Three stories about the neglect of our north came up within the span of about a week. Two of the stories were picked up by the mainstream media and one was documented on social media.
Gloria Desjarlais, 71 years of age from Buffalo Narrows, began a fundraising trek of 750 km to raise funds for a long term care facility in her community. Desjarlais recounted her dismay when elders in her community had to move sometimes up to five hours from the community to get long term care. The disturbing thing here is why has the local NDP MLA, a former cabinet minister in the Calvert and Romanow governments, not advocated for a home in this community? It appears just as the Saskatchewan Party has taken rural Saskatchewan support for granted so too the NDP has taken the support of northerners for granted also.
The second story to come out was of Glen Sinclair of Meadow Lake. Mr Sinclair has been forced to start a funding initiative, also consisting of a walk, so he can make the trip from Meadow Lake to Saskatoon to receive cancer treatments. Mr Sinclair cited the loss of STC service as a significant obstacle for him to remain in his community and look after his health. The real tragedy with the loss of STC was the complete lack of a provincial transportation initiative to replace what was once there.(Meadow lake now.com story by Tyler Marr)
The third story was of the closure of the Wollaston Lake Fishery and its store in Prince Albert. The loss of the plant in Wollaston lake cost that community 20 jobs and 5 jobs were lost in Prince Albert at the company store. The chief reason was the expensive transportation costs associated with flying the product out of Wollaston Lake. The report did mention the provincial government and the federal government did not come through with promised road travel in that area of the province. (CBC July 13th, by Kelly Provost)
There seems to be a clear theme in all these stories. Neglect of the north by the Saskparty and the NDP. Decades have elapsed as seniors in Buffalo Narrows have been separated by great distances. Apparently it takes 71 year old seniors to walk 750 kms to get the initiative kicked off. The people of the north have been cut off to services in the south because of the lack of public transit and any clear plan to connect the north to the south. And promises of connections north of Prince Albert , and while we are at it I suppose we can also mention Prince Albert's one old bridge, as promises not kept to our northern citizens.
My youngest son recently graduated and the song they had as a theme at the ceremony was “Home” I am sure many have heard this song. The line in it that I always remember is “we’re going to make this place our home!” This is how I feel about Saskatchewan. We have seen the Saskparty divide our province along north and south, oil producers versus non oil producers, farmers versus urban. We need someone who can come in and make this place, the whole province, our home.