  • Ongoing: The impact of resource extraction on First Nations communities: uranium, tar sands, and mercury contamination
  • Ongoing: The vast over-representation of Indigenous women and girls among female homicide victims


It is past time to end and redress this genocide. Here are three of the report’s 231 Calls For Justice. Please read all of them. They are, the report states, “legal imperatives—they are not optional.”

1.1: All levels of government, in partnership with Indigenous Peoples, “to develop and implement a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

9.5: Police services “to ensure that all cases of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people are thoroughly investigated.”

15.1: All Canadians “to denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”


The lives, well-being, and safety of Indigenous women and girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people are still very much at risk. We need to educate ourselves and each other. Then we need to take action. 


  • Attend A Conversation with the Commissioners of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women: Friday June 14, 8:30 – 10 am, CB 308, College Avenue Campus. Three of the Inquiry’s commissioners will share the insights and perspectives found in the report. 
  • Read the report on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. It is available online. Start with the Supplementary Report on Genocide and the Calls For Justice.


CALL FOR JUSTICE 1.1: Call on the federal government to start working immediately (before the federal election) “to develop and implement a National Action Plan to address violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

CALL FOR JUSTICE 15.1: “Denounce and speak out against violence against Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people.”

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Posted by strattof on March 22, 2019

Last Friday, a white supremacist murdered 50 Muslims in a terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch New Zealand during Friday prayers. 48 others were injured.

Today, we at Making Peace Vigil stand in solidarity with Muslim communities in Regina and throughout Canada and the world as we remember the victims of the Christchurch terrorist attack—men, women, and children who were murdered as they worshipped.

As we know, Canada is not immune to such attacks. On January 29, 2017, a gunman opened fire in the Islamic Cultural Centre in Québec City, killing six men while they were praying.

It would seem that one act of terrorism inspires another. Along with neo-Nazi symbols, the New Zealand gunman had the names of other white supremacists etched on his weapons. Those names included that of the Québec City gunman.

Today, March 21, is International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Expressions of solidarity are not enough. We must also actively struggle against anti-Muslim prejudice, also known as Islamophobia, as well as all other forms of white supremacy and hate.



A closed-minded prejudice against or hatred of Muslims and Islam.


Acts of terrorism against Muslims, like the Québec City Mosque Massacre, do not come out of the blue. They occur in a climate of increasing hate. Nor is it just President Donald Trump’s hateful anti-Muslim rhetoric creeping across the border. Canada has produced plenty of its own Islamophobic rhetoric. For example:

2015   The Harper government’s Barbaric Cultural Practices Act passed into law, supported by the Liberals.

2015   Brad Wall identified Syrian refugees with terrorism.

2017   Rallies were held in cities across Canada, including Regina, at which speakers dehumanized Muslims and called for the defeat of a motion in the House of Commons condemning “Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism.”

2018   Canadian Yellow Vests began to rally and spread their anti-immigrant, Islamophobic message. Some Canadian politicians, both federal and provincial, attended these rallies, thus facilitating the promotion of hatred and violence.

2019   Some Canadian politicians, in their initial response to the Christchurch attacks, chose not to use the words ‘Muslim’ or ‘mosque’ or ‘terrorism or ‘Islamophobia’ and hence did not clearly identify or condemn the underlying ideology.

2019   Canada’s Border Security Minister is talking to US officials about closing “a loophole” in Canada’s border agreement with the US so as to prevent asylum seekers entering Canada from the US from claiming refugee protection.


Islamophobia has very real consequences, laying the ground work for anti-Muslim hate crimes and incidents. 

Hate crimes against Muslims in Canada increased by 151% in 2017, the last year for which figures are available.

We are one community and everything we say to try to tear people apart, demonize particular groups, set them against each other—that all has consequences even if we’re not the ones with our fingers on the trigger.” Waleed Aly, an Australian television host, March 15 2019


In 2017, the number of anti-Jewish hate crimes jumped 63%.

In the 1930s and 40s, Jewish people were the main target of Canadian anti-immigration rhetoric. “None is too many” became the policy of the Canadian government toward Jewish refugees during the Nazi era. Canada was thus complicit in the Holocaust.

The way Muslims are represented today, with dehumanizing stereotypes, is similar to the way Jewish people were represented in the 20th century.

Today, Antisemitism remains a pervasive problem in Canada.


From the beginning, Canadian colonialism has been a form of white supremacy: a political, economic, and cultural system in which whites overwhelmingly control power and resources.

Today, white supremacy continues its reign. For example:

  • First Nations reserves occupy only 0.2% of the Canadian land mass. 99.8% of Canada is reserved for settler Canadians.
  • Through the Indian Act, first passed in 1876, the Canadian state continues to claim the right to exercise 100% control over every aspect of the lives of Indigenous peoples.
  • As demonstrated by the acquittal of Gerald Stanley for the killing of Colten Boushie, there is a lack of justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada.


The National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) is calling for January 29, the anniversary of the Québec City Mosque Massacre, to be designated a National Day of Action Against Hate and Intolerance.

To read the letter NCCM sent to the Canadian government in November 2018, google “NCCM national day.”


  1. Let Prime Minister Trudeau know you support the National Council of Canadian Muslims (NCCM) in its call for January 29, the anniversary of the Québec City Mosque Massacre, to be designated a National Day of Action Against Hate and Intolerance: or 613-992-4211.
  2. Call on all political leaders ●to stand up against hate; ●to call incidents such as the Christchurch and Québec City mosque killings what they are: terrorist acts carried out by white supremacists against Muslims; and ●to distance themselves from, as well as condemn, any groups or individuals that engage in anti-immigration rhetoric or hate speech of any kind.
  3. Call out Islamophobic statements and all other forms of hate speech whenever you encounter them.
  4. Visit the NCCM website and learn more about Islamophobia: 
  5. Learn more about Antisemitic hate crimes in North America. Google “briarpatch new Jewish left.”
  6. Learn more about Canadian colonialism by reading
  • The Reconciliation Manifesto, by Arthur Manuel
  • 21 Things You May Not Know About The Indian Act, by Bob Joseph

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