Wall advisor quietly removed from top job after expense scandals

The premier’s high-powered close advisor, cabinet secretary and Usher of the Black Rod has been quietly removed from his top government post after the expense scandals of senior government ministers.

Ministers Ken Krawetz and June Draude enjoyed luxury chauffeurs and personal dinners with friends overseas while the cost was billed to taxpayers through cabinet secretary Rick Mantey. In May, the premier said he found no other inappropriate expenses associated with Mantey and had decided on only a short probation for his close and long-serving advisor.

But, Mantey has been removed from his senior posts, despite the premier’s praise for Mantey’s work as Saskatchewan’s representative in other countries and directly to Buckingham Palace just weeks ago.

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Lack of depth means Wall didn’t shuffle out problems

Thursday’s cabinet shuffle shows a lack of depth on the government’s roster. The premier was forced to keep ministers who have caused problems in their portfolios, and failed to find anyone to represent several cities.

“This cabinet shuffle shows a lack of bench strength within that government’s ranks,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “The fact that the premier couldn’t find anyone to take over the Finance portfolio, even after Ken Krawetz announced he’s retiring, is telling. Krawetz is one of the cabinet ministers who had to pay taxpayers back for inappropriately billing them for a luxury chauffeured limo. Plus, our debt has gone up and our long-term savings is non-existent. It should have been time to move on, but it looks like there was no one to promote.”

Broten also said the decision to keep Dustin Duncan in health and Don Morgan in education puts the premier’s stubbornness on display, and shows he has no one else to turn to.

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Cabinet shuffle must end entitlement culture

The Leader of the Opposition is calling on the premier to end the culture of entitlement growing throughout his government as he considers a cabinet shuffle.

“Mr. Wall needs to change the culture of his government, and set a new tone for his cabinet.” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “It’s not just about who is in cabinet – it’s about using this shuffle to create a new culture – one that’s respectful of taxpayer dollars.”

Shocking expense and entitlement scandals have been surfacing. Deputy Premier Krawetz used a British Heritage Tours limousine for days without asking about the price. Social Services Minister and Sask. Party founder June Draude took a family-and-friends trip to Ghana and the United Kingdom and slotted in a few, unnecessary meetings in order to bill taxpayers for their meals, luxury hotel and chauffeur. Paul Merriman demanded the Saskatoon Food Bank pay him to campaign for the Sask. Party, and pressured the charity for other payments when they refused.

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NDP shares concerns highlighted by auditor

Electronic health records, seniors care home infections, unregulated P3 schemes raise red flags

The NDP shares several serious concerns identified today by independent Provincial Auditor Judy Ferguson – many with a history of being dismissed by the government after red flags have been raised in the past.

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Teachers’ pay delay, deep cuts result of government underfunding

The government’s failure to properly fund schools has reached a tipping point in the province’s French-language school division, where the board has been forced to delay payday for teachers. The extreme measure comes on the heels of a round of deep cuts in those schools.

In a letter from the teachers’ association to its members, teachers at Conseil des Écoles Fransaskoises schools are told the board wants to delay June’s payday until the next funding deposit from the government. The request comes on the heels of $4.4 million in cuts at French-language schools – laying off teaching assistants and support workers and cutting programming.

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