$52 million cut from health care, $23 million from education, nothing for seniors care homes
The provincial government’s 2014-15 budget squeezes families and the services they count on, ensuring for another year that the strong economy will benefit government, not people.
Despite having over 50 per cent more revenue coming into government’s coffers, the budget cuts health care, offers not a single new dollar to address the seniors care crisis and heaps financial strain on municipalities, schools and universities.
Six out of seven budget must-haves laid out by the NDP have not been met.
“The message this budget sends everyday families is to brace themselves – the things they count on and really need improvements to are going to get even worse,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader and finance critic. “Saskatchewan people are working harder than ever right now. They deserve a budget that uses the strong economy to benefit them – now and in the long-term. They deserve for the strong economy to translate into better hospitals, smaller classrooms and a better cost of living.”
“Instead, the government invests in pet projects, leaving just crumbs for real families and the things that matter.”
Saskatchewan families have raised concerns over the high cost of living while the basics they count on – like education, health care and seniors care – get worse.Read more
The official Opposition is setting its expectations for the provincial budget and outlining the priorities Cam Broten and the NDP MLAs will look for in the government’s budget on Wednesday.
“For me and my team, politics isn’t just about the province doing well – it’s about people doing well. That’s the lens through which we’ll be looking at this budget,” NDP Leader Cam Broten said. “Saskatchewan families aren’t benefitting enough from the strong economy, even though they’re working harder than ever. Families are being asked to pay extra far too often, these days, in an economy that already has a high cost of living. And, the basics we should be able to count on, like health care and education, are suffering cutbacks and getting worse while this government prioritizes things like spending millions on out-of-country consultants.
“I want to see a budget that uses the strong economy to make life better for the people of Saskatchewan. And, I want to see a budget that fixes the basics of health care, seniors care and education instead of blowing money on this government’s pet projects.”Read more
The federal government’s plan to move grain is too weak and too slow to help producers with grain still in the bins. Both the amount of grain the two big rail companies will be required to move, and the penalties for not doing it, are too small.
The government announced today it would give the two big rail companies four weeks to get up to 11,000 cars per week – or be fined $100,000 per day. 11,000 cars per week is about the same number of grain cars CP and CN were running in the fall.
“The federal government is treating the two big rail companies with kid gloves – and the Sask. Party government is patting them on the back for it,” said Cathy Sproule, NDP agriculture critic. “Today’s announcement does nothing to compensate producers that have already lost billions, and the 5,500 cars required from each company only reflects what the rail companies have already promised for spring. This just isn’t good enough to resolve the crisis, and it hasn’t been well received by the producers I’m hearing from today.”Read more
Despite the strong economy, 1,400 health care and social services jobs and another 1,400 education jobs have been eliminated over the past year, according to Statistics Canada – a concerning trend, according to the NDP.
“This government has record revenues, but Saskatchewan families tell us that’s not translating into better services for them,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP Deputy Leader and finance critic. “When it comes to the basics, things are getting worse. There aren’t enough front-line health care workers. There are too many cuts in overcrowded classrooms throughout the province, and our kids just aren’t getting one-on-one attention when they need it.
“This government is spending $40 million on American LEAN consultants, but is not making sure we have enough teachers and educational assistants, or health care professionals to deal with long waits and overcrowded hospitals.”Read more
The NDP has introduced a bill that, if passed, will require the government to establish minimum quality of care standards that apply to seniors care homes throughout the province.
Bill 606, The Residents in Care Bill of Rights Act, is a private member’s bill introduced by NDP health critic Danielle Chartier. It requires each seniors care home in Saskatchewan to have a Residents’ Bill of Rights that guarantees respect, dignity and safety for seniors in Saskatchewan care homes.
“Saskatchewan has a seniors care crisis, and a significant part of the problem is the government’s elimination of minimum standards that has led to understaffing, underfunding and absolutely unacceptable treatment of people,” said Chartier. “Our parents, our grandparents are being left to soil themselves because caregivers don’t have time to help them to the bathroom. They’re not being given the time or help to eat meals. In many cases, they’re not getting a bath even once per week. The treatment of our loved ones in care homes simply must get better.”Read more