The Sask. Party government is spending millions to lease two empty warehouse spaces as part of the John Black-style Lean program.
The money – paying for one $512,616 annual lease on a warehouse since 2012 and another $161,201 annual warehouse lease since 2013 – is being taken out of the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency (SCA).
“This is a disgusting waste,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “This money should be used to treat cancer patients and deliver better health care throughout the province. Instead, it’s more of the wasteful spending this government is shoveling into the John Black-style Lean program.
“The Sask. Party government claims it can’t afford to improve health care, but everywhere we look we find this government blowing more and more money on misplaced priorities while it ignores the real needs on the front lines of hospitals and seniors care homes throughout the province.”
It’s a $14 billion budget – but everyday families won’t get a piece of it
The provincial budget shows the government can afford to fix seniors care, build a better education system and make life more affordable for middle class families – but they aren’t going to.
“Revenues are projected to be higher than last year, but this government won’t pass that benefit on to everyday families,” said Trent Wotherspoon, Deputy Leader of the Opposition. “They’ll keep blowing through the cash as fast as it comes in, and even ask families to pay a bit more and get a bit less in order to support the government’s spending habit.”
Wednesday’s provincial budget must eliminate spending on wasteful pet projects and move the dollars directly into what matters most to Saskatchewan families, says Cam Broten, Leader of the Opposition New Democrats.
“After a decade of resource wealth, parents want to know why their schools are run down and have leaky roofs, but nothing’s being done about it,” said Broten. “Patients want to know why waits in emergency rooms are out of control, and why hallway medicine and long delays have become the status quo. Families want to know why seniors care homes are short-staffed with caregivers consistently run off their feet and struggling to provide even basic care.
“We can afford to do so much better, but not if the Sask. Party government keeps blowing our resource wealth on its misplaced priorities and wasteful pet projects. This government should use the dip in oil prices to cut its own waste and finally start spending wisely on what really matters to Saskatchewan families today.”
With parents, teachers and the Opposition expressing serious concerns about run down and neglected schools, the government is patting itself on the back Friday for its 2014 education infrastructure spending – which included a $23.5 million cut.
Friday, it issued a short and vague list of school repairs undertaken in the last two years in defense of growing criticism.
“Kids and students don’t need a weak defense – they need their schools fixed,” said Opposition Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “Parents and teachers are rightfully asking, after a decade of resource wealth, why don’t we have better school buildings all over the province? Where did all that money go?
Seeing thousands of jobs lost in fields like agriculture and manufacturing is a serious concern, pointing to a lack of economic diversity to get the province through a period of low oil prices.
Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey for February, released Friday, shows several non-oil and gas sectors lost jobs compared to one year earlier, including:
- agriculture, which lost 3,200 jobs;
- manufacturing, which lost 2,800 jobs;
- transportation and warehousing, which lost 2,400 jobs; and
- professional, scientific and technical services, which lost 1,000 jobs.
Saskatchewan now has an overall unemployment rate of 5.5 per cent. The mining, oil and gas sector is down 1,400 jobs compared to last year, and 2,000 jobs compared to a month ago.