The recent decision of the Government of Saskatchewan to privatize the remaining public liquor stores in Saskatchewan is yet another example of the reckless and careless leadership that this government has shown time and time again.
Publicly owned liquor stores are profitable corporations for which the revenue is used to fund the critically important public services like healthcare, education, and infrastructure that benefit every citizen in this province. Despite economic surpluses, driven in part by the revenue earned by public liquor stores, the Government of Saskatchewan has allowed public services to crumble, with healthcare workers consistently working understaffed, education funding slashed and crumbling highways across the province.
While this government has shown that it is fundamentally unable to manage the economics of a profitable province, the decision to arbitrarily privatize a profitable entity shows a shocking lack of foresight and highlights the inherent cruelty that they have displayed at any given opportunity. Economics aside, these public liquors stores provide hundreds of stable jobs for people who live in Saskatchewan. These jobs provide gainful employment to members of our community, allow them to support their families and participate in their communities. In a province which offers the second lowest minimum wage in the country, jobs which provide a living wage are critically important to keeping people out of poverty.
The Government of Saskatchewan is choosing to funnel the revenue earned from public liquor stores into the pockets of wealthy corporations, including those who are earning record profits while Saskatchewan families struggle to put food on the table in the face of rising grocery prices. This decision takes dollars from the pockets of workers and families and places it in the hands of some of the wealthiest corporations in Canada. This is not growth that works for everyone.
SEIU-West stands in solidarity with the SGEU workers impacted by this reckless and cruel decision. Residents of Saskatchewan who wish to make their voices heard can take the following steps to support SGEU workers: