Opposition wants budget to re-route spending to priority areas

Wednesday’s provincial budget must eliminate spending on wasteful pet projects and move the dollars directly into what matters most to Saskatchewan families, says Cam Broten, Leader of the Opposition New Democrats.

“After a decade of resource wealth, parents want to know why their schools are run down and have leaky roofs, but nothing’s being done about it,” said Broten. “Patients want to know why waits in emergency rooms are out of control, and why hallway medicine and long delays have become the status quo. Families want to know why seniors care homes are short-staffed with caregivers consistently run off their feet and struggling to provide even basic care.

“We can afford to do so much better, but not if the Sask. Party government keeps blowing our resource wealth on its misplaced priorities and wasteful pet projects. This government should use the dip in oil prices to cut its own waste and finally start spending wisely on what really matters to Saskatchewan families today.”

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Government attempt to excuse crumbling schools just plain wrong

With parents, teachers and the Opposition expressing serious concerns about run down and neglected schools, the government is patting itself on the back Friday for its 2014 education infrastructure spending – which included a $23.5 million cut.

Friday, it issued a short and vague list of school repairs undertaken in the last two years in defense of growing criticism.

“Kids and students don’t need a weak defense – they need their schools fixed,” said Opposition Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “Parents and teachers are rightfully asking, after a decade of resource wealth, why don’t we have better school buildings all over the province? Where did all that money go?

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Economy not diverse enough, Stats Can numbers show

Seeing thousands of jobs lost in fields like agriculture and manufacturing is a serious concern, pointing to a lack of economic diversity to get the province through a period of low oil prices.

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for February, released Friday, shows several non-oil and gas sectors lost jobs compared to one year earlier, including:

  • agriculture, which lost 3,200 jobs;
  • manufacturing, which lost 2,800 jobs;
  • transportation and warehousing, which lost 2,400 jobs; and
  • professional, scientific and technical services, which lost 1,000 jobs.

Saskatchewan now has an overall unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent. The mining, oil and gas sector is down 1,400 jobs compared to last year, and 2,000 jobs compared to a month ago.

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Broten’s Buy Local Day bill wins crucial vote

A bill brought forward by NDP Leader Cam Broten received the support of the legislature today. With the unanimous vote, the bill now moves into the final stages before becoming law.

The Buy Local Day Act will designate the first Saturday of each month as Buy Local Day, in order to raise awareness about the value of supporting locally owned businesses. The Sask. Party government opposed Broten's legislation in the fall, but has now agreed to support it.

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Wall signals property tax increase

Where has all the money gone?

After blowing through more than $75 billion as a government, Brad Wall says he may have to jack up property taxes.

"This government didn't save a dime over a decade of resource wealth. Now, a short-term dip in oil prices has them scrambling to find more money," said Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. "Wall threatened to cut the share municipalities get, which hurts property tax payers, and now he's threatened another hit to families with a property tax increase. It's unacceptable."

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