NDP Calls on Federal Government to Reinstate Public Bus Service in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan MPs Jolibois and Benson call on the Federal Liberals to reinstate the STC in order to protect women in the province.

Georgina Joilbois (Desnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River) and I wrote a letter to three female federal Ministers urging the federal government to take action against the closure of the Saskatchewan Transit Company (STC).

You can read the full text of our letter below or download the pdf.

July 13, 2017

Honourable Carolyn Bennett
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON

Honourable Patty Hajdu
Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON

Honourable Maryam Monsef
Minister of Status of Women
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON

Dear Ministers:

We write to urge you  to coordinate an effective federal response to the concerns articulated by seven prominent Women’s Groups – Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women, Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan,  Saskatchewan Aboriginal Women’s Circle Corporation, Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group, Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Women’s Committee, Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan and National Farmers Union Women’s Advisory –pertaining to the closure of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC).

The STC’s role as a safe, reliable mode of public transportation from isolated communities in the north to services and safe spaces in urban centers has not been replaced and leaves many people vulnerable and stranded.  In Saskatchewan’s isolated communities, the STC had been described as a “lifeline”, offering a viable escape for women fleeing from domestic violence ( http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/paths-domestic-violence-june-1-1.4141284 ). The absence of a publicly-owned bus service connecting our rural and isolated communities continues to endanger the lives of many women, particularly women who are Indigenous ( http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/saskatchewan/women-organizations-write-to-federal-government-stc-closure-1.4194775 ).

On July 6, 2017, your Government announced that it will host one stop in Saskatchewan as part of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIW); it will take place in Saskatoon in October ( http://www.mmiwg-ffada.ca/files/news-release-hearings-fall-2017.pdf ). 


Kimberly Jonathan, Vice-Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, fears that those living in isolated and northern communities will face significant barriers to participate in the MMIW Inquiry, citing the high cost of travelling to Saskatoon without affordable public transportation http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatoon/fsin-chief-upset-about-mmiw-inquiry-1.4192703 .

Your Government consistently stresses the importance of incorporating a gender-based analysis into public policy-making to consider potential impacts that legislation could have on diverse segments of the Canadian population. You now have a tremendous opportunity to put your words into action by heeding the warnings of Women’s Groups who have alerted you to the impacts that the closure of the STC continues to have on women in Saskatchewan. Your support is urgently needed.

You have also committed to a “renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous Peoples, based on recognition, rights, respect, co-operation, and partnership” https://www.liberal.ca/realchange/a-new-nation-to-nation-process/ . A robust public transportation system connecting isolated Indigenous communities would allow many more to participate in the MMIW Inquiry and would demonstrate that your government is actively pursuing pathways to reconciliation.

We urge you to consult with the Women’s Groups mentioned above as you consider the role that your Government could play in advocating for the restoration of these vital public services in our province. The closure of the STC is placing women’s lives at risk, further isolates northern, rural and Indigenous communities, and places unnecessary limitations on the mobility of the poor and disenfranchised.

Thank you for your consideration.  We look forward to your reply.

 

Sincerely,

  Sheri Benson signature

Sheri Benson                                                
MP for Saskatoon West            
NDP Critic for Labour                                                     

Georgina Jolibois signature

 

 

 

Georgina Jolibois                                                
MP for Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River                                                
NDP Critic for Western Economic Diversification Canada

CC: (Hon) Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice; (Hon) Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport; Sheila Malcolmson, MP, NDP Critic for Status of Women; Romeo Saganash, MP, NDP Critic for Indigenous and Northern Affairs; Cindy Hanson, President, Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women; Jo-Anne Dusel, Executive Director, Provincial Association of Transition Houses and Services of Saskatchewan; Judy Hughes, Past-President, Saskatchewan Aboriginal Women’s Circle Corporation; Ann Batisee, Executive Director, Temiskaming Native Women’s Support Group; Lori Johb, Saskatchewan Federation of Labour Women’s Committee; Sue Delaney, Elizabeth Fry Society of Saskatchewan; Coral Sproule, Women’s President, National Farmers Union Women’s Advisory