Statement from NDP Leader Cam Broten regarding the Sixties Scoop

Last week, I called on the Government of Saskatchewan to apologize for Saskatchewan’s role in Canada’s Adopt Indian Métis program, also called the '60s Scoop. Today, the government responded positively. I’m pleased, and ready to work together with all members of the Legislative Assembly and First Nations and Métis leaders and community members on this process.

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Government lacking transparency

NDP supports update to information and privacy laws

The annual report of the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner paints a picture of a government that lacks transparency.

When the government wants to withhold a document that may be accessible under access to information laws, the commissioner reviews the case and issues a report. According to the commissioner, his reports were ignored beyond the deadline to respond 25 per cent of the time in 2014-15.

He also points to a number of examples in the health ministry in which an application to access documents was stonewalled for hundreds of days, violating access laws.

“What we are seeing is a problem with government transparency,” said NDP Justice critic John Nilson. “The records the government continues to withhold are about things like the condition and inspection of hospitals and seniors care homes. This is important information that patients, families and health professionals have a right to know.

“I do not think Saskatchewan people want their government spending its time and taxpayers’ money playing games with public information. A government committed to transparency would make information accessible and be more proactive about releasing information.”

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Sask. Party ignores concerns, plows on with troubling bypass route

The Opposition New Democrats are again challenging the government's current route for the Regina bypass as a local baseball club whose diamonds will be demolished says the government has ignored their concerns for over two years.

"This government is planning to pave over Pacers Park near Tower Road as part of their flawed plan for the Regina bypass, and has been ignoring the concerns of the Pacers baseball club since early 2013. The Sask. Party failed to do their homework and refuses to listen to legitimate concerns," said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader. "New Democrats want a Regina bypass, but we want that bypass to actually go around Regina, instead of cutting back into the city like the Sask. Party is planning."

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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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