On the two-year anniversary of the Sask. Party government’s sell-off of the publicly owned Saskatchewan Transportation Company, NDP Leader Ryan Meili is calling for a full audit of the impact the closure has had on Saskatchewan residents, and reiterating his party’s commitment to re-establishing transportation and freight services in the province.
“STC was a valuable service that knit our province together,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “For many people across Saskatchewan, it served as everything from a ride to a medical appointment to a courier for farm equipment. It was a vital part of their everyday lives. By treating the STC as a business rather than an essential service, the Sask. Party failed Saskatchewan people and betrayed their trust.
“We owe it to the people of Saskatchewan to restore this essential service — and that’s just what an NDP government will do. We’re committed to re-establishing a public provincial transportation system that meets the needs of all Saskatchewan people, including northerners, people in rural Saskatchewan, and people with disabilities.”
Two years out, the damage done by this sell-off is becoming clearer. In his research paper Analyzing the impact of STC shutdown on rural Saskatchewan residents: Did entrepreneurs fill the gap? University of Regina Executive Master of Business Administration candidate Chandrakant Rane highlighted several testimonials from people impacted by the shutdown of STC.
Rane’s research shows that since the Sask. Party shutdown of STC, many Saskatchewan people have been left isolated, with no affordable means for transportation. Families have lost connection, and many have been left with no other option but to move into the city.
“When people are telling a researcher ‘renting a cab meant no money for food,’ that tells you just how devastating and isolating this cut was,” said NDP Crown Investment Corporation Critic Cathy Sproule. “In such a large province as ours, transportation is an essential service. It’s time for the government to admit it made a mistake, step up and meet that need.”