Making Peace Vigil

Standing up for peace


Posted by strattof on January 3, 2014

It’s a new year, a time for new beginnings.

Let’s reflect on the changes we need to bring about in our country, province, and city to make life better for all Canadians. 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?

Making the world a better place for all who dwell here


1. Reverse its decision on residential development right next to Co-op Refinery.
On December 16, City Council approved developing a new neighbournood, Somerset, between the Evraz steel mill and Co-op Refinery. Concerned about air quality, the Regina-Qu’Appelle Health Region, the provincial Ministry of the Environment, and the Co-op Refinery itrself all oppose the plan.

On December 24, there was a huge explosion at Co-op Refinery – the fourth explosion and/or fire at the facility in two years.

Kudos to the four councillors who voted against the Somerset development: Sharron Bryce, John Findura, Shawn Fraser, and Barbara Young.

Let’s resolve to help the development’s supporters – Mayor Michael Fougere and the six remaining councillors – come to their senses.

2. Apply the standard definition of “affordability” to rental housing.
Sky-rocketing rents have caused a homelessness crisis in Regina. The city’s shelter system is filled to capacity.

According to the standard definition of affordable housing, “the cost of adequate shelter should not exceed 30% of household income.” Yet the city’s new housing plan uses a “made in Regina” definition of affordable rental housing as “housing with rents at or below average market rent” – rents which are out of reach of many.

Let’s resolve to address our homelessness crisis without such linguistic/political trickery.

3. Ban the cosmetic use of pesticides.
Over 170 Canadian municipalities have banned pesticides. But not Regina. In 2002, a citizens’ campaign to introduce a ban ended with City Council voting against it.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, “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.”

In Regina, let’s resolve to give the word of the Canadian Cancer Society more weight than that of the pesticide industry lobby.


1. Pass rent control legislation.
Current legislation only requires landlords to give one year’s notice of rent increases. The amount of increase is left to the discretion of the landlord.

2. Raise the minimum wage to $17 per hour.
The minimum wage is $10 per hour – not enough to allow a full-time minimum wage worker to afford a one bedroom apartment in Regina. $17 per hour would give workers a “living wage” – just enough money to meet basic needs.

3. Increase natural resource royalties and taxes.
Mexico receives a 49.9% rate of return from mining, while Sweden receives a 28% return. Saskatchewan, by contrast, receives a mere 10% return from potash and 9.8% return from uranium. The natural resources of Saskatchewan belong to the people of Saskatchewan – all generations of us.

Let’s resolve to tell our MLAs to make life more affordable and equitable for all the people of Saskatchewan.


1. Make Canada a more equal society.
The gap between rich and poor is growing in Canada. More unequal societies have more health and social problems. Here are three measures Ottawa can take to reduce the gap:
●Develop a long-term national affordable housing program.
●Introduce quality universal early childhood education.
●Properly fund First Nations education.

2. Set serious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and develop a plan for meeting them.
On the 2013 Climate Change Performance Index, Canada ranks 58th out of 61. We are one of the top ten CO2 emitters in the world. To protect tar sands development, the Harper government has gutted environmental regulations.

3. Free Omar Khadr
Khadr should never have been imprisoned in the first place. Only 15 years old when he committed the crimes he is accused of, he is, under international law, a child soldier.

Let’s resolve to tell our MPs to respect equality, the health of our planet, and international law.

We look forward in the hope that one day soon




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