Making Peace Vigil

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Archive for December, 2018

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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