NDP wants school funding fix before kids go back in the fall

Band programs latest victim of Sask. Party’s short funding of students

The Opposition wants the funding for school boards repaired before the school year starts.

The NDP also says the government was wrong to cut the mid-year adjustment that funded enrolment growth, and wants money set aside for that.

“The Sask. Party has had record revenues and has been spending all of it as fast as it comes in, and then some. But, where has all the money gone? School boards and kids sure aren’t benefiting – and this government isn’t making them the priority they should be,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader and Education critic.

“School boards are being forced to make painful spending decisions. That means the classes are getting more and more crowded. There are already too few educational assistants, after the government slashed their numbers, and one-on-one attention is often not there when kids need it. And, in the case of Prairie Spirit School Division, they’ve been forced to eliminate the band program – and the Sask. Party should be absolutely ashamed of that.”

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New environment minister doesn’t know what he thinks about climate change

Herb Cox counts zebra mussels as a higher priority than greenhouse gas emissions

Moments after being appointed as Saskatchewan's new environment minister, Herb Cox told media Thursday he doesn’t really know what he thinks about climate change.

When pushed repeatedly on whether he personally believes that climate change is real, he said: “Those are the kinds of the things that I want to talk to my officials about and find out where we're at as far as the science goes.”

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Cabinet shuffle shows lack of depth, lack of good judgment

If Brad Wall was hoping to infuse some new energy in his tired cabinet, he’s missed the mark by a long shot, says the Opposition.

Brad Wall shuffled his cabinet Thursday, moving a few current ministers into each other’s portfolios. The only new addition is Herb Cox, a campaign manager for the Sask. Party’s Elwin Hermanson-led election bid in 2003.

“These guys are getting more and more tired, but Mr. Wall has no bench strength he can trust to replace them. There really isn’t a next-generation cabinet there,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon.

“This is the same cabinet that decided to add $1.5 billion of debt this year, jacking it up to over $13.2 billion dollars. And this is the cabinet that drained the rainy day savings fund, failed to save a penny during a boom and still can’t explain where all the money has gone.”

Wotherspoon pointed out that Moose Jaw and Prince Albert will still go unrepresented in cabinet.

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End hallway medicine by treating patients

Eliminating hallway medicine is a good thing – and it should be done by increasing capacity and front-line staff, not just removing hallway medicine beds.

The Saskatoon Health Region announced today it will remove its 20 hallway medicine beds by June 5 – but came up short in planning to properly manage the current patient-load. 

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Action to protect foster children needed

With the release of yet another special investigation into the death of a foster child in Saskatchewan, NDP Social Services critic David Forbes is again calling for concrete changes to protect children in the province’s care.

Wednesday, the Advocate for Children and Youth released No Time for Mark: The Gap Between Policy and Practice, an investigation into the death of a 20-month-old foster child who drowned in a bathtub just two months after entering foster care.

“Saskatchewan was deeply saddened by the death of this little boy. Our hearts go out to his parents and those who loved him,” said Forbes. “This is yet another special investigation by the Advocate for Children and Youth, and with each one the Sask. Party has patted itself on the back for any small steps it has taken, and has been dismissive of the need for major change.

“The fact is, the child protection system in Saskatchewan is far from good enough. It doesn’t need tweaks – it needs an overhaul.”

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