NDP calls for session to be extended

The NDP is trying to extend the legislative session for an additional two weeks, saying there's too much unfinished business to wrap up the fall sitting on Thursday as the government plans to do.

On Wednesday, the NDP made a procedural move to call for a two-week addition.

“There are serious issues that still need more daylight shone on them and there are many unmanaged problems that have come up,” said NDP House Leader Warren McCall. “We have CEO reports from seniors care homes just released that deserve a thorough review and discussion. The Sask. Party is running a deficit and there’s a mid-term financial update the people of the province are owed. They deserve for that update to be released and to have proper scrutiny.

“We are still in the midst of the due diligence on the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a 6,000-page document that we’ve barely started reviewing. And, the Sask. Party is signing a number of controversial P3 deals – sending billions of dollars to other countries and allowing private corporations to come in to schools and hospitals. That requires a lot more scrutiny. Plus, the government still hasn’t convened the committee to get to the bottom of the $1.5 billion carbon capture boondoggle.

“Meanwhile, patients are waiting far too long in emergency rooms and for specialist appointments. There are hospitals that are critically overcrowded and even unable to admit patients. And, thanks to a budget cut, the number of people waiting too long for surgery has jumped by 70 per cent just since March.”

McCall said the Sask. Party has used its majority to vote down or even prevent debate on NDP bills that address issues that matter to Saskatchewan families. But, too often, they’ve proposed nothing and taken no action in their place.

“The Sask. Party voted against the NDP’s seniors care bill – but they haven’t addressed the understaffing problem or replaced the minimum standards they struck from the law in 2012.

“They refused to debate an education bill that would have capped class sizes and helped deal with bullying and cyberbullying – and have done nothing on their own to deal with overcrowded and under-resourced classrooms or bullying concerns. We haven’t even concluded our debate on guaranteeing students access to a gay-straight alliance in schools throughout our province.

“The Sask. Party shot down the NDP bill that set greenhouse gas reduction targets and energy conservation and efficiency targets – but haven’t come out with any alternative targets for those areas.” 

McCall said the NDP MLAs welcome any extension to the fall legislative session, scheduled to end Thursday afternoon. But, he noted that the legislative session is concluding two weeks earlier in the calendar year than usual, so a two-week extension would be a common sense move.