In light of the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford’s leaky roof, the skyrocketing cost of the Regina Bypass, and the high cost of building and maintaining P3 schools, the NDP is calling on the government to prioritize public builds that hire and source locally, and to come clean about the real cost of their pet P3 projects.
"The Saskatchewan government should be harnessing our resources to build our schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure projects,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “The Minister responsible for SaskBuilds was at the PNWER Summit today talking up our province’s experience with P3s, but the record simply does not back up the rhetoric.”
The NDP is calling on the Conflict of Interest Commissioner to take a deeper look into then-Minister of Government Relations Donna Harpauer’s undeclared personal vacations on the Village of Pinehouse’s dime. In December the Commissioner looked into the Village paying for her and her partner’s hotel accommodation. Recent Freedom of Information requests show that on the same two occasions, the Minister’s partner also had his guided fishing tours covered by the Village, but they were not declared or reimbursed.
“It stretches the imagination to hear the Minister say she was unaware of these additional expenses – it didn’t pass the smell test then and it doesn’t pass the smell test now,” said NDP Ethics and Democracy Critic David Forbes. “Especially when she was asked point blank in the Legislature back in May if her trip entailed any other expenses beyond hotel bills.”
With the reports into the 2016 Husky oil spill finally made public years after the incident, the NDP is calling for changes to how pipelines are regulated, and for the government to grant the Saskatchewan Information and Privacy Commissioner the power to order documents.
“The status quo has been to allow industry to police itself,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “That approach clearly failed in this case, presenting a danger to the people of the province, our lakes and rivers, our agricultural lands, and our resource sector. These investigation reports provide further evidence that we need an independent pipeline regulator as exists in Alberta, and an evidence-based approach to inspecting and, where required, replacing pipe that is no longer safe.”
While in North Battleford Monday, NDP Leader Ryan Meili raised concerns about how the government has allowed the Valleyview Towers seniors’ housing facility to become unsafe for the seniors living there.
“By making affordable housing for seniors less accessible, then filling the vacancies with hard-to-house individuals who need specialized supports, this government is manufacturing a crisis that erodes trust in the services we provide to those in need,” said Meili. “The Sask. Party is setting their own programs up for failure by mismanaging them. We know how important it is to ensure that older adults can live comfortably and affordably in thriving communities, but that’s not happening.”
If there are two key take-aways from this year’s Crown Corporation annual reports, it’s their importance to Saskatchewan people and Saskatchewan’s economy, and the consequences of their continued mismanagement. The Sask. Party government has made a lot of noise over the past week about the dividends our Crowns are paying to distract from the ballooning debt they’re carrying, and the rising rates Saskatchewan people are paying under their mismanagement.
“Well-managed Crowns would pay valuable dividends to the general revenue fund without hiking customers’ rates or tripling the debt,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “But under the Sask. Party, we’ve seen rising rates and rising debt while they continue to pull money from our Crowns to fill the gaps in their budget.”
The Sask. Party’s mismanagement of the Crowns is hurting the people of the province in their pocketbooks and gives cause for concern for the future of the Crowns. The Crown Investments Corporation and Saskatchewan Transportation Company annual reports reveal the Sask. Party’s penchant for selling Crowns or forcing more debt on to them.
“We’ve seen plenty of evidence that the Crown corporations provide invaluable services on top of the dividends returned to the people of the province,” said NDP CIC Critic Warren McCall. “The concern we have is the debt that the Sask. Party keeps tacking on to the Crowns, and the added financial burden it’ll add to people down the road.”