Government to cut what matters, keep spending on pet projects

The premier says he may freeze the funding for health care, education, universities and municipalities – even while he continues to spend wildly on pet projects like the Lean fiasco, the smart meter mess and carbon capture.

"It may mean saying to all our third party partners plan on zero per cent. Plan on between zero and one percent possibly, or certainly, something under cost of living," Brad Wall said of funding for those critical services, according to the CBC. Meanwhile, the government continues to sign cheques and fork over cash for its pet projects.

“$1.6 billion for the carbon capture experiment. A 228 per cent increase in highly paid consultants. Losing and giving away tens of millions in its dangerous smart meter mess. More than $100 million for the toxic John Black Lean program, including a $40 million payday for the American Lean consultant,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “Asking Saskatchewan families to accept cuts in health care and education in order for the government to plow ahead and keep spending on pet projects – that’s just plain wrong.”

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NDP says it’s past time to ditch smart meter manufacturer Sensus

Newest smart meter fire couldn’t have been caused by rain

It’s time to walk away from smart meter manufacturer Sensus and demand a full refund, according to the NDP after yet another smart meter fire Tuesday.

NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon also called on the government to come clean about the dangers of smart meters on homes over the winter. It claimed Saskatchewan families would be safe because the rash of smart meter fires had been caused by rain, but with Tuesday’s fire in sub-zero temperatures, that’s obviously not true.

“It’s time to break it off with this company that has created one fire-prone dud model after another,” said Wotherspoon. “Get our money back, and get Sensus meters out of Saskatchewan permanently.”

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More proof Lean doesn’t save money

Heartland Health Region saved $12,690 on multi-million-dollar Lean pet project

The government’s Lean pet project is again showing that it isn’t saving any money while it makes health care worse, according to a fourth region now reporting meagre savings on the pricey program.

Documents obtained through access to information laws show that Heartland Health Region reports saving only $12,690 through John Black’s Lean program.

That amount joins the $26,648 the Cypress Health Region reporting saving as a result of John Black's version of Lean; the $17,465 in savings reported by Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region; and the $131.26 saved in the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region. John Black Lean is in its fourth year in Saskatchewan.

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Time for the premier to acknowledge crisis in seniors care and start fixing it: Broten

NDP Leader Cam Broten says seniors and their families can’t afford to wait for action to relieve the seniors care crisis.

Broten is continuing to pressure the premier to recognize that there is a widespread seniors care crisis in Saskatchewan, and seniors and their families need meaningful action to address the crisis. He says the facts that continue to mount should have been a wake-up call for the premier much earlier.

During the fall session of the legislative assembly, family members came forward to share the stories of Margaret Warholm, Jessie Sellwood, Lorne Rowell and Fern Chingos, all of whom died prematurely because of neglect and substandard care in care facilities. Family members of Emily Krushelnicki, Art Healey and Margaret Froess also brought forward their serious concerns about the substandard quality of care their loved ones are receiving in care facilities.

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Statement from Cam Broten regarding alleged abuse and neglect of a resident at Santa Maria

Seniors in care facilities deserve high quality care, as well as dignity and respect. I have absolutely no tolerance for any abuse of seniors in care facilities, and I do not accept any excuses aimed at justifying abuse.

I do not believe that physical assault of a resident by a staff person is common. When it happens, as is now alleged at Santa Maria Senior Citizens Home in Regina, there should be clear consequences, up to and including prosecution on criminal charges.

The vast majority of front-line nurses and care aides are compassionate, professional and genuinely care about the residents and patients they serve. Nearly all health care workers strive to provide the best care they can.

But it is important for this government to recognize that, while instances of physical abuse are isolated, other very serious problems are widespread throughout our care facilities. Short staffing is a significant problem, and the quality of care in facilities throughout our province could and should be so much better.

We continue to call on the government to improve staffing levels, to bring back regulated, minimum care standards, to ensure appropriate accountability based on those regulated standards, and to establish a seniors advocate office to work with families in a proactive capacity, preventing tragedies before they happen, and helping seniors and their families navigate the system. 

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Saskatchewan NDP Caucus