List of people receiving EI grows fastest in Saskatchewan

The number of people receiving employment insurance benefits (EI) is rising faster than anywhere else in Canada – yet another wake-up call that says the Sask. Party should stop glossing over the economic challenges and start addressing them.

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Draconian cuts, tax hikes or deficit, says Sask. Party

Sask. Party won’t cut its waste, and won’t come clean on the books

Saskatchewan’s finance minister said Wednesday that “draconian cuts,” deficits or tax hikes are the only options to deal with the low price of oil – and they won’t tell us which option the Sask. Party’s going with until after the election.

“It’s ludicrous to think that hiding the finances and their choices with our money, is acceptable,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon. “And so is the bogus set of options Finance Minister Kevin Doherty laid out Wednesday.”

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Graduation rates stuck as government shorts school funding

During years of resource boom, the Sask. Party government failed to improve overall graduation rates one bit – and with the Sask. Party scrapping the mid-year funding deal for schools, the NDP says the challenge will get tougher.

In a Public Accounts Committee meeting at the legislature on Wednesday, officials revealed that Sask. Party promises to improve the province’s 74.8 per cent high school graduation rate has not been kept. In fact, overall graduation rates haven’t budged. 

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10,400 more unemployed and looking for work

There were 10,400 more people unemployed and looking for work in Saskatchewan compared to one year ago, driving the unemployment rate up.

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Surgical waits continue to climb

New government statistics show that the number of patients waiting more than three months for surgery in Saskatchewan has jumped by 90 per cent since March.

The Sask. Party cut the surgery budget in March, deciding to do thousands fewer surgeries this year. The wait list has grown fast since then.

“They won’t cut their Lean program budget, but they’ll cut thousands of surgeries,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “It’s obvious that patients just aren’t their priority anymore.

“To go in the wrong direction so fast that the wait list nearly doubles in just months is absolutely alarming. At this rate, progress on surgical waits will be quickly wiped out.”

At the end of October, 3,195 patients on the wait list had waited longer than three months for surgery, compared to 1,686 patients at the end of March. The change is a 67 per cent increase in Saskatoon, and a whopping 145 per cent jump in Regina. The November and December figures aren’t available yet, but slow-downs in the number of surgeries performed in those months were planned, according to internal health region documents.

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