Making Peace Vigil

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Archive for May, 2017

SAVE STC

Posted by strattof on May 25, 2017

As part of its austerity budget, the Wall government is eliminating the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC). According to the government, it is a drain on provincial coffers as it has to be subsidized.

A Crown Corporation, STC belongs to the people of Saskatchewan. Its mandate is not to make a profit, but to provide an essential public service. This it has been doing ever since 1946, the year STC was founded.

People travel on the bus across Saskatchewan: to go to work, for medical procedures and appointments, to visit family and friends, for shopping, to attend university or college classes. For many, STC is the only option for long-distance transportation.

We must save STC. The matter is urgent. STC is scheduled to cease operations on May 31, less than one week from today.

WHY WE MUST SAVE STC: 8 GOOD REASONS

  1. THE COMMON GOOD: STC serves the common good. It provides safe and affordable transportation for people who are unable to afford to drive a car, allowing them to travel to work, to appointments, to visit relatives—to do all the things other people take for granted. 70% of STC riders are low-income.
  2. HEALTH: STC allows our healthcare system to function efficiently and effectively and helps to keep us healthy.
  • 300 rural cancer patients use STC to get to appointments.
  • STC delivers medical supplies to people, lab specimens to hospitals for analysis, and water samples to the Disease Control Lab for testing.
  1. HIGHWAY SAFETY: Public transportation is 10 times safer than driving in Canada. STC has an excellent safety record and is known for the professionalism of its drivers.
  2. HIGHWAY OF TEARS: Indigenous peoples are among the frequent users of STC. In BC, the absence of a rural bus service resulted in the Highway of Tears. Did the Sask Party government take into account the cost to Indigenous peoples of eliminating STC?
  3. THE ENVIRONMENT: STC is good for the environment. Instead of 30 people using their own individual cars, 30 people travel on the same bus, thus reducing carbon emissions. Saskatchewan has the highest per capita CO2 emission rates in Canada, three times the national average.
  • The Saskatchewan government should be investing more money in public transportation, not less.
  • We all should be using public transportation, rather than driving our private vehicles.
  1. NEWLY RELEASED PRISONERS: Many newly-released prisoners rely on STC to return to their communities, especially those who come from the north. Many of these prisoners are on remand and have not even been convicted. Lack of transportation will separate them from their families and communities for even longer periods.
  2. LIBRARY SERVICES: Kudos to the Wall government for restoring the funding it cut to the province’s libraries. Those funds will not, however, be sufficient on their own to save the unique and widely admired Saskatchewan Library System. The reason? Because that system depends on STC to transport library materials (books, journals, DVDs) inexpensively and efficiently between libraries scattered all over the province.
  3. CONNECTIONS: Serving 253 communities in very corner of our vast province, STC connects us: rural and urban, southern and northern, First Nations and settler communities.

WASTEFUL SPENDING

According to the Wall government, the annual subsidy to STC is $17 million. This is the government’s main rationale for eliminating STC: that the subsidy is wasteful spending.

Here are some examples of REALLY WASTEFUL Wall government spending:

$2.1 billion            Overpayment on GTH land deal

$120 million          Consultants’ fees 2009 – 2014

$115 million          Loss due to liquor privatization

$40 million            LEAN program

$15 million            Defective Smart Meters

WRONG PRIORITIES

Meanwhile, the Wall government has reduced the tax rate for corporations and high income individuals—tax breaks that will mean $107.5 million in lost revenue to the province this year.

Without these tax breaks, we could restore $17 million in funding to STC and still have plenty left over for other public services that have been cut, including funeral services for poor people and children’s school supplies for people on social assistance.

A government that has money for tax breaks but not for social services is a government with a wrong sense of priorities.

SAVE STC

Act now to save STC. The matter is urgent. The government plans to end STC passenger service on May 31, less than one week from today.

  • Let Premier Brad Wall know you oppose the elimination of STC and why: premier@gov.sk.ca or 306-787-9433.
  • Send the same message to the Minister responsible for STC, Joe Hargrave: pacarltonmla@sasktel.net or 306-787-7339.
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CANADA 150: 150 PLUS YEARS OF COLONIALISM

Posted by strattof on May 11, 2017

Kent Monkman’s The Scream is part of an exhibition of paintings Monkman created especially for Canada’s 150th birthday. A brightly-coloured painting, it shows what the last 150 years have meant for Indigenous peoples in Canada.

  • In the foreground, terrified Indigenous children are being wrenched from the arms of their distraught mothers by red-clad Mounties and black-robed priests and nuns: agents of the Canadian state.
  • In the background, three children are running for the woods, escaping the gaze of a Mountie standing on a porch directing the operation.
  • The children are wearing clothes of today, indicating that the mass abduction of Indigenous children from their families and communities by the Canadian state is ongoing.
  • Black clouds hang ominously over the left hand side of the scene. The sky brightens on the right—the direction the children are heading.

This is what the last 150 years have meant for Indigenous peoples in Canada: colonization, broken treaties, genocide, and resistance.

THE HISTORY OF CANADA: THE ABDUCTION OF INDIGENOUS CHILREN

The abduction of Indigenous children is a thread that runs through Canadian history, though it is usually hidden. Why bring up this inconvenient truth when we are supposed to be celebrating?

We need to know this history because nothing has changed. The abduction of Indigenous children is still going on.

RESIDENTIAL SCHOOLS: 1876 – 1996

Many Treaties with First Nations, including Treaty 4 which takes in most of southern Saskatchewan, promised to establish schools on reserves. Instead, the Canadian government implemented the residential school system.

  • John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, was a passionate advocate for residential schools. In his view “Indian children should be withdrawn as much as possible from the parental influence,” for if they stay on the reserve they are “surrounded by savages.”
  • Established shortly after Confederation, 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. Many of them, along with their parents, endured the brutality of forced separation.
  • At least 6,000 children died at the schools from malnutrition, disease, and abuse ‒ a higher death rate than that of Canadians who enlisted to fight in World War II. Many of the children were buried unceremoniously in unmarked graves.
  • In the words of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the residential school system was “an integral part of a conscious policy of cultural genocide.”

A PATTERN OF ABDUCTION

The genocidal policy of abducting Indigenous children from their families did not end with the residential school system. Rather, it carried on under a difference guise. Indeed, it carries on today.

THE 60s SCOOP: EARLY 1960s – MID 1980s

In the 1950s, the federal government started to close residential schools, deemed too costly even though they were grossly underfunded. In the early 1960s, provincial social workers, authorized by the federal government and following on the heels of the Mounties and priests, began to descend on Indigenous communities and to “scoop up” the children, including newborns. The children were then placed in foster care or adopted out mainly to white families in Canada, the US, and Europe.

  • An estimated 20,000 Indigenous children were scooped.
  • The number of Indigenous children in care skyrocketed.
  • Some children experienced physical and psychological abuse from their adoptive families.
  • Incalculable damage was inflicted on all the victims of this government policy, including loss of family, loss of language, and loss of culture.

ABDUCTION OF INDIGENOUS CHILDREN: TODAY

The federal government continues to underfund education and child welfare on First Nations. Provincial social workers continue to abduct Indigenous children from their families.

  • First Nations children on reserves receive 33% – 50% less funding than a child in a provincial school.
  • There is, in addition, 22% less funding for First Nations child welfare services.
  • Today, there are more Indigenous children in government care than there were at the height of the residential school system.

LEARN THE TRUTH ABOUT CANADIAN HISTORY

ART

  • Visit online Kent Monkman’s exhibition Shame and Prejudice: A Story of Resilience.
  • The Canada 150 art featured in this pamphlet is the work of Chippewar, also known as Jay Soule. He calls on us to “stickerbomb Canada” with his Canada 150 stickers: http://www.chippewar.com/category/free-sticker-packs
  • Watch Gord Downie’s The Secret Path: http://secretpath.ca/
  • Visit the Alex Janvier exhibition at the Mackenzie Art Gallery, opening May 20.

BOOKS

Available at Regina Public Library:

  • Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
  • The Inconvenient Indian, by Thomas King
  • Clearing the Plains, by James Daschuk
  • Unsettling Canada: A National Wake-Up Call, by Arthur Manuel and Grand Chief Ronald M. Derrickson
  • Children of the Broken Treaty, by Charlie Angus

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MAKING PEACE–SINCE 2007

Posted by strattof on May 11, 2017

On May 4 2017, MAKING PEACE VIGIL celebrated its 10th birthday. Every Thursday, from noon to 12:30 pm, we stand on the corner of Scarth Street and 11th Avenue handing out pamphlets on peace and justice issues.

We haven’t missed a week in 10 years. If for nothing else, we get full marks for stubborn perseverance.

  • Thanks so much for taking our pamphlets.
  • A special thank you to those who have stopped and discussed issues with us.
  • Let us know what other issues you would like us to examine.
  • Should you ever be free on a Thursday at noon, please join us.

P   E   A   C   E 

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

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

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

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

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.—Major General Smedely Butler, US Marine Corps

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

J   U   S   T   I   C   E

We are the 99%.—Occupy Movement

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

Feed the hungry. Give drink to the thirsty. Clothe the naked. House the homeless.from the Christian Corporal Works of Mercy

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.Martin Luther King

It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest.Nelson Mandela

The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.—Anatole France

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

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

MAKING PEACE VIGIL

  • Bearing witness to our society’s involvement in violence and injustice
  • Committing ourselves to creative action for change

EVERY THURSDAY until  breaks out

FROM noon to 12:30 pm

ON SCARTH STREET AT 11TH AVENUE

EVERYONE IS WELCOME

The vigil takes a stand on a range of issues, including:

  • Canada’s involvement in war and the arms industry
  • Canadian Pension Plan investments in corporations making weapons
  • Saskatchewan’s involvement in the uranium industry
  • The suspension of human and civil rights in the name of national security
  • The Canadian government’s failure to keep its treaties with First Nations
  • Social inequity in housing and employment in Regina
  • Racism in Canada and elsewhere
  • Violence against women in Canada and worldwide
  • The lack of a national early learning and child care system
  • The unequal distribution of wealth both in Canada and worldwide
  • War against the earth systems that give us life

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

On Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MPeaceVigil/

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

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