"The Sask. Party's PR doesn't build better schools and classrooms for our children and it doesn't balance the budget," said John Nilson, NDP leader. "What we're hearing from Saskatchewan people is that the Sask. Party government's actions don't match up to their talk."
Calling for action on patient care
With traditional pain drug Fentanyl in short supply, the NDP called on the Sask. Party government to add Abstral to the provincial drug plan.
"Swift action needs to be taken to ensure that pain treatment for patients fighting cancer or receiving palliative care is available and affordable," said Cam Broten, NDP health critic. Broten used the Legislative Assembly's Question Period Wednesday to ask the Sask. Party government to put Abstral on the drug plan, at least on an interim basis while Fentanyl supplies are limited.
Fentanyl is in short supply because of a fire at the facilities of Quebec-based supplier Sandoz.
Calling for action on Viterra
The NDP has called on the Sask. Party government to get to work evaluating the damage that could be done by the foreign takeover of Regina-based grain-handling giant Viterra.
Despite confirmation from Viterra that bids have been made, the Sask. Party government still calls the takeover "hypothetical."
"The Sask. Party is refusing to see the food we export to the world as a strategic resource," said Cathy Sproule, NDP agriculture critic. "They need to go back to the drawing board on that, start the evaluation process now and ensure they're prepared to stand up for Saskatchewan jobs and a critical corporate citizen in our province."
Sproule added that the Sask. Party should have known these bids were coming all along, since they were one of the negative consequences of the destruction of the Canadian Wheat Board single-desk marketing system.
Calling for action for Caregivers
Danielle Chartier called for immediate action for extended family members caring for children. Many caregivers are now receiving less support from the government despite assurances from the Sask. Party government that families would not suffer from a program change.
Three women who care for nephews or grandchildren joined Chartier at the legislature on Thursday. They said that changes in the federal and provincial Persons with Special Interest programs have meant that federal money intended for the children is being held up at the provincial government rather than being passed on to the families it is intended for.
The three women, representing thousands, said they have been forced to use the food bank for the first time in order to feed the children they care for.
Calling for action to stand up to federal offloading
NDP corrections critic Warren McCall asked the Sask. Party to tell Saskatchewan's people how much the federal government's crime bill will cost the province's taxpayers.
"Other provinces have done the math on this and common sense tells us we need to budget something for it," said McCall. "Apparently, the Sask. Party government has never received a bill from the Harper government that they won't pay. In this case, they're paying with a blank cheque that comes right out of taxpayers' pockets."
Calling for action on asbestos
NDP labour critic David Forbes called on the Sask. Party to create a public registry of buildings that contain asbestos. The initiative has been spearheaded by cancer-sticken Howard Willems, formerly a food inspector working in asbestos-filled buildings.
"Workers like Howard may not have known they were being exposed to cancer-causing asbestos," said Forbes. "But it doesn't have to be that way. We can take some low-cost, common sense precautions." But, Sask. Party Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, Don Morgan, refused.
Calling for action to fund better classrooms
Trent Wotherspoon, NDP education critic, called on the Sask. Party government to halt their plans to make budget cuts on the backs of classroom students.
The new education funding formula - delayed by the Sask. Party government for years - has surfaced to reveal some school divisions may be losing millions of dollars from their budgets. "There is no classroom in the province that can handle these cuts," said Wotherspoon. "A formula that takes away from students when the economy is good just isn't right."
Wotherspoon also said that he was disappointed by the Sask. Party's refusal to endorse Shannen's Dream, a motion to promote equal education for First Nations students which was passed unanimously in the House of Commons by politicians of all political stripes in the House of Commons.
"The Sask. Party government is clearly not taking their responsibility to create opportunity for Saskatchewan's students seriously," Wotherspoon said. "We can do better to invest in our young people and Saskatchewan's future."
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