There were only two types of days this month. Both were stupid

What Just Happened? | Stephen Whitworth

Happy Labour Day weekend!Or is it? This September Long, the What Just Happens Desk is bummed over how working people are treated in Saskatchewan. For starters, there’s the shocking disrespect inherent to the government’s “A Fair Deal For Teachers” billboards, which the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation calls “misleading and ridiculous”. Then there’s the ongoing funding crisis in health care that sees doctors, nurses and support staff ground into hamburger from stress and disrespect. Where is your fancy sensei now, Saskatchewan Party?

On top of those irritations, the WJHD is far from over the hundreds of good, living-wage, homeowner-supporting jobs our provincial government nuked when it privatized liquor sales earlier this year. The new, often non-unionized private shops will pay lower wages that SLGA stores did, because investors must funnel profits into their bank accounts as God decrees, or something.

Also, Saskatchewan’s minimum wage is still Canada’s lowest at $13/hour. Gross. Good luck to anyone trying to live on that.

More and more, Saskatchewan’s attitude to labour is an embarrassment. We get it, Powers That Be: you care about investors, not workers. That’s why they put so much effort into bashing Justin Trudeau: it directs public anger away from them.

And hey, if reading this makes you angry, don’t shoot the messenger. This Labour Day, an awful lot of good, kind, honest people who want to love this province feel as let down by its political and business leadership as the WJH Desk does.

THURSDAY 10: NDP 2, SASK. PARTY 1Saskatchewan’s NDP celebrated a big political win today, taking two of three constituencies in a rare August by-election. Equally significant, arguably, was the Lumsden-Morse result. While the Saskatchewan Party won 53.3% of the vote in what has been a rural stronghold for it, the far-right Saskatchewan United party came in second with just under 23 per cent support. The SU ran hard on a message of parental rights in the classroom. Not to get ahead of ourselves, but that goofy party’s surprising success set the stage for some big-time shenanigans.

TUESDAY 22: DUNK THE DOUGHHEAD Education Minister Dustin Duncan announced a pair of heinous and deranged policy changes today, wheee! First up, the Province suspended school visits by Planned Parenthood. Greg’s got that nonsense covered in his feature elsewhere this paper. Arguably worse, Duncan announced that henceforth, students under 16 wanting to go by different names or pronouns — i.e., trans kids — must receive permission from their parents.

The move was a hilariously blatant response to Saskatchewan United coming in second in the Lumsden-Morse byelection by a government covering its right-wing flank.

Anyway, as the Ministry will have been made aware repeatedly, this reasonable-sounding-to-dumb-people policy DOES NOT WORK for kids who live in homophobic and transphobic households, of which Saskatchewan has more than its share of. The policy change will dangerously force teachers to “out” trans and nonbinary kids — who exist and are real — to intolerant and possibly hostile parents. I mean, haven’t we had enough “gay exorcisms” in Sask. Schools, churches and homes? We want more? Smooth move, Sask. Party government.

We loved SFL president Lori Johb’s one-sentence-press-release response, by the way: “Outing children as part of a political gamble is violent and despicable.” Word.

THURSDAY 24: TANGERINE SCREAM Donald Trump surrendered in Georgia today on charges he tried to overturn his electoral defeat. Unlike the many other times the Mango Maniac has been indicted, this time he had his mug shot taken. Yeah. He’s no David Bowie.

TUESDAY 29: SHUFFLE DEMONS Scott Moe shuffled his cabinet today, most notably rescuing Dustin Duncan from the education portfolio. From bungling the Legacy Christian Academy scandal to antagonizing teachers with billboards to recklessly interfering with sex education, Duncan’s time in the ministry was anything but auspicious. More like stinky fishes, if you ask the What Just Happened Desk.

Unfortunately, Duncan now becomes the minister responsible for Crown corporations, a portfolio in which a reckless politician could do incredible damage. Will he be the politician to finally destroy SaskTel? We could find out as soon as the Fall Session. Stay tuned! ■