NDP call on premier and cabinet to order smart meter investigation today

With the premier and cabinet meeting today, the NDP is calling on them to pass a motion to refer the smart meter fiasco to the independent provincial auditor for a proper investigation.

According to The Provincial Auditor Act, the ways in which the auditor can take on a special assignment, such as a review of the smart meter debacle, are through direction from the Legislative Assembly or its Public Accounts Committee, which resumes sitting in October, or through direction from the premier and cabinet.

Read more

Back to school shouldn’t break the bank

Parents and teachers are covering off more and more in the classroom, and the NDP says the extra costs have to stop.

“The start of the school year should be about excited kids getting new opportunities, but, increasingly, for parents and teachers it’s about opening their wallets to pay extra time and time again, replacing things the government no longer helps with,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader and critic for education.

Read more

Government fails to submit report on child protection system

NDP wants to know if government is taking its foster system problems seriously

The government has failed to hand in its first report on the activities of the Social Services Ministry when it comes to caring for foster children.

The reports, due every three months, were called for by the Children’s Advocate after six-year-old foster child Lee Bonneau was murdered by another child, a 10-year-old also receiving services from the ministry. Bonneau was killed one year ago, and the Children’s Advocate released recommendations in response on May 14. One of those recommendations required reports from the ministry – the first due Aug. 14.

“Is the government taking its problems with child protection seriously?” asked David Forbes, the NDP critic for social services.

From 2010 to 2013, 81 children in the care of the government died. That number does not include a number of foster children who died from natural causes.

Read more

Ailing seniors being turned away from seniors care homes

95-year-old Roy Armstrong has bone, bladder and prostate cancer and struggles to walk and feed himself after two heart attacks – but the government says Armstrong is too fit to take up a space in a seniors care home.

The situation is familiar to too many Saskatchewan families, and is a result of the government continuing to ignore the seniors care crisis, according to the NDP.

After suffering a second heart attack, Armstrong is in Royal University Hospital with nowhere to go.

Read more

Who demanded the exemption to use unqualified workers to install smart meters?

The NDP is calling on the premier and ministers to reveal where the push to use unqualified workers to install smart meters came from.

Responding to reporters’ questions Friday, a SaskPower spokesperson indicated the Crown corporation was told by the government to apply for the exemption, and didn’t know why. The spokesperson also indicated SaskPower was directed by the government to request an end to the exemption just weeks ago.

The exemption from the government permitted the smart meter project to use a temp agency to hire people with no experience rather than use electricians as the law requires. Experts had warned the government this could result in fires.

“I’m sure the premier and his cabinet want to throw SaskPower under the bus, and have them take the fall,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “But it’s becoming clear that Wall’s government directed SaskPower to apply for the exemption with the American company, and this government has been pulling the strings on this fiasco since the beginning. The buck stops with Mr. Wall and his cabinet.

Read more