Why is the Sask. Party blocking auditor from looking into young offenders' programs and spending?

Wednesday morning, the Sask. Party members of the Legislative Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee blocked a motion to allow the Provincial Auditor to look into rehabilitating young offenders.

In 2013, the auditor attempted to audit whether the government had good processes for rehabilitating young offenders. Justice Ministry officials cooperated, but Brad Wall’s cabinet stepped in and shut it down, denying the auditor access to young offender files.

“We simply can’t have Mr. Wall and his cabinet actively stepping in to stop transparency and accountability,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon, who tried to move a motion to reverse the denial in Wednesday morning’s all-party committee meeting. Instead, the Sask. Party members of the committee used their majority and moved to adjourn the subject to avoid the vote, and effectively deny the motion.

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NDP: What does Sask get for the millions gov’t gives consultants?

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.

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NDP appalled at health survey results

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.

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Youth program cut leaves families in a lurch for summer

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.”

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Sask. Party’s P3 schools have seven non-Sask. corps sharing profits

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.

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