The Sask. Party government is giving more than $120 million per year to consultants – but how much went to flights and meals instead of actual work? The government says it has no idea.
An application filed under freedom of information laws asking that question turned up nothing. A letter from the government says: “the ministry would have to retrieve and examine all invoices related to the consultant account codes and search each invoice for travel expenses.”
Since they don’t track that number, the government asked for an $11,835 payment to research the information.Read more
Yet another report on seniors care crisis; Sask. Party still failing to act
A new survey of health professionals shows that since the release of reports like the Ombudsman’s investigation into the tragic death of Margaret Warholm, seniors care hasn’t improved at all.
80 per cent of Health Science Association of Saskatchewan (HSAS) members say the gaps in services and staffing they reported in February were still just as bad as of this week. Another 11 per cent say they’ve gotten worse, according to the professional association, which spoke out Tuesday. HSAS represents front-line professionals like assessors who determine the needs of seniors in care, dieticians and physical therapists.
The survey also shows that over 70 per cent of HSAS’s health care workers say long-term care in Saskatchewan is either poor or fair, with less than three per cent saying it’s great. And, shockingly, 42 per cent of HSAS health professionals say, yes, there have been reductions to health services as a result of understaffing in their region, while only 10 per cent answered no to that question.Read more
Mother of four unable to find a replacement for Youth Companion Program
The NDP wants the Sask. Party to immediately reverse its decision to scrap the Youth Companion Program, because with school nearly out for summer, parents like Lorelee Finnie are scrambling for alternative arrangements and finding nothing.
This spring, the Sask. Party scrapped the program that helped match youth with cognitive disabilities to caregivers. The program, delivered by Radius, also planned activities and programming for youth including the popular summer Glee Club. The valuable program cost just $65,000.
“The Sask. Party dismissed the program as unimportant, and said parents should just figure out an alternative. But Mr. Wall and company simply don’t have their facts straight,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “There is no replacement for this fantastic program. It meant parents could find trusted, qualified caregivers. And, it meant the world to the kids.
“The Sask. Party has taken away a program that moms like Lorelee really need, and replaced it with nothing.”Read more
The Sask. party awarded two massive P3 schools contracts Monday – to the same multi-national conglomerate – so seven non-Saskatchewan corporations and two Saskatchewan companies will take a profit from Saskatchewan children’s schools.
A large firm headquartered in Milwaukee will be responsible for maintenance and operations of Saskatchewan schools on two long-term contracts, likely about 30 years. P3 deals are costly complex ownership and financing schemes in which the province essentially rents its own schools from management conglomerates. In P3 deals, one or several large for-profit corporations put up the capital in exchange for a hefty profit and massive interest fees.Read more
P3 rental schemes have worked poorly and cost more in other provinces. The NDP wants the Sask. Party to turn away from its P3 schools scheme before the contract is signed, and instead start building schools in a cost-effective and transparent way.
The NDP has previously criticized the government's plan to use a massive, bundled P3 to have private corporations build and operate schools in Saskatchewan. Now, with the government just about to sign the contract and evidence from other jurisdictions' bad P3 experiences piling up, the Opposition says it's urgent that the plan changes before the province is locked in to a 30-year bad deal.
“Instead of awarding a private conglomerate from another province or country a lucrative deal to build and manage our children’s schools for the next 30 years, let’s learn from other provinces and just do this the straightforward way,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “If we decide to own and maintain our schools ourselves – as we always have – we save money, we get building immediately and our communities will get all the access to the schools they’ve always had.
“The delays have already been too long, and the consulting and bidding fees we’ve paid are already piling up. The government needs to stop its rent-a-school plan before it hands out a multi-million-dollar contract to an out-of-province and out-of-country conglomerate.”Read more