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.”
The damaging effects of the Sask. Party’s tax hike to construction labour is still apparent as the value of residential and non-residential building permits saw another drop.
“The construction industry was already facing challenges that were slowing it down, and instead of helping it get up to speed, the government completely slammed on the brakes,” said NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon. “It’s clear their PST hike needs to be scrapped immediately.”
The NDP Opposition is calling for a judicial inquiry into questionable land deals at the Global Transportation Hub, after the quiet release of its annual report shows another year of rising debt, a deficit of nearly $4 million, and no land sales.
“This year’s annual report sums up the failures of the Sask. Party to properly manage the GTH,” said GTH Critic Cathy Sproule. “Sask. Party insiders made millions off land deals, $2 billion was blown on a bypass that serves one customer at the GTH, and now the people of the province are on the hook for this expensive failure.”
According to the Saskatchewan NDP, SaskEnergy’s annual report highlights the need to keep the province’s publicly owned Crown Corporations in the hands of the people of Saskatchewan. And SaskEnergy’s new furnace rebate, NDP Leader Ryan Meili says, underscores the need for a more robust and comprehensive incentive system to help families, businesses and producers transition to cleaner and higher-efficiency energy usage.
“Giving those who can afford a new furnace a rebate on part of the cost isn’t enough to get us where we need to go,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “A furnace may not be the biggest bang for people’s buck, and most people won’t be able to afford the up-front cost. That’s why we continue to call for a comprehensive energy transition incentive plan we call Renew Saskatchewan.”
To mark the end of the school year and report on the first three weeks of the NDP’s Brighter Futures Education Survey, NDP Education Critic Carla Beck was joined by Sarah Cummings Truszkowski, a Regina parent and former educator, in front of École Connaught community school in Regina to discuss the state of Saskatchewan schools and the declining supports for Saskatchewan students.
“I have three children at Connaught. It is a brand new, beautiful, state-of-the-art school that was built with cool spaces for music, science, technology, and the arts, but unfortunately these spaces have become unavailable because of overcrowding, and the school yard will soon be full of portables,” said Cummings Truszkowski, a parent who filled out the survey and agreed to share her story publicly. “My children are not getting the best experience possible because the government has failed to provide stable, adequate, predictable funding to school boards.”