Four-year-old boy denied medical treatment because of budget cuts

The family of four-year-old Kayden Kot has been told that a desperately needed treatment won’t be funded by the province, and Kot’s mom Sylvie Fortier-Kot was told the reason is budget cuts.

Over his young life, Kot has experienced serious health challenges, complicated by a medical error. He has needed more than a dozen trips out of province for treatment, only two of which have been covered by the provincial government. Now, the Sask. Party says Kayden can’t return to the Star Center in Denver for his next round of treatment, which would cost just over $14,000.

Fortier-Kot says she’s hit a wall dealing with the government.

Read more

Sask. Party quietly backs away from ER wait times commitment

The Sask. Party has promised repeatedly since 2012 that emergency room wait times would be gone by 2017 – but made no progress on that promise, and has now backed away from the pledge. 

The promise to eliminate ER wait times by 2017 was made in dozens of documents, media releases and interviews. The decision to back away from that goal was just a few lines in the Health Ministry’s annual report.

“There's no question that it was an ambitious commitment, and I don't think most Saskatchewan people would fault the government for falling a bit short of achieving it if we actually saw significant progress toward reducing ER wait times. The problem is that we haven't seen progress. People are waiting far too long in our province's emergency rooms,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten, who raised this issue in the legislature on Tuesday. 

Saskatchewan has stopped reporting its province-wide ER wait times to the Canadian Institute of Health Information. When it last did, Saskatchewan’s wait times had doubled over just three years, hitting an average wait of about 3.5 hours before seeing a doctor in 2013, up from about 1.7 hours in 2010. Current numbers for Regina and Saskatoon’s health authorities show wait times still at about the 3.5-hour mark on average, with waits to see a physician at the Regina General Hospital now 4.4 hours, on average. 

Read more

No explanation for billion-dollar bypass boondoggle

Corporation from France to get millions to plow a few kilometres for the next 30 years

In a technical briefing regarding the Regina bypass, the Sask. Party couldn’t or wouldn’t explain how the price of the Regina Bypass has ballooned by over $1 billion.

The Regina Bypass has gone from $800 million, to $2 billion – not including the price of land – because the government is using a P3 rent-a-road scheme.

A corporation from France will build the bypass, and collect millions every year for the next 30 years in order to “operate” a section of highway, which includes having the corporation from France come in and plow the road.

Read more

People’s agenda to control session: NDP

Four NDP bills on the table already; session to start Tuesday

The NDP has a strong agenda of legislation it wants passed, and problems it wants fixed during the fall session of the Legislative Assembly – a plan built by listening to growing concerns among Saskatchewan families.

“The Sask. Party keeps dismissing concerns like overcrowded, under-resourced classrooms, long waits for specialists and the ongoing crisis in seniors care. They're handing huge government contracts to out-of-province and out-of-country companies instead of supporting Saskatchewan businesses which create good, mortgage-paying jobs. It's no wonder why more and more people are saying that the Sask. Party seems to be growing increasingly out of touch,” said NDP house leader Warren McCall.

“Mr. Wall’s plan to coast to the provincial election without any improvements in hospitals, classrooms or seniors care homes – that’s not on, if you ask everyday families. And his plan to keep favouring foreign corporations instead of Saskatchewan businesses – that's not on either. This government left their agenda for the fall session pretty blank, and we intend to fill it with things that really matter to Saskatchewan families.”

Read more

5,800 full-time jobs lost, Sask. Party on a contracting-out spree

Statistics Canada says Saskatchewan shed 5,800 full-time jobs during the past year, throughout which the Sask. Party chose to send massive contracts to foreign corporations instead of hiring locally.

The full-time job losses were somewhat offset by the addition of part-time jobs.

“Instead of adding good, mortgage-paying careers here in Saskatchewan, we're seeing a trend toward precarious part-time employment,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “We need to stop all the contracting out this government is doing, because that's a big part of that problem.”

Read more