To wreck what is built, claiming others will provide something else in its place, while the passage of time reveals that others will provide even less, is poor planning at best. More to the point, it’s mean or heartless when the wreckers refuse to rebuild what they’ve torn down.
To: Minister Joe Hargrave
cc: Premier Scott Moe; Buckley Belanger (Critic for First Nations and Metis Relations and Highways); Danielle Chartier (Critic for Seniors, Health and Status of Women); David Forbes (Critic for Diversity, Equality and Human Rights); Doyle Vermette (Critic for Northern Saskatchewan)
I’m writing to express my mounting dismay about the cut to STC, following the recent news of Greyhound shutting down its operations in Western Canada.
In March 2017, after your government announced the decision to shut down STC, you said to the media: “We’re optimistic there will be other services provided by private entrepreneurs or a non-profit organization.” This belief that private companies would replace STC services was major part of your message to the public following the announcement of the STC closure.
The fact is, despite your unfounded early optimism, private companies and non-profits have not filled the role that STC did. Over one year since STC’s closure, private companies are only servicing 28 locations, as compared to STC’s former 253 points of service. And now, with Greyhound pulling all of its Western Canada routes, inter-city transportation is about to become even more limited (and therefore more risky) for the people of Saskatchewan.
The devastating impacts of the abrupt closure of STC have been well documented in the media. Assuming you and your colleagues have been paying attention to these stories and numbers, you will know that many people across the province are experiencing tremendous hardship as a result of this decision. Many people have been forced to assume huge risks to their safety and health by hitchhiking or accepting rides from unsafe people, missing or delaying medical appointments, and/or becoming more deeply isolated.
Shutting down STC was a cruel and short-sighted decision that has had a disproportionate impact on people who are already extremely marginalized: Indigenous women, people living with disabilities and chronic illnesses, people living in rural and remote communities including reserves, people living in poverty, and seniors. To pull people’s only source of inter-city transportation from them without firmly securing a suitable alternative is just plain mean.
Minister, if you and your government honestly thought that private companies would fill the void left behind by STC, now that you know that this is not the case (in fact the opposite is happening), you have a responsibility to repeal the decision and re-vamp STC. To know the consequences of this decision, and to stand by it, is inhumane and heartless.
I urge you to take this letter, and others like it, seriously.
Thanks for reading,