Saskatchewan people now have the opportunity to say YES to strengthening public services and Crown corporations, and to send that message to politicians in the lead-up to the next provincial election.
Own it! Saskatchewan belongs to everyone is a new project that will give citizens a voice in a province-wide discussion about the future of public services and Crowns.
“Public services help keep our province strong. This project is about making sure we find ways to improve public services now for everyone, and keeping what we’ve built secure for our kids and grandkids,” says Larry Hubich, president of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour.
“Every family and every community in Saskatchewan benefits from public services and Crown corporations. If the Sask. Party government is planning to sell off those services and put those benefits at risk, everyone should know what is at stake, and have a chance to take part in the conversation – and to stop costly privatization schemes,” Hubich adds.
Own it! invites Saskatchewan people to learn more about privatization, share their views, sign a petition to stop the sell-off of public services and Crown corporations, and organize in their communities.
“The risk to public services is real, and it’s time to speak out,” says Hubich, “The Sask. Party government is quietly selling off services and assets it has taken us decades to build. Once those public assets are gone, they’re gone. Money that flowed into our shared revenues will go to profits for out-of-province corporations – with no public accountability,” he says.
Own it! will help raise awareness of what is at risk if we continue to move toward privatizing public services, adds Tom Graham, president of CUPE Saskatchewan. Privatization is already driving up costs and hurting local economies. Selling off hospital laundry services to Alberta-based K-Bro Linens, for example, will drain $3.7 million out of the Prince Albert regional economy. “This shows that when public services are privatized, communities lose family-supporting jobs and the positive economic spin-offs they create,” he adds.
Costs skyrocket when public service work is privatized, says Bob Bymoen, SGEU president. For example, consulting costs have risen by more than 400 per cent in the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways over the past five years. And private companies charge hourly rates that are twice or more the amount that a public service worker would be paid for doing the job. “That’s not good news for Saskatchewan families, who foot the bill for the extra costs of contracting out,” he adds.
Everyone is invited to join the Own it! project to speak out for public services that are affordable, that cover everyone, and that are the best they can be. Information and resources are available at OwnYourSask.ca.
“Own it! organizers in communities across the province will be encouraging people to take action so that the public services and Crowns we rely on and benefit from today will be there tomorrow,” says Hubich.