Opposition says government’s culture of entitlement a growing concern
The NDP says the premier and his SaskPower minister have a lot of explaining to do after documents revealed Wednesday that a $143 million proposed refurbishment of the Crown corporation’s head office includes a rooftop patio with heaters, living walls, executive area upgrades and something referred to as a “penthouse.”
“The sense of entitlement of this government, and the culture of entitlement among their friends and insiders is a growing concern,” said NDP Central Services critic Warren McCall. “Of course the government and their board appointees at SaskPower should abandon this luxury renovation plan.
“The fact that a consulting firm was hired and paid to provide an estimate on the cost of a rooftop patio with heaters, a living wall and a penthouse is a shocking misuse of public dollars and ratepayer dollars. For the government and its appointees to think this kind of lavish spending is appropriate and fair to ratepayers is shocking – especially at a time when the government is raising SaskPower rates for Saskatchewan families.”
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.Read more
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."Read more
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.Read more
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?”Read more