Surgical waits continue to climb

New government statistics show that the number of patients waiting more than three months for surgery in Saskatchewan has jumped by 90 per cent since March.

The Sask. Party cut the surgery budget in March, deciding to do thousands fewer surgeries this year. The wait list has grown fast since then.

“They won’t cut their Lean program budget, but they’ll cut thousands of surgeries,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “It’s obvious that patients just aren’t their priority anymore.

“To go in the wrong direction so fast that the wait list nearly doubles in just months is absolutely alarming. At this rate, progress on surgical waits will be quickly wiped out.”

At the end of October, 3,195 patients on the wait list had waited longer than three months for surgery, compared to 1,686 patients at the end of March. The change is a 67 per cent increase in Saskatoon, and a whopping 145 per cent jump in Regina. The November and December figures aren’t available yet, but slow-downs in the number of surgeries performed in those months were planned, according to internal health region documents.

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Committee hearing reveals carbon capture lost millions in 2015

$7 million in penalties, $17 million in repairs

Saskatchewan lost millions on penalties, repairs and operating costs on the Sask. Party’s carbon capture experiment in 2015.

That information was revealed in a committee meeting at the legislature on Tuesday during which Cathy Sproule, the NDP’s critic for SaskPower, questioned the Sask. Party’s Bill Boyd and his officials.

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NDP supports CPP expansion, more financial security for seniors

The NDP supports a reasonable, phased-in expansion of the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) so that Saskatchewan families have more security in retirement.

The potential expansion of the CPP is being discussed by Canada’s finance ministers in Ottawa today, and Saskatchewan is, again, the outlier. The Sask. Party opposes phasing in modest growth in retirement payments. 

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NDP wants action on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations

NDP Leader Cam Broten wants the provincial government to get serious about the calls to action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

After six years of national consultations, and after more than 6,750 survivor and witness statements, the TRC released an interim report with its recommendations in June and issued its final report last week. The Sask. Party government has largely remained quiet on the TRC's recommendations.

"We have to seize this unprecedented opportunity to repair the harm and work for reconciliation," said Broten. “Closing the education gap and partnering with First Nations and Métis communities to create loads of jobs and opportunities – that’s the right thing to do, both morally and economically. 

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Trend shows working-age Saskatchewan residents moving out

Interprovincial migration statistics show a net loss of thousands

Over the last two years, more people have left Saskatchewan than moved in from other provinces, and the latest numbers from Statistics Canada show over half of them are under 40, and 70 per cent are under the age of 65.

Since 2013, Saskatchewan has had a net loss of about 5,700 people to interprovincial migration, which means more people left Saskatchewan than moved to the province from other parts of Canada.

Earlier this week, Brad Wall dismissed that, claiming the losses are simply because “a small number of people from Saskatchewan are moving to B.C. to retire.” But Statistics Canada's numbers show Wall had his facts wrong. The reality is that seven out of every 10 people leaving Saskatchewan were under the age of 65.

“Every single quarter since 2013, our province has lost more and more Saskatchewan people – including a lot of young people – to other provinces,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “I don’t know why Mr. Wall is brushing that off and pretending it doesn't matter, it does matter and this trend ought to be raising alarm bells."

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