Statement from Cam Broten, Leader of Saskatchewan’s official Opposition, regarding the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission can and should be a watershed moment in Canada’s history. It’s up to all governments to not let this opportunity for change pass.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report paints a fuller picture than we’ve seen before of the Cultural Genocide of generations of First Nations people. The revelation that there were graveyards instead of playgrounds alongside residential schools, and that the death of a child in a residential school was more likely than the death of a solider in the Second World War is haunting. The life-long indelible impact of abuse on survivors is undeniable.

It’s time to move from “apology to action,” as is called for in the report. I believe the most powerful tool we have in moving forward is education. Today, the per-student funding for a child attending a First Nations school is a fraction of the per-student funding in a provincial school. That means a First Nations child starting school at the same time as my daughter and just miles away won’t have equal resources in the classroom, nor equitable curricula, equal access to music education, sports opportunities, career guidance or even a school playground. Because of the shocking disparity between the First Nations and non-First Nations education systems, there is a terrible but unsurprising disparity in graduation rates and achievement. The provincial government needs to do its part, and the federal government needs to fulfill its responsibility to provide high quality, equitable education to all children.

Thank you to the courageous people who contributed to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to the commissioners. I will be reviewing the 94 recommendations, and I encourage the Government of Saskatchewan to do the same.


Bypass project contracted to corporation from France

NDP supports a bypass, doesn’t like the government’s choice of location or use of P3

The NDP wants a Regina bypass built – but doesn’t like the government’s choice to outsource the project to an international French-led consortium.

It also has serious concerns about the short-sighted location choice for the bypass – built far too close inside Regina city limits instead of around the city, it will not divert heavy highway traffic as Regina residents hope, and will be in the middle of future Regina growth.

Read more

Check on child protection claims necessary

Minister of Social Services caught exaggerating progress

The Opposition says the progress reports from Donna Harpauer on child protection need a second look after she was caught exaggerating progress on a critical recommendation.

In May 2014 and again in May 2015, the Advocate for Children and Youth recommended that the ministry undertake a contract to investigate the workload of child protection workers. Twice in May 2015, in response to that and other recommendations, Harpauer distributed a public update that claimed her ministry had already entered into such a contract. But, a tender for the contract was noticed after that claim – proving that Harpauer was, at best, uninformed about what is happening in her ministry.

“Ms. Harpauer is simply not taking the major concerns in the foster system and child protection system seriously enough,” said NDP Social Services critic David Forbes. “When she responded to the coroner’s inquest into the death of Lee Bonneau, and again when she responded to a special investigation into the tragic death of a foster child that drowned in a bathtub, I was concerned about the fact that she was pretty dismissive about how much work her ministry needs to do. But, to find out now that even the incredibly slow progress she claimed was being made was overstated – that’s deeply concerning.”

Read more

Every health region identifies short-staffing on CEO tour

Lazy government report literally cut-and-paste from facility to facility, year to year

Every single health region identifies short-staffing and quality of care issues in seniors care homes, despite two years of reports, evidence and devastating family stories that should have caused the government to take action.

And, the lazy and sanitized report is also riddled with, literally, sections cut-and-pasted from both other pages of the same report or even pages from last year’s report, often both.

Read more

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.”

Read more