Skip to main content

'Tell me why you’re doing this': Sask. rural students rally to keep provincial championship


Student-athletes from rural communities drove three and a half hours to rally in front of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation headquarters in Saskatoon on Tuesday.

The Preeceville and Norquay senior girls’ and boys’ basketball teams voiced their frustrations to STF Associate Executive Director Angela Banda.

"I want you to look at me and tell me why you’re doing this. You say ‘we have your back, we care about you’, but you don’t,” said Cassidy Patterson, a grade 12 student.

“Teachers do care about you, and what teachers are fighting for is money so that schools can provide the supports they need for students,” Banda responded.

The STF and the province have been at a standstill for months, with the main point of contention being classroom size and complexity.

The STF plans to withdraw from extracurricular activities on Thursday and Friday this week, which impacts the provincial basketball championship, known as Hoopla.

“How is that going to make the government upset? I don’t understand the thought process behind that bargaining tactic,” one parent said.

“Nothing directly affects government. It's public pressure, it’s doing things like you’re doing today that applies pressure. That’s the only way that sanctions work,” Banda said.

Patterson said the Preeceville Panthers were ecstatic after they won the regional championship and earned their way to provincials for the first time in nearly 30 years.

“It was an incredible moment. Everyone running onto the court and smiling, and then you look at that picture that was taken when we ran onto the court, and it makes me sad,” Patterson.

Students from Lanigan protested outside the legislative building in Regina.

"Us as athletes have worked hard all season and them taking this away from us is super devastating," Reese Stroeder said.

The STF said it’s fighting for long-term quality education. It said job action can be lifted if the province agrees to bring in a third-party arbitrator.

The province has repeatedly said it’s willing to return to the bargaining table, but won't negotiate class size or complexity.

“We don’t want to see kids affected in this. We brought forward a new mandate and it’s disappointing, quite honestly, to see the union leadership take these opportunities away,” said Jeremy Cockrill, Minister of Education.

The Saskatchewan High School Athletics Association said job action has to end by 3 p.m. Wednesday or Hoopla will be cancelled. Top Stories

Stay Connected