Scumbag Scott sweeps a different sort of vote

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An award only earned through hard work and dedication. lee lim

Moe taken out with the trash

This article was inspired when a friend shared Rank and File’s shortlist of candidates for their 2022 Scumbag of the Year award. Four Canadian candidates each from the public and private sectors were selected, and it wasn’t as much of a surprise as I’d have liked it to be to see Scott Moe as one of two premiers who made the cut (the other being New Brunswick’s Blaine Higgs). 

At the time of writing, Moe has received 1,718 of 2,504 total votes split between the four public sector candidates, or roughly 69 per cent. For reference, the current second place runner-up is Ontario Minister of Health Sylvia Jones, with roughly 19 per cent; Moe’s got one hell of a lead. While Rank and File’s explanation for Moe’s nomination is restricted to one paragraph, they hit on several key ‘scumbag’ moments such as his questionable treatment of the working class. They reference him specifically as a “union-busting scumbag” for pushing legislation back in March to force locked-out CP railway workers back on the job. 

They also reference the push to privatize healthcare, similar to what’s observable in Ontario; wages capped, healthcare professionals fleeing in droves, hospitals at 200-300 per cent over capacity, and increased pressure on the idea that a pay-for-service system would provide more efficient care. All this while disregarding the harm a pay-for-service healthcare system could cause in a province with nearly 20 per cent of adults earning an income below the poverty line as of 2019 and nearly 30 per cent of children living in poverty, not to mention us consistently being the province with the lowest minimum wage.

Our mental healthcare fares no better. In mid-July, Prince Albert’s child and youth inpatient mental health and psychiatric unit ceased all new admissions – this being the second time since 2020 – because their only remaining psychiatrist resigned on August 6. In an article by Connor O’Donovan for Global News, Dr. Randall Zbuk (the since-departed psychiatrist) was said to have had the stance that “Saskatchewan kids’ life outcomes are being put at risk by an under-resourced health-care system.” Not a healthcare system that would benefit from being privatized, but one that’s essentially being mugged. At the time of O’Donovan’s article, the waitlist for services in Prince Albert was roughly 400 persons long, with triage being the only feasible approach to treatment regardless of context. 

There are a host of other moments that could be highlighted as the scumbaggiest that could be, but one haunting event that cannot be underemphasized is the handling of wife murderer Colin Thatcher’s appearance at the throne speech. While Moe didn’t invite Thatcher (that was Lyle Stewart’s move), Moe later said to reporters questioning the invite that was an apology to be requested of Stewart, Moe wouldn’t “understand what we’d be asking to apologize for.” After severe public backlash, Moe later apologized, saying this move reflected poorly on the Sask. Party.

All this resulted in the media highlighting the rates of domestic violence in Saskatchewan – some of the highest in the country – in comparison to resources available for those trying to escape situations where they are being abused, which are abysmal. Again, the province’s poverty rates have an influence here, with some people staying in relationships that constantly threaten their lives for the temporary potential of financial survival. It is hard to imagine that this situation of forced dependence would better if all illness – physical or otherwise – required payment for support. 

In short, we’re in trouble. We’re a province being slowly (but rapidly increasingly) deprived of social assistance and support, all as a way to imply which residents are desirable to those in power. It’s really not too different from the Christmas story of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, who was only socially accepted once he was deemed useful to the system in place. 

News flash: the system in place is failing the people who have no option but to participate in the system, and those in power have shown no interest in supporting those who have no use to them. If that’s not scumbag material, I don’t know what is.

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