NDP is ready for fall session

Cam Broten and the New Democrat MLAs are ready to meet the Sask. Party at the legislature for the fall session and they plan to put the focus on things that matter most to Saskatchewan families – including the NDP’s strategy to address crowded classrooms in schools, wait times in emergency rooms and for specialists and the ongoing seniors care crisis.

The Sask. Party announced Monday that the Legislative Assembly would resume sitting on Oct. 13.

“We’ve spent the last several months on the doorsteps and in the community listening to Saskatchewan families,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “We listened to them about the need to cap classroom sizes, because having more than 30 kids in one class with no educational assistant isn’t right. We heard lots about the long waits in ERs and to see a specialist. We heard about the seniors care crisis and the need to put more staff on the front lines in seniors care homes. These are the top priorities of Saskatchewan families, and New Democrats share these priorities. 

“There's growing disappointment throughout Saskatchewan that this government failed to turn a decade of resource boom into real improvements for people where it counts. The Sask. Party didn’t save a dime, and piled on debt, but blew far too much money on their misplaced priorities. 

“The Sask. Party hired consultants, spent millions on smart meters and bet the farm on Lean. And they chose to ship billions of dollars in contracts to France, the United Kingdom and the United States and have corporations from Milwaukee and London handle maintenance on schools and hospitals. What they should have done was hired teachers and educational assistants, invested in great schools and health care facilities, supported Saskatchewan business that employ Saskatchewan workers, and worked to keep the cost of living in Saskatchewan low, so more families could get ahead.”

The government announced that there will not be a speech from the throne at the start of the fall session, which is how governments lay out their legislative agenda at the beginning of a new session.

“It's becoming increasingly clear that the Sask. Party government is running out of steam and running out of ideas,” said Wotherspoon. “We're also seeing more and more just how much they’ve changed – they’d rather not listen to people or focus on what matters most to people. They’d rather plow ahead with their own reckless plans without having to discuss them with Saskatchewan people first.”

Because the legislature will not prorogue and will simply carry on from the spring session, a number of private member’s bills tabled by the NDP will continue through the assembly this fall. Those bills include an anti-bullying bill that would give any student in a publicly funded school the right to form a gender sexuality alliance (GSA, often called a gay-straight alliance); a bill to put minimum care standards and staffing levels in seniors care homes; a bill to make the cost of P3 projects transparent; and a bill to modernize procurement policies and give local businesses an even playing field when it comes to bidding on local government contracts.