Premier’s advertisement of hostility and threats to Regina City Council a red flag for community democracy

Judy Henley, President of CUPE Saskatchewan

Regina’s City Council will vote next week on a motion to amend a policy to expand restrictions on sponsorship or advertising on city property to include any group whose business is principally derived from the sale or production of fossil fuels. But it is Premier Scott Moe’s own advertisement of hostility and threats that are most detrimental to our democracy, according to CUPE Saskatchewan.

While the motion is certainly up for debate among elected councillors and the residents they represent, the Premier has decided to wade in with hostility and threats of funding interference from Crown Corporation sources, should council vote in favour of the motion and against the Premier’s wishes.

“The Premier’s threats on display in his statement are a troublesome red flag for our democracy at the community and provincial level,” said Judy Henley, President of CUPE Saskatchewan, in response to Premier Scott Moe’s statement of January 20, 2021. “Elected councillors should not have to face threats and bullying from the Premier over municipal decisions, and they should not be deterred from debating issues of importance to city residents.”

Henley noted that the Premier’s interference could become a new low point for relations with municipal governments, which were strained by the Sask Party government’s misguided move to abruptly cancel grants-in-lieu and municipal surcharge collection.

“The public health crisis of COVID-19 unfolding each and every day in our province urgently requires more of the Premier’s direct attention. Perhaps he could stop grandstanding on municipal advertising policies and, instead, direct his full energy to address the suffering caused by the pandemic and our health care system under vast pressure and strain,” said Henley.

Currently, the City of Regina has restrictions in place for businesses involved in the sale of tobacco, cannabis, alcohol, weapons manufacturing, and other types of businesses not in good standing. The motion would exclude fossil fuel companies from naming rights of City of Regina events or infrastructure.

CUPE represents over 5,000 municipal workers across the province.

Issued by the Division Office /nm cope 342

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