The NDP is expressing concern for the 440 Saskatchewan families hurt by job losses in the potash industry today, and will watch closely the reaction from the provincial government to ensure it fits the needs of workers and employers.
“A job loss can be devastating to a family, and never more so than right before Christmas,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “We feel for those potash workers and their families who were laid off today. We’ll be looking for the reaction from the provincial government to coordinate with the company, the unions, the workers and their communities with the goal of minimizing the impact of the job losses on the families affected and on the province.”
The NDP also said these layoffs serve as another reminder of the importance of diversifying the economy.
The government refused Monday to support an NDP motion in the legislature calling for fair funding for First Nations education.
Currently, First Nations students on reserve are funded at a level between half and two-thirds the funding for students in provincial schools.
This week at the Legislature, the NDP pushed for long-term solutions to the hospitals crisis. The government is dismissing many communities’ needs while using short-term bandaid solutions for others.
The government’s cuts throughout health care and failure to recruit enough doctors has led to overcrowded, understaffed hospitals and emergency rooms. The government has temporarily closed or reduced services in two dozen communities and Regina’s Pasqua hospital could be next, with only a two-week plan in place to keep the emergency room doors open 24 hours.
Despite being handed a powerful, resource-driven economy, the government’s mid-year budget update shows it is slashing nearly $50 million from health care and millions from education.
“This government’s priorities are out of line with Saskatchewan families,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP finance critic. “People are working harder than ever and driving Saskatchewan’s economy – they deserve a government that invests that back into hospitals and classrooms instead of cutting its way into a crisis.”
Wotherspoon pointed to rampant understaffing and overcrowding throughout the health care and seniors care system, along with crumbling hospitals and seniors care facilities.
The NDP is disappointed and concerned with the news of the forced night-time closure of one of Regina’s two emergency rooms, and is again calling for an overhaul of the government’s failed health care staffing strategies.
The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region announced that Pasqua Hospital’s emergency room will be closed between 7:30 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. due to a lack of doctors.
“Patients and health care workers know what the problem is,” said NDP health critic Danielle Chartier. “This government has been dismissing understaffing issues while the problem gets worse. Health care workers and families are doing their best to take care of people, but the government clearly is not prepared for a growing population.”