Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace

PROVINCIAL ELECTION: 5 QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES

Posted by strattof on October 27, 2011

1

Are you in favour of legislation banning nuclear waste storage in Saskatchewan?  

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO), a corporation funded by the nuclear industry, is targeting northern Saskatchewan as a possible site for permanent underground storage of all Canada’s nuclear waste. The waste–to date, 1.8 million spent fuel bundles totaling 40,000 tonnes–has been produced by nuclear reactors in Ontario, Quebec, and New Brunswick. It is currently stored in above-ground, on-site containers where it can be closely monitored. It would require 20,000 truckloads to move the waste to northern Saskatchewan.  

Nuclear waste is extremely hazardous:

  • It remains radioactive for hundreds of thousands of years.
  • Its radioactivity will outlast any storage container.
  • Trucking nuclear waste across Canada carries high-level risks.
  • No other country has approved of such a storage facility. 
  • Manitoba and Quebec have placed a ban on the importation of nuclear waste.

For more information on nuclear waste, go to www.knownuclearwaste.ca and www.cleangreensask.ca 

2

What will your party do to solve the housing crisis in Saskatchewan?

Saskatchewan has a rapidly growing homeless population. ●In Regina, the average number of occupied homeless shelter beds rose by 44.5% between 2008 and 2010. ●In 2010, over 3,400 men, women, youth, and families used one or more of the city’s shelter services. ●Many others double bunked, couch surfed, or lived in overcrowded, unhealthy conditions. Some even lived in cars or garages. These latter groups could easily double the number of homeless people in Regina.

The biggest causes of homelessness are

1.   Financial: loss of a job, rent increases, a fixed income;  

2.   Lack of affordable housing. 

Relying on the private sector to solve the housing crisis will only send more people out into the cold. The Saskatchewan housing market has been unregulated for 20 years. If it were in the interest of the private sector to provide affordable housing, it would already have done so and there would be no housing crisis.

What is needed is government intervention in the housing market.  Here is what the provincial government can do to solve the province’s housing crisis:  

  • Pass rent control legislation to prevent exploitative rent increases.
  • Build affordable homes and rental accommodation.
  • Allocate 3% of all natural resource royalties to affordable housing.
  • Put pressure on the federal government to develop a national affordable housing strategy.

Safe, secure housing is a human right, protected under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, [and] housing.”

What kind of province do we want to live in?

Saskatchewan is experiencing unprecedented prosperity. But clearly the economic good times have not delivered equally good results for all. We could house everyone if we had the will to do so.

3

Could you live on $784 a month?

That’s the amount a single person with a disability on social assistance receives: $459 for shelter; $255 for food, clothing and other personal needs; $50 disability allowance; and $20 for transportation=$784.

$26 a day: that’s what it comes to! Set aside $15.30 for rent, and it leaves $10.70 for everything else: food, clothing, transportation, medication, laundry and other household expenses.

In 2009, the provincial government launched the Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability (SAID) program, as an alternative to social assistance. SAID has one big advantage over social assistance: recipients are not required to reapply every year.  

However, SAID has two major problems. First, not all people with disabilities are allowed to register in the program. Second, SAID recipients are still living on $26 a day.

For more information on disability income in Saskatchewan, visit the website of Saskatchewan Disability Income Support Coalition (DISC): http://www.saskdisc.ca/

4

Should royalty rates be raised on corporations extracting Saskatchewan’s natural resources?

We, the people of Saskatchewan, own the province’s natural resources. Yet it is private corporations that are getting most of the benefit from their development.

In 2010, PotashCorp earned $1.8 billion on its potash mines in Saskatchewan, but paid only $76.5 million in taxes and royalties. That’s a mere 5% of PotashCorp earnings!

Oil revenue is also low, as can be seen by comparing it with the share of oil revenue collected by other governments: Venezuela 89%; Nigeria 77%; California 53%; UK 52%; Alberta 39%; Saskatchewan 15.2%.

5

Will you push for a ban on cosmetic pesticides in Saskatchewan?

‘Research linking pesticides to serious health issues is significant and growing. Leukemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, breast, brain, prostate, lung, pancreatic, stomach, kidney and other forms of cancer have all been linked to pesticides. Learning disorders, reproductive issues and acute health effects are also associated to pesticides. By eliminating the non-essential use of pesticides, exposure to these harmful chemicals will drastically decrease, contributing to better overall public and environmental health.’ —Canadian Cancer Society

Five Canadian provinces have banned pesticides: Quebec, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick. But not Saskatchewan.  In our province it is still legal to use dangerous pesticides on lawns and gardens.

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