Children’s advocate report shows Social Services in disarray

A special report released Tuesday by the Advocate for Children and Youth describes a Social Services Ministry that is understaffed and struggling to meet the basic needs of vulnerable children.

Throughout the report, Lost in the System: Jake’s Story, the advocate describes medical care referrals and developmental assessment requirements that were regularly not followed through on; Assessment and Care Plans that failed to be approved within timeline policies; and understaffed, overcrowded foster homes and emergency care centres that didn’t have time for proper follow-up on red flags.

The cause of Jake’s sudden death in December 2009 can’t be determined, but NDP Social Services critic David Forbes said proper medical and developmental assessment throughout Jake’s short life should have been done along with proper follow-up.

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Government's short-sighted policies hurt Sask. businesses: NDP

Opposition joins companies in calling for overhaul of government procurement policies

The NDP wants the government to change its procurement policies so Saskatchewan businesses do not keep losing out while work is continually handed to companies from other provinces and countries.

The steel fabrication industry is one sector that has had enough of the government's policies undermining businesses in our province. For over 17 months, the industry has been pressuring the government behind the scenes for changes to its procurement policies, but the government has failed to act on their repeated calls.

"Local steel businesses tell me they're in lay-off mode because of a lack of work and a big part of the problem is that this government keeps giving contracts to companies from Ontario, Quebec, California and Texas. That's frustrating and it's not right," said Broten. "This should be a loud wake-up call for this government. We shouldn't have to wait until these businesses shut down or leave the province before we see some real action from this government that finally starts putting Saskatchewan's interests first."

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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.

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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?”

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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.

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