Rally to save the STC

Protesters gather in from of Prince Albert Carlton MLA and Crown Investment Minister Joe Hargrave’s office on Friday. The group of more than 60 people was protesting the recent government decision to wind down the STC bus service. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

As a retired Saskatchewan farmer, Stanley Wichorek is used to dealing with hardship, but even he’s getting a little worried.

Wichorek, who moved to Prince Albert after he retired two decades ago, spent his Friday lunch-hour in front of Crown Investment Minister Joe Hargrave’s office, protesting the end of the Saskatchewan Transportation Company (STC).

He said he’s worried about the direction the province is heading, and doesn’t think cutting services like the STC will help.

“It’s been recognized as a great service to those in need,” he said. “Maybe (maintaining) every bus run would be asking a lot at this time, but the basic structure of the STC should remain.”

Wichorek called the recent provincial budget cuts “draconian,” and he wasn’t the only person who was worried. The retired farmer was one of more than 60 people who came out to the noon-hour rally and questioned the wisdom of the decision to wind down the service, which has been operating in the province for more than 70 years.

“Here we’re back into that same scenario as we had in the ‘80s, and maybe even worse,” Wichorek said.

No STC union leaders or employees spoke during the roughly 40 minute protest, but CUPE Local 4195 president John Kenard and Service Employees International Union West vice-president Neil Colmin were on hand to lend their support.

For the rest of this story, please see the April 1 online or print edition of the Daily Herald.