Government pushing housing costs onto northern communities

The province has pushed the cost of funding northern affordable housing off itself and onto northern communities – a move the NDP says shows that this government doesn’t understand the desperate need for housing in the north.

Read more

NDP demands to know who is benefitting from government’s $3 million lobbyist payment

The NDP wants to know if the government’s massive $3 million tab for a lobbyist in the United States has actually benefitted Saskatchewan families, or mostly just the premier and some American politicians.

Despite the massive price tag, revealed by media Monday, the American lobbyist seemingly has done very little for Saskatchewan.

The 2013 disclosure report of the lobbying firm Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough shows it did no work for Saskatchewan or Premier Brad Wall in February, May, July, August, November or December. During the months it did some work for Saskatchewan, meeting with about 10 individuals were arranged for Premier Brad Wall in the United States.

A handful of meetings of a year is hardly worth a multi-million dollar payday, according to the NDP.

Moreover, many American politicians who agreed to meet with Wall received campaign donations from Saskatchewan’s lobbyist shortly before or after the meeting – a fact NDP Leader Cam Broten demanded accountability on.

“What are Saskatchewan families actually getting from this huge payout of public dollars?,” Broten asked. “How are a few meetings that haven’t produced results of any value benefitting anyone other than Mr. Wall and, potentially, the American politicians who agreed to meet him?”

Read more

Re-open City Hospital: NDP

While Royal University Hospital is horrifically backed up, City Hospital sits half-empty

26 of 38 beds at Royal University Hospital’s emergency room were occupied Tuesday by admitted patients for whom there is no available hospital bed, the media confirmed Tuesday – causing the NDP to renew its call for the government to reopen City Hospital to acute care.

The government shut down acute care at Saskatoon’s City Hospital in 2008, and reduced its emergency room hours to daytime only.

“The decisions this government has made regarding City Hospital completely dismisses common sense and the needs of patients,” said NDP health critic Danielle Chartier. “There are not enough patient beds in Saskatoon and area. Patients are waiting in the ER for a hospital bed, and more are stuck in the waiting room while the city’s biggest and busiest ER tries to operate with only 12 beds available to ER patients.

Read more

Sask. posts priciest tuition increase in the nation: Stats Can

High prices aren’t good for the labour market, or families who are tired of paying more, says NDP

The price of a university education in Saskatchewan jumped more than anywhere else in Canada for this school year, and students in Saskatchewan’s universities now pay the second-highest tuition in the country.

According to numbers released by Statistics Canada Thursday, average undergraduate tuition has been hiked by 4 per cent in Saskatchewan compared to last year while graduate tuition fees rose by an average of 5.2 per cent for Saskatchewan students. Both these numbers outstrip every other province.

Tuition for Saskatchewan’s students is now the second-most expensive in the nation, second only to Ontario’s universities.

Read more

Government more concerned about its friends than those who desperately need housing: NDP

Some Saskatchewan families need an affordable place to live – a reality this out-of-touch government doesn’t understand, according to comments it made following the revelation it’s choosing to walk away from a 48-unit affordable housing development.

Minister of Social Services Donna Harpauer dismissed the government's decision to ditch the affordable housing project by saying Tuesday, "you’re assuming that there’s these desperate homeless people."

Read more