Families take another cost of living hit from government

The government approved a 27 per cent hike on families’ SaskEnergy bills Wednesday, still failing to consider what the cost of living means for Saskatchewan families, still failing to take action to make life  affordable.

The increase comes on the heels of the government’s decision to raise SaskPower rates by 10.5 per cent, as well as SGI vehicle insurance and even SaskTel internet price hikes.

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NDP calls on government to follow Alberta, scrap P3 schools scheme

The Government of Alberta announced Wednesday it has scrapped its plan to build P3 schools, saying the P3 plan would cost an extra $14 million. Saskatchewan’s NDP is calling on the provincial government to do the same, and scrap its expensive and secretive P3 schools scheme.

“P3s are not right for schools,” said NDP Deputy Leader and education critic Trent Wotherspoon. “They cost more. It can take a lot longer to get shovels in the ground. And, we really lose access and more when we contract a private corporation to operate and control our kids’ schools over the life of a 30-year contract.”

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Government considers dumping school building costs onto municipalities, property owners

The deputy minister of Education said Tuesday the government is considering dumping financial responsibility to build schools onto municipalities and, ultimately, property tax payers.

“Despite the strong economy, this government is failing at the basic job of building schools,” said Deputy Leader and education critic Trent Wotherspoon. “And, this government’s suggestion Tuesday that it might just drop some of that responsibility and that cost onto municipalities instead – that’s just plain wrong.”

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Surgeries cancelled while government sits on infrastructure problems report

NDP health critic Danielle Chartier said cancelling surgeries at Royal University Hospital (RUH) may not have been necessary if the government weren’t ignoring $1.9 billion in infrastructure problems at hospitals and health facilities.

“This government has a report that describes $1.9 billion in necessary repairs and replacements in our health facilities,” said Chartier. “The government continues to put all faith, time and money into its Lean pet project while ignoring the basics, and buildings like RUH are literally crumbling.

“The time is overdue for this government to start taking its infrastructure problem seriously.”

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Hickie collects MLA salary, but divides his time to return to old job

Premier Brad Wall has allowed Prince Albert Carlton MLA Darryl Hickie to return to his old job as a police officer with two years still left in his term as an MLA – reducing the already meagre representation Prince Albert families get at the Legislature while Hickie collects two taxpayer-funded salaries.

“It shows a concerning sense of entitlement that Hickie believes taxpayers should continue to pay him his sizable MLA salary while he moves on to the next part of his career,” said NDP justice critic John Nilson. “As it is, the MLAs for Prince Albert have not spoken up in the Legislature for the people and businesses they are supposed to represent. Prince Albert families need a much more engaged, committed MLA – not an MLA switching to part-time while collecting a full-time salary.”

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