Big drop in Saskatchewan manufacturing needs attention

Sask. Party contracting to foreign companies, still failing to act on NDP procurement policy

Manufacturing sales in Saskatchewan are down 13 per cent compared to a year ago. The NDP wants the Sask. Party’s bad procurement policy and heavy reliance on foreign corporations for Saskatchewan work to change quickly.

The manufacturing sales numbers were released Wednesday by Statistics Canada. Saskatchewan’s 13 per cent slide compared to one year earlier stacks up very poorly against a national average decline of 2.8 per cent.

“While Saskatchewan manufacturers are in lay-off mode, trucks from outside the province are still rolling into Saskatchewan with products that could be manufactured here,” said Trent Wotherspoon. “A corporation from France will build, operate and maintain the Regina bypass. A conglomerate from the United Kingdom has been awarded the contract for the Saskatchewan Hospital at North Battleford. The P3 schools will be built by a conglomerate from British Columbia and a corporation from Milwaukee will do all the maintenance on those schools for the next 30 years.

“Mr. Wall is simply wrong in his insistence that foreign conglomerates can build Saskatchewan better than Saskatchewan companies can.”

Read more

New Democrats seek urgent meeting to avoid $2B bypass boondoggle

The Opposition wants a more efficient and affordable bypass plan along with immediate interim safety measures on Highway 1 East 

The NDP is calling for an urgent meeting with the Sask. Party government to talk about the NDP’s proposed Highway 1 safety plan and alternate Regina bypass routes.

“It’s time to cut out partisanship and talk solutions – both for the immediate safety of drivers on Highway 1 east of Regina, and to avoid a $2 billion boondoggle with a bypass in the wrong place,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. 

The NDP’s proposed plan is to immediately put traffic lights up at key intersections on Highway 1 east of Regina; and to hire local firms to immediately begin construction on the planned overpasses for that stretch of highway, breaking them out of the bypass bundle that won’t be done until 2019. While this critical construction happens, the NDP wants a full review of potential bypass routes in order to choose the smartest, safest and most cost-efficient one.

Read more

Saskatchewan university students pay more: StatsCan

Provincial budget cuts cause high tuition and crumbling campuses

Saskatchewan’s undergraduate university students pay the second-highest tuition in the country to make up for government underfunding of schools.

Numbers released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday show Saskatchewan’s undergraduate university students pay an average of $6,885 in tuition each year. In just four years, Saskatchewan’s undergraduate tuition has risen more than 20 per cent.

Alberta’s average tuition is more than $1,000 less than Saskatchewan’s, while Manitoba’s average is $3,000 cheaper.

Read more

NDP wants the Quill Lakes diversion plan scrapped

There is so much concern about the government's reckless and ineffective plan to address high water levels in the Quill Lakes that the Opposition New Democrats are calling for the plan to be scrapped entirely before the government causes irreparable harm.

The government is planning to divert water flow from Kutawagan Creek into Last Mountain Lake, mixing salt water and freshwater, putting world-class fish spawning grounds, lakes and rivers at risk. Even the government’s own data shows that the salt water which it plans to divert has a fish-killing salinity level. The Last Mountain Lake Stewardship Group notes, “it will discharge the highest concentrations of saline water and pollutants downstream to Last Mountain Lake, when compared to the other diversion options.” 

Read more

While Alberta and Manitoba add full-time jobs, Saskatchewan sees drop in full-time employment

Saskatchewan lost 10,600 full-time jobs over the last year, with agriculture, resource development, construction and manufacturing among the sectors that experienced the biggest job losses.

That's according to the latest report from Statistics Canada, released Friday. It shows that Alberta added 46,300 full-time jobs and Manitoba added 7,100 full-time jobs over the same period that Saskatchewan saw a significant drop in full-time jobs.

Read more