Government’s refusal to save for the long-term isn’t wise: NDP

The premier flip-flopped on starting a long-term savings account for Saskatchewan Wednesday, and that’s another blow to Saskatchewan’s economic sustainability, according to the NDP.

Just one year ago, Brad Wall told media "I just don't see how we would want to delay any longer," when it comes to starting a heritage fund. The fund would mean some resource revenues could be set aside to earn interest and build stable wealth for the province. On Wednesday, however, Wall flip-flopped and dismissed the idea of saving anything from resource revenues now.

NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon said the long-term savings account is one way to make Saskatchewan’s economy more sustainable for the long-term, but the government is going in the wrong direction.

“Every family knows it’s smart to save a little bit for the future, even if you’re also paying a mortgage,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “Instead of saving, this government spends everything that comes in, and then some.”

According to the independent provincial auditor, the provincial debt as of March 2014 climbed to $19.1 billion.

“After years of boom revenue, the government hasn’t saved a dime. It has piled on debt. It has failed to use the strong economy to build new major hospitals or create the education and health systems we really want for our families,” said Wotherspoon.

Long-lasting economic strength could be built through long-term savings as well as diversifying. But, in addition to refusing to start saving, the government has hampered economic diversity. It demolished the film industry by ending the Saskatchewan Film Employment Tax Credit; it is causing layoffs in manufacturing by refusing to modernize its procurement policy; and it has failed to foster any new industries in Saskatchewan while the economic conditions have been favorable.

“It doesn’t have to be this way,” said Wotherspoon. “Saskatchewan could be a hotbed for a knowledge-based economy, for research and for manufacturing, fabrication and construction. Saskatchewan could be putting just a bit of those resource revenues aside so we can guarantee tomorrow’s economy is strong. It’s time to invest in Saskatchewan’s future, and that’s what this government should be doing now, without delay.”

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus