Greed and Envy

I don’t normally blog about work, because people can be pretty sensitive to coworkers talking about things to do with work, online. Salaries and earnings are especially sensitive, as many people stake personal worth, and social standing on the figures.

It’s worth pointing out though that the University of Regina has made an effort to be more transparent about how much it is paying its top-earning staff and faculty. The figures had been public before, but now they are online for more immediate perusal.

http://www.uregina. ca/orp/statistics/faculty-staff.html

The list shows almost everyone at the University making $100,000/year or more, each July.

I expect highly educated people in a specialized field to be making a lot of money, but frankly some of the salaries shocked me. Considering most of my coworkers took a pay cut last contract negotiation this year, it would have been possible to get significant pay raises with a small <0.5% cut to the top-earning staff and faculty instead. Cost of living isn’t being kept up with, by many staff in the CUPE 5791 union. While students suffer from increasing tuition as the province fails to fund the university enough, it’s not fair to be asking front-line staff to take pay cuts while more than 400 other people make 3 to 10 times more than a typical student wage. It is income inequality beyond the pale.

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SaskParty “just plain mean” to not reconsider STC cut

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,
Shayna Stock

PCC Favours Autocratic Use of Bylaw

Dear Mx. Ross:

I was disappointed to hear that PCC doesn’t see value in having peaceful protesters in the Park on Canada Day, a day where we celebrate Canadian values protected by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Freedom of Assembly is one of those rights, and a bylaw or even a provincial law does not overrule the fundamental right First Nations people and their allies have to peacefully petition the government in front of the provincial government building.

Police time can be better spent on our national holiday with assisting people in the crowd as they did for me 4 years ago, saving my life. If they’d instead been hauling off people to jail for the non-illegal act of pushing the government to meet reasonable demands for improvements to our justice system, I would not be here to point this out to you. I consider the overnight camping bylaw to be intended to prevent people from camping for fun, or necessity due to lack of social housing, not as an autocratic excuse for police to defend the government from citizen protest movements.

You could have moved the event to where the teepee was set up in front of the Legislature last year, and saved the time of an inappropriate press release to pressure Regina Police into doing the wrong thing.

Thank-you for your consideration.
Sincerely,
John Klein

No Justice In Wascana Park

A camp, Justice For our Stolen Children, was set up 111 days ago in Wascana Park in Regina outside the Legislature to pressure the government to fix systemic problems in the justice system which have led to widely publicized cases of injustice regarding indigenous victims of violence. Today Regina Police arrested peaceful protesters who refused to leave the park, and the government refused to meet with the protesters aside from telling them to leave so the grass wouldn’t die.

“Telling them to leave so the grass won’t die. That’s horrible.”

It is, especially since on the other side of the park, they’re cutting down old-growth trees to make way for development for a bank.

Watch the video.

SaskPower Misinforming The Public About Solar Power

In honour of the solar eclipse on Monday, SaskPower shared what it’s been saying about solar power for many years. The problem with reusing years-old information about technology, is that sometimes you get things wrong due to advances in the technology. There should not be so many factual errors in SaskPower’s communications with the public. It’s a sore point for me, because it’s so critical that people understand the capabilities (and true limitations) of renewable energy technologies. Only by changing how we power our electrical grid and daily lives, can we quickly leave fossil fuels in the past to reduce damaging climate changes, and health problems from emissions.

I’m one of those 400 #solar energy providers to the SaskPower grid. It’s known as Net Metering, because the net electricity used, at the end of a year is billed to me, but any generated above equality is kept in SaskPower’s favour.

Photons, not IR/heat is collected from light, & is converted into electrons (electricity). Heat causes additional resistance / lower output. Telling people otherwise could convince them that seasonally cold Regina isn’t a great place for solar, when it’s actually a top location in the world!

As you can see from my examples, SaskPower has some explaining to do, about the [mis]information they’re sharing on their Twitter feed. I worry what else they’re telling people, that’s as inaccurate.

ADDED: Sent this to SaskPower. I’ll let you know what they do to correct the record.

“SaskPower shared some inaccurate information on its series of tweets during the solar eclipse. Will SaskPower correct the record, and tweet correct information about solar power from this point forward?
https://johnkleinregina.wordpress.com/2017/08/22/saskpower-misinforming-the-public-about-solar-power/

Please let me know when SaskPower issues corrections, and I’ll update my article.

Thank-you,
John Klein”

“Thank you, your inquiry has been submitted.

A SaskPower representative will respond to your inquiry shortly.”

UPDATE: They replied yesterday:

Thank you for your email. Solar is an important part of a cleaner energy
future for Saskatchewan. We want customers to understand our plans for
solar, and as you note in your blog, the limitations of the technology, as
well. To ensure reliability for customers, intermittent generation sources
like wind and solar require back up baseload power that’s available 24/7.
We also aim to balance a mix of sources that offer reliability,
cost-effectiveness and environmental sustainability. We are keenly paying
attention to the development of utility-scale battery storage technology as
you mention and will look forward to testing it once the technology
continues to evolve.

Okay, but what about correcting the mistakes in the information you shared with the public? e.g. equating heat with electricity production in PV cells. That’s not how it works.

Why are you not testing battery storage technology now?