Union protests budget cuts at Hargrave’s PA office

A protester holds the likeness of Finance Minister Kevin Doherty in front of MLA Joe Hargrave's constituency office Friday. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald

About three hundred of them came, in cars, trucks and chartered busses.

They carried the bobbing heads of cabinet ministers, or their likenesses at least – Hargrave, Doherty, Beaudry-Mellor. They plastered the heads with slogans, like “billion dollar bill” and “you will pay for our mismanagement.”

They carried coffins. The coffins, to them, contained the casualties of the budget: “workers rights,” “trust in financial decisions,” etc.

They stood in front of Prince Albert Carleton MLA Joe Hargrave’s office. Most didn’t seem to care for the man. “Shame!” “Crook!” “Criminal!” “Lock ‘Em Up!” they shouted.

It was, they admitted, a convenient time to protest. The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees’ Union (SGEU) is holding its convention in Prince Albert this week. Its members flocked to the parking lot on South Industrial, and listened to the speeches. The bed of a pickup truck served as a stage.

Barry Nowoselsky railed against the government, singling out Hargrave for particular scorn.

“Joe Hargrave,” the SGEU public service chair said, “it’s about time you started listening to the people. The cuts to libraries, the cuts to health, the cuts to education – what’s next?”

Hargrave was not at his office during the protest. He heard about it though, and said it wasn’t pleasant. He was particularly upset about a mock prison that showed cabinet ministers behind bars, a display he called “hypocritical.”

“In Alberta, when they did that to Rachel Notley, a lot of the union people were upset,” he said. “I guess they feel for them to do it, it’s fine, but for anyone else to do it is not.”

For more on this story, see the weekend print or e-edition of the Prince Albert Daily Herald.

More photos of the protest:

Saskatchewan Federation of Labour president Larry Hubich speaks to the crowd. Arthur White-Crummey/Daily Herald