Sask. Party taking extra power rate hike it said it wouldn’t

Families pay again for smart meter fiasco

Families and businesses will take another cost of living hit – yet another SaskPower rate increase will take effect Sept. 1, even though the government previously said it wouldn’t.

In Sept. 2014, amid controversy like the smart meter fiasco and a luxury renovation plan at SaskPower headquarters, the government said it would hike SaskPower bills three per cent in 2015, lower than the five per cent maximum set by the rate review panel. An extra two per cent increase was announced Friday, meaning the Sask. Party apparently broke its promise.

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NDP lays out roadmap to prevent billion-dollar bypass boondoggle

With costs for the planned Regina bypass skyrocketing to almost $2 billion, the NDP is calling for a short pause on the project in order to head off a disaster while saving taxpayers money and delivering the safest, most efficient route.  

The NDP also wants overpasses tendered and built on Highway 1 East immediately, and traffic lights installed as an interim safety measure to avoid more devastating collisions on the corridor.

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Government handling of the Quill Lakes raises red flags: NDP

The Opposition joins residents south of the Quill Lakes in expressing serious concerns about how the provincial government is handling high water in danger of damaging farmland, and the government proposal to divert salt water into Last Mountain Lake.

The government’s Water Security Agency showed up to a meeting with local leaders last week and presented only one option to address the situation – diverting water inflow from Kutawagan Creek to Last Mountain Lake. Despite the potential environmental danger of diverting salt water into a fresh water lake, the government says it may skip the important environmental assessment.

NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon said there are red flags all over the government’s moves on this.

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Premier and senior political staff breached privacy of health care worker

Opposition joins with Information and Privacy Commissioner to demand stronger legislation

The NDP joins Saskatchewan's Information and Privacy Commissioner in calling on the government to apologize for violating the privacy of a health care worker, and agrees the legislation must be tightened up to prevent the premier and his senior political staff from doing it again.

In a report released Tuesday morning, Commissioner Ron Kruzeniski ruled that several government agencies were involved in violating the privacy of a Saskatoon care aide after he publicly blew the whistle in the spring on chronic understaffing and neglect in the seniors care home where he worked. The commissioner concludes that the seniors care home inappropriately provided details of the employee's personal employment history to the Ministry of Health by email at 10:34 a.m. on April 20, 2015. Those details were immediately shared with the premier's office, and between 12:01 p.m. and 1:38 p.m. on the same day, the premier's chief of operations and communications sent "many emails" to the media in order to leak the inappropriately obtained details. 

Shockingly, the premier has admitted to proactively ordering the leak of the individual's confidential information because he found himself in a political "conundrum" and he repeatedly said he has no regrets.

"The commissioner's report says that the care home, the health region and the health ministry all broke the law when they fed this confidential information to the premier's office," said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. "Due to a loophole in the legislation, the commissioner was prohibited from ruling on Mr. Wall's actions, and that's why the commissioner wants the legislation strengthened, because let's be clear: Mr. Wall and his political staff are the ones who made the disturbing decision to send a flurry of emails to media in a clear attempt to publicly smear an individual citizen. Mr. Wall attacked a private citizen's reputation and intimidated thousands of front-line health care workers. Mr. Wall may have gotten off on a technicality, but what he did was absolutely wrong. Mr. Wall needs to apologize and we need to take steps to ensure he can never do this to anyone else, ever again."

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Use the soundstage as a soundstage, revive film credit: NDP

The Sask. Party says it wants to find another use for Saskatchewan’s soundstage, and NDP Culture critic Cathy Sproule says that’s proof-positive that Saskatchewan needs to bring the film tax credit back.

“We have a world-class, state of the art, purpose-built $12 million soundstage right here in Regina,” said Sproule. “Just a few years ago, it was full. The film industry was booming, even developing programs to train more people to work in film in response to the sheer volume of movies being shot there.

“It was a $65 million per year industry for our province. And it’s all but gone. It’s time to bring back the program we know works.”

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