The Official Opposition Critic for Jobs and Economy Aleana Young (MLA for Regina University) was in Moose Jaw on Tuesday, along with Municipal Affairs Critic Erika Ritchie (MLA for Saskatoon Nutana), calling on the government to reverse its decision to close all 34 Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority (SLGA) stores and reverse the hundreds of job cuts.
"The start of the holiday shopping season, which should be a time of prosperity and joy for so many, but unfortunately for the over 350 SLGA workers staring down unemployment in the new year, is a pretty tenuous and heartbreaking holiday season," commented Young.
"With the release today of the mid-year financials, we see that this is a Sask Party government sitting in a good place economically when it comes to the government books, but instead of seeing results for people, instead of seeing an investment in public service and in publicly owned crowns, we're seeing a government that would prefer to have hundreds of hard-working public servants out of a job heading into the holiday season."
The Saskatchewan Government and General Employees' Union (SGEU) says Moose Jaw’s SLGA store, located in the former train station on Manitoba Street, employs nine part-time and four full-time employees.
"People in Moose Jaw are deeply proud of their heritage, of the notoriety associated with the town and have built a real industry, in a really innovative way and this certainly is a flagship for retail commerce in Moose Jaw," noted Young.
"It's also a piece of history and something I hope the government considers. For so many people, yes, your job is a paycheque; yes, it is keeping a roof over your head and food on the table. It's a source of pride and it's a source of identity within the community and for the community. For such an iconic location like this, I remembered when it opened, was so celebrated in terms of the investment in keeping this as a great heritage spot for anybody over the age of 19, to be able to come and patronize, is really important to the community and chatting briefly with some of the folks in there, they're really proud, not just of their jobs, but to work in this building and to be a small piece of Moose Jaw's history."
Young says SLGA Critic Nathaniel Teed has presented a petition in the legislature calling on Premier Scott Moe's government to hit pause on its decision.
The SLGA stores are slated to be closed sometime before the end of March 2023.