“At a time when the provincial government is scrambling to find money for public services, it doesn’t make sense to sell off profitable liquor stores.” — Bob Bymoen, SGEU President
Regina (08 Dec. 2015) — The provincial government’s decision to cut millions in funding from post-secondary education and health care in order to offset a budget deficit is short sighted and undermines public services that Saskatchewan families rely on, according to the Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU/NUPGE).
Among the institutions affected by these clawbacks are Saskatchewan Polytechnic, Gabriel Dumont Institute and the seven Regional Colleges.
“At a time when we are experiencing a skilled labour shortage, it doesn’t make sense to cut skills training,” said SGEU President Bob Bymoen. “It’s counterproductive to cut funding from institutions that provide job-focused training to people and get them into the work force.”
“We don’t yet know the impact these cuts will have,” he added, “but we anticipate they’ll lead to program cuts, which will hurt young people trying to get the training they need.”
The Saskatoon Health Region has also announced a plan that will erode health services and cut jobs, leaving many families concerned about job losses during the holidays during the holidays.
Cuts a sign of things to come as Saskatchewan government plans to lose $32.6 million
These cuts are a sign of things to come if the provincial government moves ahead with its plan to close 40 public liquor stores, says Bymoen.
“Profits from public liquor sales help pay for Saskatchewan hospitals, schools, and highways,” he says. “At a time when the provincial government is scrambling to find money for public services, it doesn’t make sense to sell off profitable liquor stores.”
The 40 SLGA stores that are slated for closure earned profits of $32.6 million in 2014.
“Eliminating 40 public liquor stores will drain millions in revenue from Saskatchewan’s public coffers,” he says. “If the government privatizes liquor sales, Saskatchewan families will be seeing more cuts to quality public services that they rely on.”
Loss of $8 million since government privatized four small town liquor stores
Since the government closed four small town liquor stores in 2014 and opened four new private stores, government revenue from liquor sales has declined for the first time in at least a decade. This year’s net income is $8 million less than the year before.
“As we predicted, Saskatchewan’s new private liquor stores are draining money away from public coffers,” Bymoen says. “The profits the four new private stores generated could have been used to prevent the cuts to post-secondary education and health. Instead that money has been handed to corporations.”
“Where is the government’s long-term planning?” Bymoen added. “Public liquor stores earn high profits for Saskatchewan people. We call on the government to stop the sell off of liquor stores and keep our public services strong.”
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 360,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE