5,000 manufacturing job losses; NDP wants procurement bill passed

Manufacturing job losses have reached 5,000, causing the NDP to renew its calls for the government to cooperate in passing a new procurement bill.

Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey showed Friday that 5,000 Saskatchewan manufacturing jobs have been lost over the last 12 months. Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader, tabled the Fairness for Saskatchewan Businesses Act in the fall – a new procurement policy that would help more Crown and government contracts go to Saskatchewan companies when they can offer the greatest value for taxpayers.

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NDP blasts Sask. Party plan for two-tier MRI

Opposition Leader Cam Broten used Thursday’s question period in the legislature to blast the government’s scheme to allow some people to jump the line and pay for their MRIs, instead of fixing the system for everyone.

The bill to change Saskatchewan to a two-tier, partly-for-profit system was tabled by the government Wednesday afternoon. Broten said he doesn’t support making families pay for their MRI, or making people wait longer if they can’t afford to pay.

“Saskatchewan’s MRI wait times are too long for everyone. But, instead of fixing them for everyone, the Sask. Party’s plan is to just let some people pay to jump to the front of the line,” said Broten. “It’s not common sense, and evidence from other provinces shows it’s likely to backfire by making the system worse for everyone.”

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Statement from Cam Broten on the Alberta election

I want to extend my sincere congratulations to Premier-elect Notley for running a campaign that stayed focused on what matters to Alberta families today. She’s entering the premier’s office at a critical time, and I’m confident she’s ready to meet head on the challenges her new job presents. I have no doubt that she will be a strong voice for Albertans and western Canadians and I look forward to working with her in the months and years ahead to advance the interests of Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Best wishes to her and all our Alberta neighbours as they move forward together.

New Democrats introduce bill to boost green jobs, green energy

The Opposition New Democrats have introduced a bill to boost green energy in Saskatchewan while delivering more jobs and a diversified economy.

The Green Energy, Green Jobs and Diversified, Sustainable Economy Act was introduced Monday by Environment critic Cathy Sproule. The legislation establishes targets for energy efficiency, renewable energy and a reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

“The Sask. Party government has watered down targets and slashed climate change strategies,” said Sproule. “This government is clearly old-school and unwilling to adapt. They wrongly believe that the environment and economy are at odds instead of embracing the reality: green energy creates good jobs, and expands and stabilizes the economy. Saskatchewan needs to diversify and strengthen our economy now, and we need to protect the environment and secure the beauty and health of our province for the long term. The time for real action is now and this legislation is an important step.”

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Taxpayers spend a mint for Brad Wall's travel scouts

Staff sent well in advance to interview luxury hotels, ask for upgrades, preview rooms and menus

Before Brad Wall goes on a trip, highly paid staff go first to make sure everything will be to Wall’s liking.

Their trips include extensive time touring multiple luxury hotels in each city to select where the premier will stay, including meeting with hotel management to ask if they’ll give Wall an upgrade and to request a member of the hotel staff be assigned to the premier's delegation and reachable by cell phone 24-hours a day. The travel scouts view the locations of meals and events the premier will attend, asking about seating arrangements and menus. They have also arranged an additional car so the premier doesn’t have to ride with the rest of his delegation.

The trips are usually taken over a month in advance by two senior government staff making approximately $116,000 and $161,000 per year. Information about the premier’s travel scouts was obtained by the Opposition New Democrats via freedom of information laws.

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