Province raises water prices

The province is raising the rates for water by 15 per cent over the next 15 months for a number of cities and towns – yet another hit to cost of living that Saskatchewan families don’t need, according to the NDP.

“This government is asking Saskatchewan families to pay extra far too often,” said Buckley Belanger, NDP critic for SaskWater. “This government has raised the price of our power, gas, SGI, SaskTel internet and now another increase to water. Plus, the Sask. Party seems to expect that we can all find the money for private seniors care or home care, and private tutoring for our kids that are jammed into crowded classroom with no one-on-one help anymore.  

“For a lot of families, they’re not benefitting much from a decade of a strong economy – but they’re paying a lot more.”

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Seniors recreation space turned into office space; seniors locked out

As the government continues to add administration, management and consultants to health care, yet another space for seniors has been taken over. This time, the recreation room at Regina Village has been turned into office space – and the seniors who live there and used that space are upset, and they want it back.

Without any warning or consultation with residents, a lock was put on Regina Village’s recreation room door on Jan. 5. The Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region took over the constantly used common space to convert it to an office. Before that, the recreation room was for group sessions, clinics, family visits, bible study and meetings. The location of the room, accessed off of the main hall, means everything from exercise classes to church services, birthday parties, memorial services and more are disrupted by those displaced workers accessing the room.

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Broten to Wall: confirm revenue-sharing promise at SUMA

NDP Leader Cam Broten said Brad Wall must confirm for the Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association (SUMA) Monday that he won’t destroy the province’s revenue-sharing formula. Wall said in January he was considering changing the formula and denying municipalities promised revenue.

“Cities and towns are already being short-changed by this government when it comes to infrastructure funding,” said Broten. “Denying municipalities the portion of the PST they were promised will only mean deeper troubles for everyone’s roads, buildings and services – and higher property taxes for families.”

Wall is scheduled to speak at SUMA’s annual convention Monday. On Jan. 8, he said he may break the deal under which one percentage point of PST is divided among municipalities in order to make the provincial budget work, and hasn’t backed away from those comments since.

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Plowing ahead based on ideology is a bad idea

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.”

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Lean spending, hiring continues during hiring freeze

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.

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