8,500 more people unemployed in Saskatchewan

Statistics Canada numbers point to lack of economic diversity

There were 8,500 more unemployed adults in Saskatchewan in May compared to one year ago, as the number of jobs in the province failed to keep up with demand.

That’s the news from Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey on Friday, which shows that Saskatchewan is moving in the wrong direction when it comes to economic diversity. There were major job losses in key sectors, including 5,200 jobs lost in manufacturing, 3,200 jobs lost in professional, scientific and technical services and 2,800 jobs lost in trade.

Overall, the private sector lost jobs while the public sector added jobs.

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Made-up numbers to justify P3s mean taxpayers may pay more

The independent Provincial Auditor says the government builds its so-called value-for-money reports on public-private partnership (P3) projects using unsubstantiated numbers. 

In Ontario, the Auditor General found this practice in that province cost taxpayers an extra $8 billion on 75 P3s, compared to straightforward building models. 

Auditor Judy Ferguson said Wednesday of the government's approach to P3 justification: "It's full of estimates. It's full of assumptions."

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Lashburn man forced to refuse ambulance because of cost

Half of Saskatchewan people would delay calling ambulance because of fees

The Sask. Party continues to refuse to take action on ambulance fees while patients like Thomas Dale Winacott, a 64-year-old man battling pancreatic cancer, feel forced to refuse an ambulance because of the cost.

Winacott was expecting a pricey ambulance bill to arrive in the mail from his March 19 transfer from the Cypress Regional Hospital to Saskatoon’s St. Paul’s. But, before that bill came, he found himself in need of a transfer again, this time on May 14 from Maidstone to the Battleford Union Hospital. Winacott said no to the ambulance.

Instead, with an intravenous needle still in his arm, he caught a ride with a family member to the Battleford hospital. There, he waited about seven hours in the emergency department before seeing a doctor, feeling like he was not treated as a transfer nor as an emergency because he arrived by car instead of by ambulance.

“I can’t imagine what Dale, his wife and his family have been going through,” said Danielle Chartier, the Opposition critic for Health. “He should be putting his health first – instead, he’s being forced to make risky choices based on the price of health care.”

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Opposition wants to see a hyperbaric chamber plan now

NDP brought a stream of patients, advocates to the legislature to oppose Sask. Party decision

The Opposition New Democrats are counting a victory today with a Sask. Party flip-flop on the hyperbaric chamber, with the government finally bowing to pressure and admitting that this life-saving medical device needs to be part of the new hospital in Moose Jaw. 

For months, the New Democrats have been fighting to save the province’s only hyperbaric chamber and insisting that it be housed in the Moose Jaw Hospital, where certified physicians and technicians are already in place. Throughout the spring, the NDP brought a steady stream of patients and advocates to the legislature to join its fight against the government’s bad decision.

The Sask. Party government repeatedly said there isn't enough floor space in the new hospital, which will be significantly smaller than the current hospital in Moose Jaw, but today the government said it's now prioritizing an in-hospital solution and hopes to provide some details in the coming weeks.

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Statement from Cam Broten, Leader of Saskatchewan’s official Opposition, regarding the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

The release of the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission can and should be a watershed moment in Canada’s history. It’s up to all governments to not let this opportunity for change pass.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission report paints a fuller picture than we’ve seen before of the Cultural Genocide of generations of First Nations people. The revelation that there were graveyards instead of playgrounds alongside residential schools, and that the death of a child in a residential school was more likely than the death of a solider in the Second World War is haunting. The life-long indelible impact of abuse on survivors is undeniable.

It’s time to move from “apology to action,” as is called for in the report. I believe the most powerful tool we have in moving forward is education. Today, the per-student funding for a child attending a First Nations school is a fraction of the per-student funding in a provincial school. That means a First Nations child starting school at the same time as my daughter and just miles away won’t have equal resources in the classroom, nor equitable curricula, equal access to music education, sports opportunities, career guidance or even a school playground. Because of the shocking disparity between the First Nations and non-First Nations education systems, there is a terrible but unsurprising disparity in graduation rates and achievement. The provincial government needs to do its part, and the federal government needs to fulfill its responsibility to provide high quality, equitable education to all children.

Thank you to the courageous people who contributed to the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and to the commissioners. I will be reviewing the 94 recommendations, and I encourage the Government of Saskatchewan to do the same.