A large crowd of people, mainly union members from across Saskatchewan, held a variety of signs with clever phrases as sporadic chanting was belted out at a rally in front of the legislative building on Wednesday.
More than 800 unionized workers were present to protest a number of issues surrounding the provincial government, including potential wage cuts, job losses, privatization and what some called money mismanagement.
“We need to wake up the rest of the province that hasn’t started to listen to this stuff yet and to remind the people that are sitting on the government side of that house that people do matter and they need to listen,” said Stacey Landin, President of CUPE Local 9 representing City of Moose Jaw workers.
Flags of various unions flapped in the chilly wind while the crowd chanted things like “no more cuts”, which was met with a chorus of applause.
Some people held giant cardboard cutout faces of various SaskParty ministers. Andrea Book was one of the sign holders who was down from the University of Saskatchewan.
“We were up a lot of a money and now we’re down a lot,” she said in relation to the Wall government’s finances.
Sean Polreis also came down from the U of S, from the College of Medicine working in faculty development. His reason for attending the rally was simple.
“(To) protest against the government-proposed cuts to public health worker salaries and basically how they’ve mismanaged the economy,” he explained.
“My hope is that rallies like this will draw maybe more apathetic people out to the cause and make them realize the severity of what might be happening.”
Controversy at rally
The crowd was also creative, and maybe even controversial, with some of the props brought to show their displeasure with the government. Coffins and umbrellas had their own symbolic meanings.
So did a makeshift jail cell with dummies dressed in black and white jail attire with the same cardboard faces of ministers used as heads.
Economy Minister Jeremy Harrison, whose face was included, called the move extreme.
“Folks who are in this building I genuinely believe, whether in opposition or government, are honourable members who are here acting in good faith to do the best job they can,” he said. “To have kind of that extreme sort of rhetoric ‘lock them up’ and kind of literal manifestations of people being locked up behind bars, it’s just kind of the extreme sort of thing I think that turns a lot of people off politics quite frankly.”
The opposition NDP’s David Forbes agreed there’s no room for that kind of thing. This after NDP interim leader Trent Wotherspoon spoke briefly at the rally.
Around 800 unionized workers show up at the Legislature for a rally against Wall Government and what they call money mismanagement pic.twitter.com/sIHK0S5qvd
— Kevin Martel (@KevinMartel) March 8, 2017