I spent more time in jail than Scott Moe

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Scott Moe killed somebody. I stood up for the rights of working people. I spent more time in jail.

As has been widely reported this week, Saskatchewan’s premier was let go with a fine after a fatal crash in which a woman was killed in 1997. 

Not only that, his name was not released at the time and the woman’s son, then a teenager, did not find out for 23 years who was responsible for his mother’s death. 

Moe was given a ticket for driving without due care and attention, a provincial traffic offence. For killing someone in front of her son. 

Last January, by contrast, I was arrested on a legal and peaceful picket line at the Co-op Refinery as the cameras rolled, and spent seven hours in jail. I wasn’t the only one. Thirteen of my Unifor brothers and sisters were arrested along with me that night.

Our crime? Standing up for the rights of workers facing an employer who refused to bargain and a government that refused to step in.

Now it is revealed that the man at the head of that Saskatchewan Party government has been hiding the extent of his driving offences in the 1990s, culminating in that 1997 crash. 

His name was not released after the crash - not to the public, not even to the woman’s family. Instead, a boy was forced to grow into adulthood not knowing who killed his mother. 

What level of privilege was afforded to Moe that his name was kept secret for so long, and why? On the morning of the crash, he was driving from his grandparents’ farm to his parents’ farm. 

Think about that. Two farms in one family in the same area. By then, as well, Moe was a local businessman having established a farming business in the mid-1990s, buying equipment and renting land. The Moe family was obviously a fixture in the community. 

Did this afford Moe some sort of privilege that might not have been given to others in similar circumstances? Did being white and a local businessman mean he was treated better?

These and other questions need to be answered, and fast. 

The entire incident raises real questions of trust and integrity. Why did Moe not reach out to the family earlier? Why is he resisting doing so now, until after the election? His excuses make no sense. 

His 1997 fatal crash came after a drunk driving charge in 1992 and a drunk driving and leaving the scene of an accident charge in 1994, though the drunk driving in that incident was later dropped. 

Anyone else with three serious driving incidents, including a fatality, in five years could expect more than a ticket written at the side of the road. The average voter in Saskatchewan knows they’d be much less likely to get off so lightly. 

In the end, maybe that’s the real issue here. 

With his conservative policies that pay little attention to the real needs of working people and marginalized communities in Saskatchewan, Moe has proven that he simply doesn’t understand the challenges average voters face every day. 

Maybe that’s because he’d never faced them. Not really. 

Instead, his privilege let him skate free without consequence,