Fightback against auserity is essential

Fightback against austerity is essential

Images from protests around Saskatchewan after the release of the Saskatchewan budget in March 2017, which eliminated an essential transport service (STC) and dramatically cut funding to libraries and other services, while reducing corporate taxes and raising consumption taxes.

There are moments in history where local politics have national, and even international, significance. Saskatchewan is currently living one of those moments.

Have no illusions. The recent provincial budget is about more than reducing government expenditures. It is an act of class warfare, and the beginning of a process of redefining the society you live in – massively reducing the social role of the state, and transferring yet more wealth to the already wealthy. There are three budgets left in the Sask Party’s current mandate and they will be worse than one just announced. They will be about ‘permanent austerity’, not short-term belt-tightening.

We’re being sold a lie. As Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman has noted, “All of the economic research that allegedly supported the austerity push has been discredited. On the other side of the ledger, the benefits of improved confidence failed to make their promised appearance. Since the global turn to austerity in 2010, every country that introduced significant austerity has seen its economy suffer, with the depth of the suffering closely related to the harshness of the austerity.”

The budget is disingenuous on its own terms. There is a mountain of evidence which demonstrates that taking the knife to education and social programs costs society more over the long term, while dramatically increasingly social suffering in the short term. In Ontario in 1997, one employed person in 40 worked for the minimum wage – but by 2015 it reached one in 8. In BC, poverty among seniors rose from a low of 2.2% in 1996 to 12.7% in 2014 – and many seniors have incomes just above the poverty line. Single women face a particularly high risk of economic insecurity in old age – one-third of single senior women in BC live below the poverty line. This level of immiseration and social abandonment is shameful in a country as wealthy as Canada.

Austerity is not an inevitability. This is no time for despair. You have an opportunity to create a movement of resistance that can turn the tables. That movement must be as historic and transformative as the Sask Party’s master plan is.

Moralistic appeals to those in power will not get our movement very far. The Wall government won’t be stopped simply by rallies outside MLAs’ offices. We must be bolder than that. We must build a common front that doesn’t leave anyone behind. This means putting the needs and voices of people on social assistance, the unemployed, low-income, and disabled, and, crucially, First Nations and Indigenous people, at the core of our fightback.

We need to build a movement of resistance that allows people to shake off their fatalism and their indifference. This means proving that we can make small victories that tangibly improve people’s lives, and thus offer hope and instill the belief that rising up can make a difference.

If the Sask Party is successful in implementing its permanent austerity agenda, the implications will be national – and even international. The Wall government will have succeeded in creating a meaner and much more unequal society. But if we fight back and win, the implications will be even greater.

The Stand Community Organizing Centre
Saskatoon / Treaty 6 Territory

All Out to Stop the Cuts! Protest the Premier’s Dinner April 27 in Saskatoon

Stop the Cuts website (please sign up for the mailing list)

Anti-Poverty Organizer John Clarke On Resisting the Austerity Agenda in Saskatchewan

Six ways The Stand has made a difference

Happy HO HO HOrganizing from The Stand!

We have been busy organizing for change last year, working in partnership with many of the committed and inspiring community groups in our city. Our work has included organizing public events and meetings that address: just transitions for oil sector workers, car sharing, electric cars, green burials, new roles for Canada Post, police accountability, trade policy, community health, and electoral reform and alternative voting systems!

Already know you want to support independent community organizing?

Become a member | Book our space for an event | Donate

Six ways we’ve made a difference

1. We’ve hosted public events

  • Green Burials
  • Activist Art
  • Beehive Collective
  • Fair Trade Saskatoon Wine & Information Session
  • Iron & Earth
  • Overshoot Day Event
  • Electric Car Presentation
  • Maude Barlow Meet & Greet

2. We’ve organized and promoted Book Clubs, Launches, and Readings

  • Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything book launch and discussion
  • Climate Solutions Book Club
  • After the Sands book launch
  • Janina Kirton & Dawn Dumont book launch
  • Wes Funk fan fiction
  • Fault Lines book launch with Emily Eaton and Val Zink
  • A Propaganda System book launch with Yves Engler
  • isms zine launch

3. We’ve housed meetings for community groups

  • Stop the Cuts to the Lighthouse organizing meeting
  • Iskwewuk
  • Council of Canadians Saskatoon chapter
  • NextUp advisory meeting
  • Saskatoon Coordinating Committee Against Police Violence
  • Girls Rock Camp
  • Salvador Allende Spanish School
  • Emerging Leaders for Solar Energy
  • Industrial Workers of the World (IWW), Saskatoon group

4. We’ve provided space for Annual General Meetings

  • Permasask
  • Saskatoon CarShare co-op
  • SK Association of Social Workers, Saskatoon
  • Broadway Theatre
  • Tonight It’s Poetry
  • Saskatchewan Aboriginal Writers’ Circle Inc. (SAWCI)

5. Offered Workshops, Coordination, and Consultation Services

  • One Tangible Skill Workshop, first of a series
  • SCIC Community Assessment and Facilitation
  • Strong Roots Consulting Hours

6. Welcomed Community Classrooms

  • Collective Voice Class
  • Hosted International Studies and Community Health and Epidemiology community seminar classes
  • Ecological literacy classes, spring and summer
  • EcoJustice Class BBQ

We have plans to grow our capacity and continue working alongside and supporting the important issues facing our communities today.

Here are three ways you can be part of it!

Become a member

Become a member and attend our AGM in January. Help shape our priorities for the upcoming year.

Book your next meeting in our space

Book your next meeting in our space and discover what an comfortable, relaxed, productive working space it is.

Donate to keep the movement building

The Stand is totally independent of state funding, and reliant on people who care about independent grassroots movements to keep it running. We can’t do all this without your help, so please consider becoming a sustaining member. Even a small contribution once a month is amazingly helpful and lets us plan our expansion.

The Stand Community Organizing Centre is located at 615 Main Street in the Broadway area of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan / Treaty 6 Territory. We offer meeting space, co-working desks, and services such as mentoring, workshops, and educational events that will build strong, sustainable social movements into the future.

Report from Overshoot Day at The Stand

According to Global Footprint Network, August 8th was Earth Overshoot Day, the day when humanity had used up its natural resources budget for the entire year, with carbon sequestration making up more than half of the demand on nature.  I have been an environmental activist for the past 10 years and my activism has led me to the understanding that this is the most important issue facing us on the planet.  I now speak wherever and whenever I can on the importance of looking after earth, our only home… and the only one that I know of with chocolate!

As Overshoot Day is a good time to bring awareness to looking after our planet, I organized an event at Turning the Tide, our community bookstore.  That evening we shared our stories, our ideas and our desires on how to get back to community living.  Very important was to create awareness, to engage others and our governments on the importance of looking after nature, about planting trees, and about cleaning up our air, our water and our land from pollution. 

We talked about how we were handling this in our own lives and about how to talk to others, to rally, to protest, or possibly to gather in civil disobedience?  Tom and Linda who are originally from Saskatoon and now are managing and restoring a rain forest in Costa Rica were saying that Costa Rica has the Right to a Healthy Environment in it’s Constitution and because of that people hold themselves and their government to a higher environmental standard.

We ended the evening with a helpful tip that everyone could do to take the strain off of our earth’s natural resources –  we could all do 20 % less of our spending, actually of everything, which would then make room for time with nature, and with family and friends.

For humanity to thrive we need to get back to “one planet living”!

One Tangible Skill

Workshop: One Tangible Skill – Choosing a Website Platform

Making a website for your organization can be easy— but knowing where to start is hard! In the past couple of years, the options for “website platforms” — the software to build a website with — have multiplied. It can be bewildering to a new person: should you use WordPress? Squarespace? Shopify? or something else? What about collecting donations for your organization, recruiting volunteers, selling swag online, or learning more about and reaching your supporters?

Come for a short evening class that will cover the basics and how to choose based on your goals for your website. You’ll leave, ready to start making your own blog, organizational website, or whatever type of site you are interested in making!

Bringing your own laptop/tablet would be helpful, but not necessary.

This edition of One Tangible Skill happens at The Stand. Date/time has been changed to Tuesday Nov. 1 @ 7:00 PM.

Rob Butz has been active for the past five years as a web developer in Edmonton and Saskatoon, focussed on website development for politically progressive non profit organizations. He works with Parkland Institute, Core Neighbourhood Youth Co-op, Station 20 West, and The Stand

Have an idea for a tangible skill you’d like to see featured in our series?  Contact us at to nominate a topic or presenter.

SPACES ARE FULL! Thanks for your interest.

Kevin Mitchell in Concert @ The Stand

“Playing acoustic guitar and singing about real stuff.” The songs that Kevin Mitchell plays and sings have the feel of a far off Woody Guthrie era, mixed with a roots vibe, and betraying just a little bit of his prairie heritage.

In the last few years the fire has been lit, and those songs are roaring into life. His unique style, rhythms and subject matter combine to create an exciting new and original voice in the Canadian folk music scene. With a style that conjures up Fred Eaglesmith, Bob Dylan, or Greg Brown, his original songs have a message of positive vibrations, but also the need for honest introspection in these times.

His last album, Home In The Sky (2015), featuring many talented Comox Valley musicians, was nominated at the recent VIMA’s for album of the year.

With two more albums slated to come out in 2016 with producer/ engineer Corwin Fox, this prolific songwriter is just getting into the swing of things. Last year, on a summer tour to his native Saskatchewan, he was enthusiastically embraced.

Accompanying Kevin’s music will be a show of ART Photo Posters on the Boreal Forest – a Boreal Series by John Murray and Don Kossick – and also short video clips on the need to protect and preserve the Boreal Forest.

Tickets are $10 at the door at The Stand!

RSVP on the Facebook event!

May Updates

We are pleased to have a new board member, Liz James, who will be helping us out on fundraising and events.

Over the summer months, Liz will be organizing a number of weekly events (sneak preview – Activist Kids Reading Corner! We’ve got lots of inspiring kids books just waiting to be read to your children!). Send an email to Liz to get in the loop about the exciting things planned, or to offer ideas.

We will also be starting a special promotion every Tuesday morning. From 9am – Noon, please come down to The Stand for free fair trade, organic coffee and enjoy free co-working space! Have a cup while you work, or even just read a book. We’d love to see you!

We will also be activating our Board working groups: Finance, Fundraising, Community Engagement, Communications, and Governance. We are interested in having a special working group exploring what it means to be Treaty 6 people and how The Stand can live those principles in our work. If you are interested in participating in any of these working groups, please send us an email at

And last but not least, we continue to look for monthly sustainers who can help us cover the cost of rent. Even $10/month would make a huge difference if we had a few more people able to make that contribution. The donations can be easily set up on our webpage: Thanks, and hope to see you at The Stand!


With our new location at 615 Main St. and partnership with Turning the Tide, The Stand Community Organizing Centre is fast becoming known as a vibrant hub of community activity. Events are being hosted, public and private meetings arranged, and community classes available. Check out some of these events (and other noteworthy happenings) in May 2016: Numbers and Stories

Free consulting hours for non-profits and community initiatives with Brian Hoessler

every Wednesday 1 – 3pm @ the Stand What’s happening in the community? What are the outcomes of our work? How can we build on our efforts to create effective change? In creating social change, action is important – so is knowledge. Through a partnership with The Stand, Brian Hoessler of Strong Roots Consulting will be holding regular office hours in the space every Wednesday from 1-3pm. Brian works with non-profits, social enterprises, and other change agents to help them answer those questions. He’ll provide free advice and assistance on topics related to evaluation and community research, on a first-come basis.

Ecological Literacy: Reconnecting with the Land

Ecological Literacy:

RECONNECTING WITH THE LAND first Saturday of each month @ the Stand Would you like to learn more about the natural world around us? Would you like to study ecological literacy and philosophies with others? Elizabeth Bekolay leads these groups helping more people reconnect with the land for themselves and their loved ones. Read more Jim Harding - Reviving Our Progressive Traditions

Reviving our Progressive Traditions in the Post-Harper Era

A TALK AND BOOK LAUNCH WITH JIM HARDING Saturday May 14th at 7:30 pm at @ the Stand Jim Harding’s new book TAKING BACK CANADA: ENDING HARPER’S RULE & REVIVING OUR PROGRESSIVE TRADITIONS will be launched in Saskatoon. There will be an open discussion about moving beyond the Harper era. The book will be for sale at the event. All are welcome. Sponsored by the Saskatoon Chapter of The Council of Canadians. Fair Trade - What's In It For Me?

Fair Trade – What’s in it for me?

ENJOY FAIR TRADE WINE SAMPLE LOCALLY-SOURCED FOOD BY CHEF JENNI Thurs, May 19, 7:00-9:00PM Entrance by donation. Enjoy a glass of fair trade wine, sample amazing, locally-sourced food from Chef Jenni, and learn how local people, organizations and businesses are working to support more ethical food options in Saskatchewan. Featuring engaging presentations from Sean McHugh (Canadian Fair Trade Network), George Fouffas (Consumer Services, U of S) and SCIC’s Ethical Eats project.

Support The Stand Community Organizing Centre and Turning the Tide Bookstore

Limited edition ethically sourced and printed bamboo/cotton blend The Stand T-shirts and Merry Mansion prints by local legend Dave Geary! Merry Mansion 12″ by 12″ digital print $25.00 Merry Mansion 19″ by 25″ 2-colour silk-screened print $75.00 The Stand t-shirt $25.00 All proceeds from t-shirt sales go directly to The Stand. Reserve your print or shirt by emailing!

Pick up your Indiegogo Perks here

The wait is over! If you contributed to our Indiegogo campaign and got one of the perk packages with a t-shirt or print, you can pick them up at Turning the Tide and The Stand – Community Organizing Centre starting December 1. For folks living outside of the Saskatoon area, we will be shipping your perks very soon.

Come to our Community Organizing Fund Launch!

Please join us at our Grand Opening this Saturday December 5, 1:30pm for the Launch of our Community Organizing Fund.

It will be followed by tours of our space as well as display tables promoting the important work of some of our community groups and partners: Iskwewuk Ewichiwitochik (Women Walking Together); Saskatoon Coordinating Committee Against Police Violence; Next Up Saskatoon; Neeched Up Games; Strong Roots Consulting; and Kinship Community Development.

And don’t forget about our evening event with Guy Vanderhaeghe, 3-time winner of the Governor-General’s Literacy award. Event information and free tickets available here: