December 7, 2021 Message to the Membership

Posted on December 7, 2021 in

December 7, 2021 Message to the Membership

Today’s word of the day is dumbfound, brought to you courtesy of Saskatoon City Council. According to, its simple definition is: to make speechless with amazement; astonish.

Now, that can have a double meaning, as in amazing in a good way, or astonishing in a negative way. Further research (on indicates that synonyms for dumbfound include positive descriptors such as amaze and overwhelm, but several others are of the negative variety, including bewilder, confound, boggle and flabbergast.

I’ll leave it to you to pull out the applicable meaning when I say it’s dumbfounding that Saskatoon City Council, after three days of deliberations, came up with a tax increase for the 2022/2023 Multi-Year Budget of 3.86 per cent and 3.53 per cent respectively. Especially when you take into account that going into it, Administration’s recommendations to Council were lower tax increases in the neighbourhood of 3.51 and 3.14 for the two years in question. It’s even more dumbfounding considering these were whittled down, on Council’s insistence mind you, after the indicative budget rates of 5.96 and 5.42 were first introduced by Administration back in August.

So when Council gives direction to Administration to bring down the numbers, and Administration then spends the next several weeks to look in every nook and cranny to come up with these savings, (again, at Council’s direction) and then Council does just the opposite itself is… some might say, disingenuous. But not me, because let’s do a two-for-one deal on the word of the day.

Disingenuous, according to, is: lacking in frankness, candor, or sincerity; falsely or hypocritically ingenuous, insincere.

You see disingenuous is exactly what one Councillor called the motion for a hiring freeze made by Councillor Bev Dubois, which happened to coincide with the recommendation that came from Your NSBA. In fact, it was the NSBA’s Tax Committee, which consists of CPA’s, business owners, consultants, management, and yes, even HR specialists, that came up with that recommendation. Now the Councillor who made the motion may have already had the same train of thought, but for the sake of argument, that’s beside the point.

So for a Councillor to come out and make fun of this notion, or motion, take your pick, and call it disingenuous is, some might say disingenuous. But that would make no sense, because then that Councillor might then say the disingenuous comment about the disingenuous comment is in of itself disingenuous. And, well, you get the idea.

So I won’t call this disrespectful action towards the notion, motion, or by extension, the NSBA Tax Committee as disingenuous, but let’s say it’s foolhardy. Ok, now it’s a three-for-one deal. Foolhardy, according to, is:  recklessly or thoughtlessly bold; foolishly rash or venturesome.

Because I would say to flippantly disregard the opinion offered by a collection of experts, which, as mentioned above are professionals with decades of experience, and whom by the way, are voluntarily assembled for the very purpose of providing guidance to an overworked and overwhelmed City Council in reviewing their budget package is, let’s say, recklessly or thoughtlessly bold, or in other words, foolishly rash or venturesome.

And what makes it even more so is that these increases are coming at the worst, and let me re-emphasize, THE WORST, possible time. Small and medium-sized enterprises, SME’s, or small business, are currently scratching and clawing their way out of the most significant economic calamity in generations. Maybe you’ve heard of it, it’s called COVID-19.

But apparently, its effect on the business community has seemingly gone unrecognized by our civic leaders. Because apparently they think in addition to labour shortages, increased debt loads, supply chain challenges, inflationary pressures, eroding consumer confidence, and likely most critically, the elimination of government support programs, what exactly this business community needs is a tax hike – and not just a tax hike, but one higher than the one you asked Administration to whittle down for you.

It’s hard to describe, so let’s just leave it at that. Because that’s what it is.

Special kudos (honour, glory, acclaim – according to go to Councillors Darren Hill, Troy Davies, Randy Donauer and the aforementioned Bev Dubois, who had the sense to listen to the experts, who again, were voluntarily assembled for the very purpose of providing guidance to Council, and voted in favour of the hiring freeze motion.

There’s always next year I guess. Oh wait, I forgot, it’s a two-year cycle now. I guess there’s always next year’s next year.

Until next time, be safe, be smart, be considerate, be well but most of all, be kind.

Keith Moen,

Executive Director

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