---Saskatchewan Outports

FTLComm - Tisdale - August 29, 2000
In the late sixties and early seventies Joey Smallwood, premier of Newfoundland decided that the revenue for his province could no longer sustain the villages spread along the coast of the "rock" and began a deliberate campaign that involved the denial of services and support for the remote communities of the province. In essence he and his government forced the people to move to the larger centres and abandon their homes which had served the people of Newfoundland for centuries.

Premier Romanow has begun the same policy in Saskatchewan. Long ago we began accusing he and his government of abandoning rural Saskatchewan and in the last provincial election the voters of the province agreed and all but eliminated all NDP seats in the legislature that represent rural ridings. We now have a government of the cities, for the cities and by the cities. Although that may not be accurate because at present almost all cabinet ministers are from "city" not cities.

When SaskTel introduced the Internet service to Saskatchewan in May of 1995 it was the same for all Saskatchewan people no matter where you lived it cost the same and you received equal service. As of now that equality is over as it costs me $60 a year more for my Internet service than someone in the "Central" areas: Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Yorkton, Swift Current, North Battleford, Weyburn and Estevan. These are Saskatchewan's central locations the rest of us live in the soon to be exterminated and definitely abandoned outports, the "Extended" parts of Saskatchewan. By the way folks if you don't like it there is nothing, not a thing you can do about it because SaskTel answers to no one and it is clearly Saskatchewan government policy to destroy the economy and infrastructure of extended Saskatchewan.

But there is more. I called SaskTel to find out about the high speed continuous service that it raves about in its pamphlet that is sent out Friday of last week only to discover, as Mario deSantis did, that the high speed service is not for any part of the "extended" part of Saskatchewan. So too is SaskTel's move next year into cable television service only intended for the "Central" part of Saskatchewan. Like SaskPower, SaskTel has a believe rate structure and we who do not live in the "central" areas will pay more for everything and get less in return for the same money spent.

Now as you ponder this think of the huge amount of money spent on SaskTel every year by we in the extended area. Since 1995 I and many others who work on the Internet have installed second telephone lines so that every month without placing a single call my telephone bill for lines and service is almost $100. $1200 a year I spend on a company not including long distance (businesses are not eligible for the bundles you enjoy with your personal home phone) and for this I am being penalised for locating my business in Tisdale.

It is time to look at alternatives. Sprint and AT&T both are moving along with Internet service and we have high hopes the Image television will come along with its wireless network. One way or another our time with the gouging "Central" company has to end.

Timothy W. Shire
(illustrations on this page all come from SaskTel's most recent and deceptive advertising mailout.)