Supreme Court of Canada rules the government’s Essential Services Act unconstitutional
NDP Labour critic David Forbes said Friday’s Supreme Court of Canada ruling against the Government of Saskatchewan’s labour laws is historic – and should send a loud message to Brad Wall that recklessly plowing ahead with plans based on ideology, instead of fairness and common sense, is a bad idea.
The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that the right to strike is protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and, as a result, declared Saskatchewan's essential services labour law passed in 2008 to be unconstitutional
The country's top court ordered the provincial government to pay the unions' considerable legal fees for the Charter challenge, adding to the significant amount of money the government has already spent trying to save a law which the court says it never should have introduced in the first place.
“We welcome the Supreme Court’s decision, but it never should have had to come to this,” said Forbes. “A good government works in the interest of all people and brings forward balanced legislation that takes everyone's rights into consideration. But Mr. Wall just plowed ahead based on ideology, rather than in the interests of fairness and common sense, and he recklessly ignored the fundamental rights of working people.
“The result has cost Saskatchewan a whole lot of money, and a whole lot of time.”
The government has imposed a selective hiring and spending freeze, but that doesn’t appear to apply to its pet project as the bonanza of wasteful spending on the toxic John Black version of Lean continues.
A job posting for a permanent, full-time management position as a Lean Specialist in the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region was posted in January, showing that hiring and spending on Lean is not subject to the freeze the premier announced in December.
NDP Tourism, Parks, Culture and Sport critic Cathy Sproule wants the government to reconsider its refusal to give Saskatchewan families first crack at Saskatchewan campsites this summer.
In September, the premier said the government would consider giving Saskatchewan people a head start when it comes to booking provincial campsites. Tuesday, the government announced it wouldn’t follow through on that.
“The parks belong to Saskatchewan people,” said Sproule. “We love showing off Saskatchewan’s beautiful parks and lakes to the world, and we welcome tourism. But, giving Saskatchewan families a short head start on accessing some favorite campsites is common sense.”
Broten supports ombudsman investigation; calls for awareness campaign
NDP Leader Cam Broten supports the provincial ombudsman’s ongoing investigation into problems at seniors care facilities throughout Saskatchewan, but says this government must not wait to take meaningful action to start fixing the seniors care crisis.
“Enough with the excuses and delays,” said Broten. “For almost two years, we’ve heard story after story about serious neglect caused by short-staffing and a lack of accountability. We've heard about a substandard quality of care for far too many seniors. We've even heard about premature deaths. I don't know how Mr. Wall can listen to these stories and keep refusing to act.”
Broten proposes immediate action that starts with creating regulated minimum care standards, including requiring the appropriate hands-on staff on each shift to properly care for residents. Minimum care standards were eliminated by this government in 2011, and would be reestablished through a private member’s bill the NDP introduced in the fall legislative session.
Broten is also calling on the government to initiate an awareness campaign about the ombudsman’s investigation, inviting residents, their families and staff in seniors care homes to contact the ombudsman if they have concerns or personal experiences to share.
Woman hospitalized from dehydration; daughter blames neglect caused by short-staffing
Mary Hohne’s mother, Irene, was rushed to the hospital Saturday because of severe dehydration. Hohne blames a lack of care at the Santa Maria care home, caused by short-staffing.
NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier says the government simply can’t keep ignoring the growing seniors care crisis.
Irene, 75, has lived at the Santa Maria care home in Regina for two years, and needs care because she is living with Alzheimer’s Disease. Hohne says her mother caught a virus in December. Although she recovered from the bug, Hohne says staff didn’t have time to give her mom fluids and help her drink to rehydrate her after she was well again, and she became dehydrated.
Hohne’s mother was hospitalized Saturday for the severe dehydration and an associated urinary tract infection.
“How much more does this government need to hear?” Chartier asked. “Families have come forward with heart-breaking examples of how neglect caused by short staffing has hurt their loved ones. Health care professionals describe a short-staffing crisis on the front lines while the government wastes money on more managers and Lean specialists.
“This government is failing to make changes to guarantee safe and dignified care in Saskatchewan. Even at Santa Maria – which is under the microscope right now – nothing seems to have changed.”