Fix Saskatchewan's Public Transit Crisis
Addendum to Sept 6 2018 Letter to Prime Minister Trudeau
September 6th, 2018 - 10:34am
In May 2017, the provincial government shuttered Saskatchewan’s intra-provincial public transit service, leaving many residents without access to safe, affordable and reliable public transportation. For Saskatchewanians, the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC) symbolized more than a service that connected our people to critical, life-saving services; it was a safe and reliable way to connect us to each other. In fact, we’ve seen people who could no longer get to their medical appointments in a neighbouring community without the STC. They are left scrambling to figure out how they will continue with their treatments or access services they rely on in other communities.
In July 2017, three of your Ministers – the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, and the Honourable Maryam Monsef – received a letter echoing the sentiments expressed by seven distinguished women’s organizations, and alerting them to the devastating impacts that the STC closure would have on women, Indigenous peoples, and those living in rural and remote communities. Reconciliation, women’s rights, accessibility, and public safety are all jeopardized by the public transit void in Saskatchewan. We’ve got to fix this now.
On January 31, 2018, the Honourable Navdeep Bains indicated in Question Period that your government was working on this issue, and was committed to “tak[ing] the appropriate steps that are required and needed to address [it] in a meaningful way”. After receiving no update on the steps your government is taking, a letter was sent to Minister Bains in March 2018. People are suffering, and yet there is still no evidence of any attempt from your government to intervene, or provide relief.
As we have seen with the closure of Greyhound in Western Canada, the private sector cannot be relied upon to fulfill Canada’s public transportation needs. We must not let history repeat itself. Canada has an obligation to avoid another Highway of Tears.
Again, we urge your government to give this matter the attention it demands. Please devise a federal plan to restore the public transportation routes previously serviced by the STC in Saskatchewan, and the routes previously serviced by Greyhound in Western Canada.
Questions regarding the STC closure were asked in the House of Commons on: September 22, 2017, December 1, 2017, January 31, 2017, and, May 4, 2018.
An adjournment proceeding speech on the STC closure was delivered in the House of Commons on November 2, 2017.