Sask. Party failing students, new cuts in Regina schools announced

The government’s refusal to properly fund students and scrapping of the mid-year adjustment will now result in cuts to staff in Regina schools, and the NDP wants a change to the education funding formula before September to solve the problem.

The Regina Public School Board is being forced to cut $2.55 million in positions as part of its efforts to overcome a $6.1 million funding shortfall, the board said late last week. The schools will also have more Grade 1 students walk to school instead of being bussed and eliminate some noon-hour supervision. The Saskatoon-area Prairie Spirit School Division announced more than 40 job cuts a week ago, including more than 21 educational assistants, eight teacher librarians, positions in special education and more.

“Saskatchewan has had a decade of resource wealth,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “We could and absolutely should have one of the strongest school systems in the country. But this government didn’t invest properly in students and classrooms. Whether it’s crumbling schools that aren’t getting any repair dollars, overcrowded classrooms and schools that can’t afford supports for students like anti-bullying programs, enough educational assistants or English as an additional language supports, it’s the students that lose when the government has misplaced spending priorities.”

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Time for apology and action to repair damage done by Sixties Scoop

On the eve of National Aboriginal Day, NDP Leader Cam Broten said it’s time for the Government of Saskatchewan to formally apologize for the province’s role in Canada’s Adopt Indian Métis program, also known as the '60s Scoop.

The program took First Nations and Métis children from their parents without consent and placed them in non-Aboriginal households. Parents were typically not told where their children were. Saskatchewan formally participated in the program from 1966 to 1975.

“It's important to recognize the harm that this practice caused and continues to cause,” said Broten. “Ripping families apart has long-lasting effects, not only for individuals and families, but also for communities, our society and our economy. We cannot reasonably expect individuals, families and communities to heal until we acknowledge and address the root causes of trauma, like the residential schools and the '60s Scoop.”

On Thursday, the Government of Manitoba formally apologized for its role in the program. Broten wants the Government of Saskatchewan to do so as well.

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Huge support for anti-bullying and GSA bill during pride month

Before pride month ends, the NDP wants the Sask. Party to agree to pass the bill that addresses bullying and allows students of any publicly funded school to set up a GSA, a gender and sexuality alliance, also called a gay straight alliance.

The Respect for Diversity – Student Bill of Rights Act is private member’s bill introduced by the NDP. It addresses bullying and cyberbullying, gives students with a disability the right to be accommodated and requires all schools that receive public funding to help any student that asks to establish a GSA. The bill has found immense support during pride month in Saskatchewan.

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NDP wants to see hyperbaric chamber plan

The NDP is calling for information about where the hyperbaric chamber will be located more than two weeks after the Sask. Party flip-flopped and agreed to look for space in the Moose Jaw Hospital.

Brad Wall said on June 3 that he’d release details within two weeks of where they’ll put the hyperbaric chamber. That deadline has passed.

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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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