This column returns after a one-issue break to make you sad and angry. Hooray!

What Just Happened? | Stephen Whitworth | May 26, 2022

So much has happened since our last get-together in the April 7 issue! There’s probably too much news to catch up on. Well, let’s see what we can do.

FRIDAY, APRIL 8 Multiple news outlets reported Premier Scott Moe said something eyebrow-raising at a Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce luncheon held in metropolitan Prince Albert today.

“A lot of folks will come to me and say, ‘Hey, you guys [Saskatchewan] have the highest carbon emissions per capita.’ I don’t care. We have the highest exports per capita in Canada as well,” Moe is reported to have said.

“The province is most certainly a part of the solution when it comes to a cleaner, greener economy,” Moe added.

Given the fact the Saskatchewan government shows minimal evidence of any real understanding of climate change, its impacts, or Saskatchewan’s responsibility to be part of the solution, and further given the fact Saskatchewan’s Minister of Energy and Resources is an anti-Trudeau, anti-carbon-tax politician who has in the past illiterately ridiculed public concerns over climate change, probably no one should be surprised.

MONDAY, MAY 2 A leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft suggests the right-wing stacked court is about to overturn federal protections on abortion rights. What did Americans think would happen when they elect Republicans? Republicans hate women, especially women of colour.

SATURDAY 14 Ten black people were killed by a white shooter in an apparent race-motivated massacre in a Buffalo, New York supermarket. The shooter apparently wrote a manifesto that contained racist talking points used by Fox News pundit and possible future Republican U.S. president Tucker Carlson, including the “great replacement” theory. Experts predict any attempt to strengthen gun control will be blocked at any and all levels of government by Republican politicians like always, so if you’re an American reading this and you like dead black people, keep voting for those racists I guess.

WEDNESDAY 18 Opposition NDP MLA Doyle Vermette blew a fuse or 10 today during the second-last day of the Saskatchewan Legislature’s spring session. He was subsequently punted by the speaker after refusing to apologize for his comments, directed at the premier and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Everett Hindley.

It’s a rare sanction but you’d have to be heartless to hold it against him. Vermette has been hammering the Saskatchewan Party government this session over what he charges is its inaction and apathy on Saskatchewan’s suicide crisis. After reading the names of families impacted by suicide that had previously attended question period, he blasted the government:

“They wanted the Premier to stand,” said Vermette. “Why didn’t you just tell them yesterday you didn’t care about them? And why did the minister … Why don’t you just tell the truth and say you don’t give a shit about anyone?”

Government Speaker Randy Weekes later asked Vermette to apologize. When Vermette refused, Weekes gave him the boot and a one-day suspension.

Aside from the obvious urgency of Saskatchewan’s suicide crisis (which is worth a hell of a lot more coverage in our paper than these few paragraphs in a snarky news round-up column), this feels like a good time to remind readers that the work Saskatchewan’s MLAs do is important, even (especially?) when debates get so heated someone needs a time out. Aggressive Opposition politicians can help focus the government of the day on issues they might not be doing enough on. This is democracy, and you know what? It deserves support besides us all casting ballots every few years. Grassroots political donations matter. If suicide prevention — or environmental protection, or LGBTQ+ issues, or whatever — as are important to everyone as it sounds like on social media, we’ve all gotta start donating to politicians and/or political parties. And yes, I know not everyone can afford to, so if you can, get on it!

Money talks, Facebook virtue-signaling walks. Get in the habit of making political donations. It’s your democratic duty, ya cheap bums.

THURSDAY 19 In other Saskatchewan political news, outgoing Saskatchewan New Democratic Party leader Ryan Meili announced he will resign from his seat on July 1. Meili, who won the party’s leadership in 2018, earlier announced he’d be stepping down as leader following the NDP’s shattering Feb. 15 Athabasca byelection loss and somewhat lukewarm support in the NDP’s fall convention. The party will choose its next leader at a convention planned for June.

FRIDAY 20 After winning a measly couple of ballots over half those cast in the United Conservative Party’s leadership review vote, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced he’s out. Ding dong, the witch is dead — but who will be Canada’s worst premier now? With Manitoba’s Brian Pallister long gone and Ontario’s Doug Ford fighting a provincial election, pundit eyes from coast to coast turn to Scott Moe and ask, “Who’s this guy, again?”

TUESDAY 24 And let’s end on a crappy note. As this paper was going to press, 19 elementary school students and one teacher were murdered in Uvalde, Texas by a now-dead 18-year-old shooter who also killed his grandmother and wounded two police officers. Our very rough deadline calculations suggest this is the U.S.’s 251st mass shooting in 2022. Given we have to get this thing to the printers in the next hour I literally don’t have the time to add up the total deaths (there were 202 by the end of April), but don’t worry about it — there will be more by the time you read this. That’s a guarantee. Anyway, U.S. Republicans continue to fight gun control measures at all levels of government so if you’re an American reading this and you like dead children, keep voting for those guys I guess.