Sask. Party still running deficit, taking it out on students and programs

The Sask. Party government admitted Monday that it’s still running a deficit budget – and with cuts in health care already rolling out, the Sask. Party announced Monday it’s chopping at education to try to make up the difference.

The government is reporting an operating deficit of $262 million, not including $700 million in borrowing. The reported deficit would have been $402 million, but that number was softened by a change to accounting practices. By aligning the fiscal year-ends of Crown corporations with core government operations, the government is including an additional three months of Crown revenues in this year's budget.

“It’s pretty shocking that after a decade of record, windfall revenues and unprecedented resource boom, all it took was a few softer months for the Sask. Party to plunge us into deficit,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “If only they hadn't drained our rainy day fund, if only they had saved a bit of money and diversified our economy, then the impact of this drop in commodity prices wouldn't be so harsh for Saskatchewan families.

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Brad Wall's become out of touch

Cam Broten uses fall legislature to contrast his choices with Wall’s misplaced priorities

The fall session of the legislative assembly ended Thursday with NDP Leader Cam Broten pointing out that Brad Wall has changed, and his decisions on where to spend and where to make painful cuts have gotten very out of line with Saskatchewan families.

“The Sask. Party has had a golden opportunity with our resource boom delivering revenues like never before over the last decade,” said Broten. “For a time, in the early days of the Wall government, we were actually on pretty similar pages as to what to do with that money. Things like pay down some debt and hire more nurses.

“But Mr. Wall has changed and his priorities just don't match Saskatchewan people's priorities anymore. Instead of our prosperity being used to make life better for everyone, to improve health care and seniors care and education, we’re seeing more and more bad choices that benefit foreign corporations over Saskatchewan businesses, and make life better for government politicians instead of making life easier for families.”

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NDP calls for session to be extended

The NDP is trying to extend the legislative session for an additional two weeks, saying there's too much unfinished business to wrap up the fall sitting on Thursday as the government plans to do.

On Wednesday, the NDP made a procedural move to call for a two-week addition.

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Seniors care crisis continues

Three years after very serious concerns about staffing and standards in seniors care homes were first raised by the NDP and concerned families, the Sask. Party hasn’t fixed anything – but appear to be making an effort to make sure the troubles are kept quiet.

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More than 120 health staff promoting Lean full-time

More than 120 staff have been hired solely to promote the John Black Lean program in Saskatchewan, costing taxpayers tens of millions in salaries alone.
 
In addition to 97.6 full-time staff in the 12 Kaizen Promotion Offices in the health regions and the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency, there are at least four full-time Lean specialists in the Health Ministry, five in eHealth and at least another 17 devoted exclusively to Lean promotion in the Provincial Kaizen Promotion Office.

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