DA: Great Scott, It’s World Press Freedom Day

Daily AggregationGood afternoon Regina. At 3:15 it’s 16°C and gorgeously sunny. Said sun rose this morning at 5:29 and it’ll set at 8:22 this evening. You wanna know about the moon? Moonrise was at 12:39 p.m. today. It’s a little over two-thirds; the full moon is May 10 so you werewolves have another week before you have to lock yourself in a fortified basements with 50 pounds of raw steak and your neighbour’s crappy cat. News!

1. BOOM BUNGLERS AND CROWN KILLERS Well well well, what a frickin’ surprise. After vowing to not sell off crowns without a referendum, Brad Wall and his Saskatchewan Party government have met with Bell, Rogers and Telus about selling 49 per cent of SaskTel, which will raise everyone’s phone/internet bills, send Saskatchewan profits to telecom shareholders, wipe out good local jobs, cripple the ability of future Sask governments to fund needed programs and, most hilariously, open the door for a lucky MLA or two to land cushy post-political careers on telecom boards of directors like when former Manitoba premier Gary Filmon privatized the Manitoba Telephone System then took a job on its board of directors. Wall and his cronies must think you’re really stupid and you’ll go along with this without a fuss. Prove him wrong. And be funny and peaceful about it because John Gormley doesn’t need you giving him material to smear Sask Party critics with.

2. SASKATOON COURIER WANTS TO TAKE OVER FOR STC So what, we should cheer? This is how privatization and cuts to public services work —the private sector gobbles-up the profitable bits of a dismembered public entity, and the money-losing (but needed) services either aren’t provided any more or governments have to step in after the dust settles and fork over subsidies to the private vultures that grabbed the scraps, just to keep money-losing (but needed) services going. Along the way, good jobs die and big-money investors profit. Personally I’d rather have a few dopey failures like Spudco than the destruction of public services because politicians have ideology (and rich donors). YMMD.

3. HUGE, EXPLODING FIRE AT REGINA’S OLD GM PLANT The heritage building was partly destroyed. One organization affected: REACH (Regina Education and Action on Child Hunger), which operates in the building. Five hundred needy families won’t get their food hampers today.

4. BODY FOUND ON THE RING ROAD Story but not many details here.

5. FBI BOSS IS JUST SICK ABOUT IT James Comey’s admission that the FBI was investigating Hillary Clinton’s e-mails put Trump in the White House, but the FBI director would play it the same way again.

6. BIGOTS AGAINST BODIES Turns out it’s legal for U.S. funeral homes to reject LGBTQ people’s corpses. Appalling.

7. HAPPY WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY! Here’s a column on the threat of an apathetic public, a story on persecuted cartoonists and an editorial on the need for Canada to guarantee press freedoms. Want to read more about the state of journalism? Check out Reporters Without Borders. Want to buy hard-working and often unappreciated journalists a present today? Subscribe to an online newspaper. The media can’t exist without you.

You can support Prairie Dog here.

Here’s a classic scene with some of my favourite fictional journalists at one of my favourite fictional newspapers. Happy World Press Freedom Day!

DA: Maudie

Daily AggregationGood morning, it’s become an unexpectedly sunny day: 10°C with a high of 13°C and an overnight low of three. The sun rose today at 5:31 a.m. and it sets tonight at 8:20 p.m., so you can see the world keeps on spinning regardless of what’s happening to us. Comforting, depressing or both? #DeepThoughtz. Here’s news.


2. “IT JUST MAKES YOUR HEAD SPIN” Weed will soon be legal but cops are still busting the people selling it, blah.

3. FREEDOM OF THE PRESS: CANADA IS OUT OF THE TOP 20 COUNTRIES Well this isn’t good at all. Spying on journalists and police interference is unacceptable. The Toronto Star has a peeved editorial here.

4. PLAGIARISM IS THE NEW BLACK Far-right French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen lifted parts of a speech by eliminated Republican candidate François Fillon. She says it was a tribute. Or maybe she’s just a nasty dope who hired plagiarism monkeys for speechwriters?

5. A 12-YEAR OLD WAS BOOTED FROM A CHESS TOURNAMENT FOR WEARING A “TOO SEDUCTIVE ” DRESS Hopefully whoever’s responsible for this creepy, moralizing stupidity is banned from being around children.

6. CROSBY IS CONCUSSED The Hart Trophy nominee is out against the Capitals in game 4 after a nasty Alex Ovechkin slash and a probably-not-malicious-but-devastating cross check by Matt Niskanen. Not good for hockey.

DO YOU LIKE SWEET, QUIRKY ROMANTIC MOVIES ABOUT NOVA SCOTIA ARTISTS? CHECK OUT MAUDIE I caught it last night and it’s a sweetheart of a movie,  based on the life of actual folk artist Maud Lewis. It’s at the (theatre formerly known as the) Galaxy this week. You can read more about Maudie and Lewis here and here. How often do you get to see a biopic about an amazing Canadian artist married to a door-to-door fish salesman? 4/5 Prairie Dogs. See it!

DA: Back Into The Matrix

Daily AggregationGood morning! It’s looking like a drab, grey start to May. That’s all right. It’s 11°C right now. The high today is, well, I guess this is it?, and the low overnight is 2°C. Today’s sunrise was 5:32, sunset is at 8:19 and total daylight time is 14 hours and 46 minutes. Let’s see what’s happening out there…

1. MAY DAY VIOLENCE IN FRANCE The upcoming final round of the French election has emboldened thugs, who are running amok. Here’s more May Day news from around the world.

2. TEXAS PHONE COMPANY PROFITS OFF SASK PRISONERS Ick. Also, couldn’t SaskTel handle this, and keep the, ick, profits, and jobs, in Sask?

3. OIL BOSSES OPPOSE LEGAL WEED Dicks. Come on, no one thinks employees should be allowed to work while blazed just like no one thinks workers should be drunk. But what workers legally do for fun in their off-hours isn’t a company’s business. Oil companies don’t own their workers.

4. WORKPLACE VIOLENCE IS A TOP-FIVE PROBLEM The Workers Compensation Board says it’s the fifth-highest cause of workplace injuries. You can read more here.

5. THE NORTHERN TEACHER EDUCATION PROGRAM ENDS NORTEP is done as its last class graduates in LaRonge. People are sad.

6. WARM WATERS There’s a good chance we’ll get an El Nino event this year. Again. Let’s hear it for hurricanes, blizzards and record temperatures!

7. CAUCASIAN MALE SHOOTS UP SAN DIEGO POOL PARTY “He had his beer in one hand and his gun in the other,” said one witness. One woman was killed. The victims were Black and Hispanic. The shooter was killed by police. The beer wasn’t identified. Theories/guesses in the comments.

8. ALBERTA NDP GOVERNMENT KEEPS TABS ON FOI REQUESTS. Tsk. Wonder if the Sask Party does this? Can’t imagine them not.

9. PATS ARE ROLLING That team is awesome. I’m happy for Pats’ coach and one-time Winnipeg Jets coach John Paddock.

10. “A GAUNTLET OF ENEMIES OF THE IMAGINATION” Music legend Nick Cave says he’s not going to write any more movie scripts because Hollywood is stultifying. I’m still sad his Gladiator 2 idea never saw movie screens. If you’re going to write a sequel to a movie that isn’t built for one, you’ve gotta think outside the box. Way outside.

VIDEO: ONE REASON THE MATRIX WAS REALLY GOOD I enjoyed this video essay on the film’s scene-to-scene transitions. Recommended for fans of the movie and film in general.

DA: B.A.!

Daily AggregationGood afternoon! As I pressed the shiny, green “publish” button on this post it was 14°C. As for the forecast, you probably have an idea what it’s like out at this point, but in case you got out of bed at noon too: in the Second Age, the gnarled oracles of Atalantë foretold today’s high to be, well 14°C I guess, with a -2 low that, fortunately, is long behind us. The sun rose at 5:40 a.m. and we’ll bask in its cloud-filtered luminescence until 8:12 for a total daylight time of 14 hours and 32 minutes. How about some news before weekend beers?

1. SOUNDS LIKE THE SASK PARTY WANTS TO SELL HALF OF SASKTEL What a bunch of duplicitous rats. No offence to rats, which can be lovely animals.

2. KINDA LOOKS LIKE THE NDP WAS RIGHT ALL ALONG, HUH? I mean, this was still a shitty ad campaign–for one thing, the wolf in the picture was cute. Still: they were right. The Sask Party is desroying and privatizing crowns.

3. PROTEST FOR A PREMIER According to a friend who was there, 300 people turned up to  rambunctiously protest Brad Wall’s dinner. My preference is for huge protests, not vandalizey ones. Also: critics like Tammy Roberts have called functions like these cash-for-access events. They have a point.

4. HOPEFULLY IN THIS CASE, CHEATERS WILL PROSPER The Riders sure are good at breaking rules and getting fined.


6. TRUMP PLANS TO TRASH NATIONAL MONUMENTS Of course he does. He’s a fundamentally corrupt and ugly specimen of humanity.

LOOKING FOR A GOOD TIME TONIGHT? I recommend Hamilton musician B.A. Johnston, who’s playing a free show at O’Hanlon’s. Check out Emmet’s interview, in this issue: it’s a hoot.

City Council Warp-Up: You Want Parking Lots? We Got Parking Lots! But No Buses For Our Precious Little School Children. Screw Them!

It’s been a while since I’ve been to a council meeting that ended with cries from the gallery of “Shame” and “Disgrace!” But – oh joy! — that’s how the month-long council-meeting marathon rounded out.

Why so cranky, gang? Well, that was because 12 delegations came out and sat through a four hour meeting so they could stand and express their support for a motion from Councillor Stevens calling for council to affirm the importance of provincial Crown Corporations, only to have council vote that motion down in a seven to three vote.

Saskatchewanians do love their Crowns. Do not cross them.

Of course, their anger had been primed by the fact that council had just before this voted down another motion by Councillor Stevens, this one requesting city administration look into the feasibility of Regina Transit offering free bus service to school & daycare kids on field trips. That motion, however, wasn’t completely defeated as Councillor Young referred the substance of the motion to a meeting of the School Board Liaison Committee. But, fury was rising in the gallery because throughout debate of this motion council demonstrated a stunning lack of knowledge about Regina Transit.

I mean, it was embarrassing. I’m betting almost no-one on council has ever ridden a bus.

So all that happened. Council also passed the neighbourhood plan for Coopertown, a greenfield development that Councillor O’Donnell described as like putting a city of Moosejaw on the city’s northwest. Hey! No worries now about hitting that 30 per cent infill development target that the city has never, ever hit!

Council also took time out to laud, in the most laudatory of terms, the massively oversizedness of a new Costco surface parking lot.

We are so very proud of our asphalt wastelands. Three cheers for us!

Here’s a minute-by-minute twitter blow-by-blow of the Monday April 24 meeting. It will thankfully be the last meeting for a month.


You can stay up-to-date on all my council live-tweeting by following my live tweet account @PDCityHall.

DA: Requiem For Wolverine

Daily AggregationGood morning friends, foes, family and fans, it’s a beautiful day here in Regina, no, seriously, it is, just look at that photo. How could anyone say that’s not gorgeous? It’s a highly tolerable -1°C right now on track for a sloppy, slippery and soggy 2°C later. If you’re walking, maybe be a little extra cautious crossing streets and if you’re driving, please don’t hit anyone. The sun sets tonight at 8:08 p.m. after a 14 hour, 22 minute run that started at 5:45 a.m. She’s back at it tomorrow at 5:43 a.m. but that’s a tale for another day and I won’t be the one telling it because after this I’m vanishing into production on Thursday’s edition of Prairie Dog. Well, after one more mid-afternoon blog post that is. Hey, here’s some news.

1. EUROBANKERS BEFORE FASCISTS, I GUESS France’s presidential reality show is down to its two finalists: the tax-cutting, regulation-loosening business-boostering “but he’s a centrist!” finance dude, and Madame Mussolini. On May 7, will find out whether neoliberal Eurostooge Emmanuel Macron or anti-immigrant Trump fan Marine Le Pen will be president. Wheeeeeeeee.

2. SASKATOON MARCHES FOR SCIENCE I liked Mark Bigland-Pritchard’s call for scientifically literate journalists, which seems like an opportunity to remind everyone they can support our scientifically literate stories (such as this one) by subscribing to Prairie Dog. The more support we get, the more we can do. Simple as that. As for the big Washington march: here’s a wrap-up, here’s a short essay on science’s politics problem and here’s another story because I like things that come in threes, especially when the third thing is Bill Nye.

3. WELL GUESS WHAT, TAKING FUNERALS AWAY FROM POOR PEOPLE IS CRUMMY An antipoverty advocate attempts to explain an issue of basic morality to a province that doesn’t always grasp the difference between right and wrong.

4. FREE LAND The Saskatchewan government fought hard to keep its payment from CP for land secret, and, well, I guess now we know why.

5. UNHAPPY DAY Happy Days star Erin Moran has passed away at 56. :(

FAREWELL TO HUGH The hilarious goofballs at How It Should’ve Ended made a surprisingly touching short about Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine (good movie, bye the way). If you’re seen Logan, check this out. If you haven’t, well, go see it, and THEN watch this.

DA: Batman And Superman Walk Into A Coffee Shop

Daily AggregationHellooo Regina! It’s gorgeous out there! It’s sunny at 14°C rocketing toward 17 this afternoon. Enjoy it now if you can because the weekend’s weather sounds lame (actually this might be the last awesome day for a week). Sunset is at 8:03 p.m. and sunrise WAS at 5:51. One of these days I’ll get to the office early and enjoy a nice sunrise. NEWS!

1. IF YOU CAN’T WIN A FAIR FIGHT, CHANGE THE RULES The Saskatchewan government is getting yelled at for its sketchy-ass plan to preemptively block lawsuits from Sask municipalities.

2. COMPLICATED LEGAL BATTLE COULD BOOT NON-CATHOLIC KIDS FROM CATHOLIC SCHOOLS, MAYBE? I don’t fully understand this (gotta do more reading because I don’t get the motivation for the original complaint, which looks to me like someone going to court to nuke their own funding, which seems weird) but I think it causes trouble for everyone?

3. DAY IN COURT Marc and Jodie Emery were the targets of grandstanding police raids that probably launched to scare pot businesses and activists away from their livelihoods and cause. The raids were a stupid waste of policing resources given the utter wrongheadedness of pot prohibition. It’s not the Emerys’ fault Canada has dysfunctional, irrational recreational drug laws. This kind of crap reduces public confidence in police* (which, I I were a cop, I would be livid about) as well as the Federal Liberals’ legalization legislation. Anyway the two were in court today. Hope the charges are tossed into the waste bin they belong in

*A Toronto police spokesman said the Emerys were “endangering the public”. That’s rich. You know what endangers Toronto? Cops killing black Torontonians.

4. FRANCE PONDERS A FASCIST The French start a two-part presidential election this weekend. Hopefully they won’t send the far-right xenophobe to the final round. There’s probably a decent chance after this week’s shootings. Meanwhile the Conservative candidate sounds like a total douche, the otherwise interesting far-left candidate is too anti-Europe and pro-Russia for my tastes and the socialist who wants to bring in universal basic income has been kneecapped by his party’s past failures. Well, it’ll be interesting anyway.

5. IT’S NOT EASY TO PISS OFF HAWAII BUT THIS IDJIT DID IT U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is apparently a pompous, entitled goof.

6. THE X-FILES IS COMING BACK Fox has ordered a 10-episode 11th season. Hope it’s better than the last one. #Scullyforever

7. WESTJET VS. LABRADOODLE You won’t believe what happened next!


SUPES AND BATS ARGUE ABOUT TRAILERS How It Should Have Ended posted a new Super Cafe video. Is it lame that I love these? I don’t care.

DA: Why Weed Is Illegal

Daily AggregationHappy 4/20! It’s 9°C, with a high of 14 around five O’clock. You have until 8:01 to wander around without worrying about vampires; after that the sun’s down and you take your chances. Sunrise was at 5:53; I hope all of our vampire readers were safely tucked in by then. News? News!

1. SASK PARTY SUPPORT DROPS This is a surprise? Wait until the cuts really hit.

2. A GOOD DEATH CBC has a story about the peaceful death of a husband with terminal cancer who opted for euthanasia. No dry eyes at this desk.

3. A BREXIT MULLGAN? The European Union parliament’s president said if Brits tuef the Tories, they could become unBrexited. Hmmm.

4. A PARDON: SOMETHING YOU EARN OR SOMETHING YOU BUY? People with criminal records who are eligible for pardons usually don’t have $631 lying around. They’re spending that money on their kids, or rent, or food, or prescriptions. A high price for pardons is fundamentally misguided and I’m glad the Liberals are looking into fixing the mess Stephen Harper and his gang of sociopathic goons created.

5. TORONTO LGBTQ COPS DEMAND CITY PULL PRIDE FUNDING I can see their point. I can also see how chronically racist policing pisses people off so much that they organize to punt uniformed cops and their parade floats out of Pride.


7. IT’S 4/20! Happy “Pot Is Still Illegal But Not For Much Longer” day. Looking for some stuff to read? Start with Beatty’s feature in the current ‘Dog, then check out Now’s interview with pot activist Jodie Emery. The Georgia Straight has a report that tears into the Liberal’s legalization plans, and the Toronto Star has a story on the origins of 4/20. Pro-weed alt-weekly The Stranger has tons of stuff to read, including this article on the history of Washington state’s trail-blazing cannabis regulations and this David Schmader piece on vaginal pot suppositories that has awesome sentences like “the sun is rising in my uterus”.

Let’s wrap this up with Adam Ruins Everything’s reality check on marijuana. See you tomorrow!

DA: More Like Bill O’BYE-ly

Daily AggregationHappy lunch hour Regina! It’s a moderately “pleasant day, 12°C at the moment with a high of, well, 12 apparently. The sun was up before six: 5:55 a.m., which blows my mind. Even better news for sunlight fans: it sets tonight at 8:00 on the dot. I love spring! Here’s some scraps of news I found laying around the web this morning.

1. REGINA COUNCIL: SHOCKINGLY SANE AND RESPONSIBLE They could’ve cut services like tax-phobic maniacs but instead, the city will raise taxes to offset devastation from the provincial government’s boom-bungling, “spend the reserves” recklessness. Here’s Paul Dechene’s coverage, and here’s more from the Leader-Post, CBC and CJME. Mayor Michael Fougere will say that people who are mad should take their complaints to the province. Mayor Michael Fougere is right.

2. REGINA ORGANIZATIONS COULD SEE FUNDING CUTS Story here. Groups like Carmichael Outreach, the North Central Community Association and Planned Parenthood could be in trouble.

3. REFUGEES AND PREDATORS The RCMP had a press conference this morning about a human smuggling case involving people desperate to get out of the United States, or, as CBC puts it, the “droves of asylum seekers” coming here “in the wake of Donald Trump’s election as president.”

4. FRACK FRACK QUAKE Fracking in British Columbia caused 767 earthquakes between 2014 and 2015. Fracking causes earthquakes. What are we doing. We have got to kick the fossil fuel monkey.

5. IRONIES ABOUND AS BIGOTS FREAK OUT OVER SCHOOL PRAYERS A Toronto school board gave Muslim students prayer space and now critics are losing their minds. A lot of no-prayer-in-the-classroom type atheists like me tend to be for it (because come on, it’s NOT a school-endorsed-or-mandated class prayer, it’s a compassionate, tolerant and no-skin-off-my-nose accommodation) while people who would love to see the Lord’s Prayer recited in classrooms are opposed (which I have no evidence for that but it’s true).

6. CHINA’S CONCERNED ABOUT NORTH KOREA Seems like a sensible topic for fretting.



9. BYE-BYE BILL O’REILLY Fox News is dumping him. Good. He’s been an angry, toxic person who infects viewers with his hateful worldview. Would love to see the end of his career.


City Council Warp-Up: Tax Hike Upon Tax Hike But Fewer Cuts Than Feared

Council finally had their meeting where they decided how to cope with the provincial budget cuts. You can click your way through all the twitter action below but here are the highlights in case even a four hour meeting condensed down to a bunch of 140 character chunks is too much reading for you:

Administration’s proposed 2.5% mill rate increase passed. So that’s in addition to the 3.99% mill rate increase already approved at the budget meeting in February. That adds up to a total of 6.49%. This is the highest property tax increase in at least 13 years.

Thanks to an early motion by Mayor Fougere, holiday bus service, the Leslie Lawn Bowling Green, the Regent Park Golf course and the Playescapes program were all saved from the axe. Together that added $294,800 in spending back onto the budget.

Councillor Bresciani put forward a motion to use last year’s surplus to save programs and limit the mill rate increase to 1.5%. That motion failed.

Councillor Stevens put forward a motion to save the summer street sweep; the recycling educational outreach program; and, the leaf & yard and hazardous waste depot and the treecycle. That motion failed.

Councillor Mancinelli put forward a motion to save the condo waste rebate, the landfill hours, the asphalt maintenance budget and the snow fencing. That also failed.

Councillor Flegel put forward a motion to save EVERYTHING by raising the additional property increase to 3.5% (which would have put our total mill rate increase for the year to 7.49%). That motion failed.

Councillor Hawkins put forward a motion to raise parking fines by $10. That motion passed and admin says that increase will offset the cost of the programs Mayor Fougere saved.

Worth noting that there was a lot of debate at the meeting and all the votes were close. There were no unanimous decisions.

And if the 6.49% combined property tax increase for 2017 has you steamed, remember, that’s just the city’s increase. Library and school increases are yet to come. And from what I’ve heard, the school property tax increase will be around 10%. No idea what the libraries will be asking for.

Anyway… here’s all the action from city council…

That’s it for another city council meeting. And there’s another coming right up. On Monday 24 2017 council is sitting for their regular monthly meeting. At this one they’ll be discussing the proposed Coopertown neighbourhood plan, the Regina Exhibition Assn Ltd annual report, the Regina Downtown BID & Regina Warehouse BID budgets, and a fire service agreement with the RM of Edenwold.

If all goes to plan, I’ll be back in Henry Baker Hall live tweeting that meeting as well from @PDCityHall.

DA: Marathon Hero Kathrine Switzer Is Still Running

Daily AggregationGood morning, fellow Reginans! I’m back from a short trip to tropical Winnipeg, Manitoba, a Prairie city that’s a mere 573 kilometre drive from our fair town. Things I saw there include: the crumbling new stadium, a bunny, my dad, people who are enraged by provincial PC government plans to close half the city’s emergency rooms (!!!) and the Bridge Drive-In, Canada’s most awesome ice cream stand. I haven’t paid attention to the news in a week. How are things going? Really? Uh oh.

1. STALKED IN REGINA Local women share their awful experiences.

2. BIG COUNCIL MEETING TONIGHT The topic: city budget 2.0. Paul Dechene wrote a thing earlier. Go read it.

3. POT LEGALIZATION: YOU’LL ALWAYS HAVE YOUR CONVICTIONS Marijuana should never have been illegal but the federal liberals have no plans for amnesties in their pot legalization legislation.

4. UNSTABLE, WARMONGERING, THERMONUCLEAR DICK-MEASURING TWITS South Korea is reacting badly to American threats about nuclear weapon tests.

5. CONTINENTAL-SCALE REARRANGEMENT Global warming made a Canadian river disappear almost overnight (well, four nights). Can you imagine living by river that suddenly vanishes? What if you were a farmer, or a vacation lodge owner? What if the river fed a drinking water supply? Scary stuff.

6. BRITISH PM CALLS SNAP ELECTION, WON’T DO TV DEBATES The BBC has “five things you need to know”.


8. ONE BEAVER TO RULE THE COWS 150 cattle followed a beaver around. Weird.

HEY!!!!! SUPPORT ALTERNATIVE MEDIA!!!!! For all its mediocre NHL teams, refitted libraries and delicious Goog Specials, one thing Winnipeg doesn’t have? A free alternative newspaper like Prairie Dog. In fact, most Canadian cities outside of Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax don’t have an alt paper. Even supposedly urbane Calgary lost its alt a couple of years ago. It’s true that some people (mostly conservatives) might suggest the era of these papers has ended, but ya know, judging from the state of Saskatchewan, Canada and world (see above), I humbly suggest it’s a good idea to support a newspaper like ours that supports supposedly “outdated” (or so conservative types would have you believe) concepts like unions, public ownership, health care, abortion access, etc. You can learn more here.

EQUALITY IS A MARATHON The Boston Marathon used to be dude-only. It’s hard to imagine, but it’s true: it was only 50 years ago that a woman first ran it (and it was another five years before they were officially allowed to enter). Here’s a short video about this hero, featuring pics of the deranged nobody who tried to stop her.

I See More City Council Warp-Ups In Your Future

Council is meeting AGAIN tonight to discuss what measures they’re going to take to deal with their ten-point-something million dollar, Brad-Wall-induced budget hole.

Again?!? “What mean you ‘again’?” you may ask. Oh just that, this will be the third meeting council has held specifically to deal with the loss of the grants-in-lieu program and the one percent PST boost.

Most recently, council met last Monday, ostensibly to deal with the budget shortfall (previewed here). They didn’t quite make it that far. They listened to delegations then they ended the meeting and postponed deliberation of administration’s proposed cuts and property tax hike.

And so — finally, actually, totally — making real live budget decisions is what tonight’s meeting is supposed to be all about. Fun starts at 5:30pm. And with the help of the Gods Of Good Bureaucracy, I’m hoping to be home by 9pm. That’s assuming, of course, that there are no new delegations on the agenda for tonight. In theory, there shouldn’t be any seeing as that’s what last week’s meeting was about.

What do you want to bet Chad Novak will find some way on to a microphone tonight?

To prepare, you may want to catch up on what was discussed last week. If so, here are all my tweets collected for your delight and amusement. And yes, this storify starts with a pic of Chad Novak from the neck down. I was trying to take a pre-council selfie with a hoard of lawnbowlers in the background. But Novak kept blundering into the frame. Go figure… Chad Novak getting in the way of something getting done at a council meeting? How appropriate.


So that’s it. The April 10 meeting warped up in time for the April 18 meeting.

And guess what, we’re all getting together again next week. The whole gang of us: council, the media, disgruntled citizens, hopeful developers, Chad Novak. This’ll be for the regularly scheduled council meeting.

I joked a few weeks ago that I should have unlocked some kind of achievement for live-tweeting two council meetings two nights in a row. I have so surpassed that feat by now. And if I survive next week’s meeting, I’ll be demanding a goddamn trophy for live tweeting five council meetings in as many weeks.

You getting this, Whitworth?

Okay, before I sign off, here is a handy summary of everything I’ve written/recorded so far on the subject of the provincial budget:

If you want to catch all of tonight’s council live tweeting as it happens, tune your twitter to my live-tweeting account @PDCityHall at 5:30pm.

Property Taxes Rising Again And Other Crappy News

On Monday April 10, city council will be cracking open the 2017 budget — the one they only just passed in February — and patching the $10.3 million hole that the provincial budget left in their revenue.

This Friday, city administration released a draft of the measures they’re recommending. It’s not pretty. Most noteworthy is an additional 2.5% property tax increase.

That’s on top of the 3.99% property tax increase council already approved for this year. So, if this extra mill rate bump goes through you’ll be paying an extra 6.49% in property taxes this year.

And that’s just on the city portion of your property tax bill!

Regina libraries also saw their provincial funding completely eliminated in Brad Wall’s austerity budget. They’ll have to make that up somehow and if they don’t cut programs or people, they can also request a mill rate increase.

On top of all that, your education taxes are expected to up by 10%.

So, just on the property tax side of things, the provincial budget is definitely going to be hitting your pocketbook.

But the 2.5% extra tax bump proposed by the City of Regina will only cover about half of the $10.3 million they need to make up.

To offset another $1 million, the Regina Police Service will be postponing some capital expenditures and withdrawing money from their reserves.

And the City itself will be cutting back on about $2.5 million worth of programs and services. Which ones? Here’s a partial list:

GONE: transit services on statutory holidays, Play Escapes program, Regent Park Golf Course, Leslie Lawn Bowling Greens, collection depot program (including leaf & yard waste, household hazardous waste, treecycling), Heritage Conservation Awards ceremony, Agribition transit grant, fall herbicide spraying, summer road sweeping program, condo waste rebate, Snow Busters program, print version of the Leisure Guide

REDUCED: curbside garbage collection (going from weekly to bi-weekly pickup), maintenance of city flower pots, tree pruning, snow fencing, asphalt maintenance budget, landfill hours

Note that council will be debating all of this at Monday’s meeting and so there’s a chance that some of these programs can be saved or that the mill rate increase could be reduced.

One avenue the city is not presently considering is withdrawing cash from their General Fund Reserve to spackle over their revenue hole. Here’s administration’s justification for that:

Using reserves to support the 2017 budget shortfall is not a realistic option. The use of reserves to support on-going costs will only delay the need to address the underlying issue and impair future financial flexibility. Current reserve levels are moderate, but not excessive when the total value of the City’s assets is considered. Administration is recommending the utilization of onetime savings rather than reserves in 2017 to provide time to review alternative revenues and/or ongoing expense reductions.

Drawing from reserves might be an attractive way out of these cuts as we have about $26 million (last I checked) in our General Fund Reserve that we could pull from.

And depleting municipals reserves is what Brad Wall has been advising Sask cities and towns to do — in the most condescending terms. On twitter…


Yep. Consultation between levels of government is happening on social media.

The future is bullshit.

Also… it’s pretty galling for Brad Wall to be browbeating cities into using up their reserves when it was his government’s wild spending that used up the provincial rainy day fund — leaving Saskatchewan with little-to-no reserve buffer to use to soften the current financial downturn.

Why, it’s almost like the Saskatchewan Party has smashed their piggy bank and spent everything in it and are now treating every piggy bank in the province as theirs to smash when they see fit.

I have more to say on all of this but I’m going to save it until after tonight’s council meeting. I’ll be live tweeting starting at 5:30pm from my live-tweet account @PDCityHall.

I will doubtless be groggily writing something for Thursday’s P-Dog once that meeting is finished.

And, for background information on what’s led up these municipal cuts, you can check out the last two episodes of Queen City Improvement Bureau, the radio show I do with Aidan Morgan on 91.3 CJTR, Regina community radio. We get deep into the weeds on Grants-In-Lieu. And, boy howdy, it’s just about as thrilling as it sounds.


DA: The Force Awakens (After A Copyright Attack)

Daily AggregationHoly Happy Afternoon, Batman! It’s 23°C in Regina! Why am I inside? To over-write a blog post, apparently. Here’s things. Get your reading hat on, some of this stuff is great.

1. MORE JOBS, WAIT. MAYBE NOT Conflicting reports on Saskatchewan’s employment situation.

2. SPITEFUL SASK GOVERNMENT BABIES CAN’T HANDLE CRITICISM, LASH OUT The Opposition NDP 11 MLAs. The governing Sask Party has 51. The Opposition NDP just had its funding cut by $64,00, compared to $130,000 for the government. The Sask Party loses $2,550 for every MLA. The NDP? $5,800. That isn’t just unfair, it’s targeted suppression of a political opponent. Who do these bullies think they are, Putin?

3. MASSIVE SASKATOON POLICE SCANDAL Two cops made fun of crime victim Bronek Hart’s name. Unacceptable! Wait. Bronek? That is kind of a funny-sounding name. Apparently it’s Czech (from “Brotislav”) and means “glorious armor”. Doesn’t sound like Bronek has very thick armor. Well, he was having a bad day. Hopefully the cops will apologize for being idiots and for using an offensive slur, and we can all go back to reading about the end of the world, speaking of…

4. SYRIA: NO MUSHROOM CLOUDS YET SO THAT’S GOOD U.S. President Donald J. Trump gave Russian ally Syria a 59 penis pummeling last night. Here’s the Washington Post’s latest. Not that the regime doesn’t deserve a faceful of missiles, but Assad has been murdering children for a long time and it seems unlikely this will stop that. Besides, it’s not like this will inspire that grandstanding, egomaniacal hypocrite to accept Syrian refugees, which is what he’d do if he actually gave a shit about children.

5. SYRIA: MORE: “World leaders react to strike”, “U.S. Missile Strikes Bring Angry Russian Response”, “Was Trump’s Syria Strike Illegal?”“Trump’s Foreign Policy Is Dangerously Impulsive”,“The Grim Logic Behind Syria’s Chemical Weapons Attack”, “U.S. Tries To Restore Military Back Channel With Russia After Syria Strikes”.

6. SYRIA: TRUDEAU SUPPORTS MISSILES AND REFUGEES Yuuuuuugh. Well he’s in a tough spot. The country he leads is next door to a deranged and heavily armed giant. Still grotesque and nauseating.

7. SYRIA: JEET HEER: THE GENERALS HAVE WON THEIR WAR WITH TRUMP One of our favourite mighty intellectuals throws his brain at Trump’s Syrian adventure.

8. SYRIA: BRIAN WILLIAM’S BEAUTIFUL MISSILES I assume the news anchor was trying to make a darkly poetic analogy contrasting the lights and colours of rockets with the destruction they cause but it didn’t work and bringing Leonard Cohen into it is just shitty. Also I apologize for writing “59 penis pummeling” at the start of this thing. That was horrible.

9. AN OILERS OWNER SEX SCANDAL? Stepping away from conflicts between nuclear powers: so Daryl Katz is being sued. First: don’t threaten the careers of women you’ve propositioned after they’ve turned you down. Second: fuck, just don’t be an entitled rich creep. Third: there are professional sex workers out there happy to take money for companionship. Even from gross, slimy men.

BAD LIP READING: THE FORCE AWAKENS After a ridiculous, and brief, copyright takedown, the latest Bad Lip Reading video is back online. While not as amazing as “Seagulls (Stop It Now)”, it’s still a lot of fun.

DA: Cat Vs. Wigs

Daily AggregationGood morning Regina! Holy snickerdoodle, it’s gonna get up to 16°C today. Don’t know about beer (I have a cold) but that’s patio weather that can’t be missed. The sun was up lonnng before I was awake (6:23 a.m.) and it will set lonnng before I’m asleep (7:39 p.m.) for a total of 13 hours and 16 minutes of vampireless frolic-time. It’s 13°C right now. Onward to news.

1. BEYAK BOUNCED, BUDDIES BITTER A Conservative senator who praised Canada’s residential death camps schools was punted from the Senate’s Aboriginal People’s committee. Fortunately for her, her colleagues have her back, with one calling reporters “parasites” then denying he used the word despite being caught on camera. Think it’s time political parties start disciplining their politicians for blatant lying and media-bashing. Actually, I’m pretty sure the other parties would.

2. NORTH BATTLEFORD BOUSHIE RALLY As Gerald Stanley’s preliminary hearing continues wraps up with the news he’s going to trial, the family of the young man Stanley shot in the head (according to this Globe And Mail story) called for justice. This is a few days after a Regina protest against the Saskatchewan Association Of Rural Municipalities dangerous call for American-style self-defence laws, which get people killed.

3. DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’VE GOT TILL IT’S GONE Saskatchewan firefighters have been asked by their professional association to boycott the 2018 firefighters calendar. Too little money raised.

4. ONLY REPUBLICAN SUPREME COURT PICKS ALLOWED IN AMERICA The Republican-controlled Senate that blocked a Democratic president’s nominee changed the rules to get its own shitty nominee through. Fuckers.

5. DO NOT MOCK GLORIOUS LEADER! There’s two types of people in this world: those who support dictators and those who oppose ’em. Way too many of the former in Russia, which is why crap like this is tolerated. Speaking of Russia, Gwynne Dyer’s latest column is great and you should read it if you haven’t.

6. SPEAKING OF RUSSIAN HOMOPHOBES Genocide in progress in Chechnya.

MORE LIKE HAIR-U Remember the box-loving cat Maru, from, um, the Internet? He’s up to new shenanigans and it’s adorable.

DA: The Harpoonist And The Axe Murderer

Daily AggregationHello Regina friends! It’s a lovely, lovely sunny day outside, 10°C now with a high of 12 mid-afternoon. Sunrise today was at 6:25 and sunset is 7:37 p.m. So, I read the whole Internet for you, and here’s a condensed version for those of you who don’t have my endless free time.

1. KINDERGARTEN CRUNCH Full-day kindergarten and other radical changes are coming as Regina’s public school board tries to cope with slashed provincial funding.

2. LIBRARY LAMENT Provincial cuts to library funding are devastating. This is what we get from a bunch of boom bungling politicians, I guess.

3. PROTESTS FOR COLTEN BOUSHIE CONTINUE The RCMP have scaled back their presence outside North Battlefield’s provincial court after demonstrators called it “intimidating”: “[The RCMP is] protecting who, and from what exactly? That’s not clear to us, especially with the history my family’s had thus far with the RCMP,” Boushie’s cousin told CBC. Good question.

4. “ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT” Canada ranks 10 out of 16 “peer countries” on a Conference Board Of Canada report. Norway, Sweden and Denmark, which a certain nasty ex-Prime Minister dismissed as “northern European welfare states”, rock, as usual. Also, the United States is hilariously disastrous on the Income Inequality chart.

5. WELCOME BACK BRIAN, I GUESS Justin Trudeau’s federal Liberal will gather ’round the cabinet table for a special performance from Canada’s favourite former prime minister, Lyin’ Brian Mulroney. The sad thing is, ol’ “envelopes stuffed with bills” probably has useful insights. Sigh.

6. CELL PHONE SPY DEVICES DISCOVERED AT MONTREAL AIRPORT Who’s responsible? Nobody’s taking responsibility.

7. BANNON BOOTED President Donald Jerkwad Trump has removed his political adviser, former Breitbart boss Steve Bannon, from the National Security Council. Trump’s administration continues to be an unprecedented shambles.

8. WHO GASSED CIVILIANS? Russia and Syria say it was Syrian rebels but pretty much everyone else says it was the Syrian regime. I’ll put my nickel on the latter. If Bashir al Assad had retired to Moscow after the 2011 mass protests the country wouldn’t be rubble and 470,000 people would still be alive. The brutality seems never-ending. Monstrous.

HARPOONISTS AND AXE MURDERERS Are these the sort of people we welcome to this town? Hell yes they are. Show’s tonight at the Exchange. Here’s Beatty’s interview with Axe Murderer Matthew Rogers.  Also, have you guys seen Greg? He hasn’t been in the office in more than a week…

Here’s “Forever Fool” from TH&TAM’s new album Apocalipstik.

DA: Men Without Hats

Daily AggregationGood afternoon Regina! It’s 12°C at 4:12 on a cloudy day and I have a cold. Sunrise was 6:29, sunset is 7:34, the low overnight is -2 and I’m listening to “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats. News? News!


2. BYELECTON MONDAY Voting is happening; none of it here.

3. BRAD WALL’S POP DROPS He’s still pretty darn popular, though.

4. RUSSIAN SUBWAY EXPLOSION KILLS 11 It was caused by an “unidentified explosive device”.

5. TODAY’S REASON TO HATE GARY BETTMAN NHL players won’t be  in the 2018 Olympics. To be fair, it doesn’t sound like the International Olympic Committee did enough to make this happen. Story here.

6. TRUMP VOTERS: BLIND HOPE AND IRRATIONAL, SELF-DESTRUCTIVE LOYALTY Possibly a small consolation for the millions of Americans who will be harmed by the Donald Trump presidency and Republican House and Senate: the people who voted for him will pay for it too. Not that they’ll stop supporting him.

7. SPEAKING OF TRUMP SUPPORTERS Stephen King has always had insight into American psychologies, so when he writes about his imaginary roundtable with made-up Trump supporters it’s worth reading.

8. EVERYONE LIKES DINOSAURS Looks like the fact that dinosaurs are cool is the one thing conservatives and the rest of us can agree on. As long as they don’t share their dumb opinions on the earth’s age.

WE CAN DANCE! WE CAN DANCE! Everything’s out of control!

DA: Cat Action Massage Japan!

Daily AggregationGood afternoon, Regina! Hope you had a happy last day of March. The sun came up today at 6:36 and will set at 7:29 giving us a glorious 12 hours, 53 minutes of daytime. The high is 8°C, a little disappointing after yesterday but it seemed nice enough to me in the sunshine, anyway, and the low will be  -1. Here’s news.

1. GRANTS-IN-LIEU: PROVINCE LETS SMALLER MUNICIPALITIES OFF THE HOOK After copious backlash, the Sask Party government has sorta backed down, and Estevan, Moose Jaw, Prince Albert and six other municipalities won’t be punched as hard by cuts to Sask Energy and Saskpower grants. But eff Regina and Saskatoon.

2. ALBERTA NEEDS A NEW CRUSH Political columnist Don Braid blasts Brad Wall’s attempt to lure Whitecap Resources to Saskatchewan. Good read.

3. TRUMP CANARY WANTS TA SING Former U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, who, along with President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, had an undisclosed December meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak  wants to tell … stuff? to the the committees investigating Trump coordination with Russians during last fall’s U.S. election. Flynn’s condition? Immunity from prosecution. Sing, you wicked little bird! Sing!

4. TOP U.S. DIPLOMAT: “DON’T LOOK AT MEEEE” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is … weird, and it’s freaking out the State Department.

5. JUST A REMINDER HOW HORRIBLE TRUMP IS Remember how yesterday he sent his slimy V-P to cast a tie-breaking Senate vote that would let backwater states defund Planned Parenthood? Same day he does that he tweets this:

Yeah, the full potential of women to shut up, make babies and only have access to health care if they’re wealthy. Creep.

6. PATS WHACK HITMEN Four straight wins! Cool!

JAPAN, YOU WIN THIS ONE Who wants a cat massage?

DA: Cute, Thirsty Cobra

Daily AggregationHey Regina! It’s a warm, grey March Thursday and the new Prairie Dog is out, hooray! You can read a lot of it online (I recommend this and this). I’ve already read it, so I’m just going to enjoy the 16°C weather and the fact the sun stays up until 7:28 tonight. Here’s the day’s news links, as I randomly picked ’em.

1. DID BRAD WALL BREAK TRADE RULES? Saskatchewan’s premier may have violated the New West Partnership between Manitoba, Alberta, British Columbia and Sask, which would be ironic since his government was such a cheerleader for it. Anyway, as you’d guess Wall is unapologetic.

2. SASKATCHEWAN’S EDUCATION MINISTER SAYS THERE ARE TOO MANY LIBRARIES He really did. Maybe it was a slip of the tongue and he meant coyotes?

3. UNIVERSITY OF REGINA GETS A SEXUAL ASSAULT PREVENTION ADMINISTRATOR It’s the first of nine recommendations in the Gender-Based Violence needs assessment report, which you can download from the University’s website here (unless I’m missing something, you can’t read it online, unfortunately).

4. U.S. VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE CASTS TIE-BREAKING VOTE TO ALLOW BACKWATER STATES TO DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD Women will die because of this but Pence calls himself a Christian so it must be okay. In other scumbag news, two men who secretly filmed Planned Parenthood employees then released the edited-to-be- misleading videos were just charged with conspiracy and illegal recording.

5. CALGARY THINK-TANK SAYS LEAVING THE TARSANDS IN THE GROUND INCREASES GHG EMMISSIONS Up is down, black is white, peace is war and Conservative think tank reports aren’t disingenuous shills for fossil fuels.

6. MONTREAL EX-MAYOR SENTENCED TO JAIL One year for corruption.


8. EVERY ONCE IN A BLUE MOON A SNAKE REALLY DOES EAT SOMEONE This link is for the 900 zillion texts, e-mails and messages I’ve received in the past few days about the reticulated python that ate an Indonesian farmer. Yes, for the record, it should be legal to keep retics as pets, although they have specialized requirements and it would be reasonable to require a license. And no, I don’t have one and I’m not getting one. I’m a colubrid guy. Anyway here’s a cute, thirsty king cobra to make everything better.

City Council Warp Up: Glockenspiel Will Glocken Again, There’s Hope For Craft Brewers

Is there some kind of achievement unlocked for live tweeting city council two nights in a row? Because I deserve that.

Here’s a collection of tweets from the March 28 meeting. No budget emergencies this night. Just your typical “how’re we gonna fund a glockenspiel?” kind of meeting.

Also on the agenda was the food and beverage service at the new stadium and this inspired a group of local craft brewers to appear before council and ask for some assurance that Regina’s small breweries will be able to sell their cold ones in the stadium. Spoilers: Local craft beer in the stadium is highly likely.