NDP demands better for students and seniors

NDP Leader Cam Broten has made seniors care and K-12 education his priorities – and he brought examples to the Legislature this week to explain how deep the need is for students and seniors.

Carrie Klassen was at the Legislature this week to explain what she has witnessed in the seniors care home in which her mother lives.

“The facts that she was able to give us are, very sadly, evidence of how the seniors care system is in crisis,” said Broten. “Our parents and our grandmas and grandpas deserve better.”

Klassen said that the Sask. Party’s rules for staff-to-patient ratio are not good enough to properly care for seniors. At times, she said, there is only one staff person for every 19 residents, resulting in seniors being left on the toilet for hours, call buttons ringing without response, seniors missing meals because there is no staff person to feed them and some people going without a bath for more than a week at a time.

Mid-week, Broten raised the emotional and physical safety of gay students by reaching out to the premier on the national Day of Pink, a day to recognize the fight against bullying in schools -- particularly homophobic bullying.

In question period, Broten proposed posting information on gay-straight alliances on the Ministry of Education website, noting the concrete step could be a resource for gay students being bullied or ostracized in school as well as for parents, teachers and student allies.

“I was definitely not satisfied with the premier’s response to that suggestion,” said Broten. “I thought this was a common-sense step. But, instead of agreeing that gay youth deserve to be safe and harassment-free, the premier immediately tried to cloud the issue with talk about freedom of religion when that had absolutely nothing to do with our constructive suggestion.”

Education critic David Forbes continued the focus on K-12 schools, pointing to the consequences of the Sask. Party’s refusal to properly fund education.

Forbes pointed to students in the Living Sky School Division in the Battlefords, who wear their winter coats in class because funding falls too short for proper heating and infrastructure. Officials say that they will have to dip into the division’s savings to cover basic operating expenses as a result of the Sask. Party’s budget.

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For further information, please contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus office