People’s agenda to control session: NDP

Four NDP bills on the table already; session to start Tuesday

The NDP has a strong agenda of legislation it wants passed, and problems it wants fixed during the fall session of the Legislative Assembly – a plan built by listening to growing concerns among Saskatchewan families.

“The Sask. Party keeps dismissing concerns like overcrowded, under-resourced classrooms, long waits for specialists and the ongoing crisis in seniors care. They're handing huge government contracts to out-of-province and out-of-country companies instead of supporting Saskatchewan businesses which create good, mortgage-paying jobs. It's no wonder why more and more people are saying that the Sask. Party seems to be growing increasingly out of touch,” said NDP house leader Warren McCall.

“Mr. Wall’s plan to coast to the provincial election without any improvements in hospitals, classrooms or seniors care homes – that’s not on, if you ask everyday families. And his plan to keep favouring foreign corporations instead of Saskatchewan businesses – that's not on either. This government left their agenda for the fall session pretty blank, and we intend to fill it with things that really matter to Saskatchewan families.”

Bills the NDP wrote and tabled over the last year remain on the official agenda for the fall session. That’s because the government is failing to reset the legislative agenda with a throne speech and a new set of bills, as typically happens each fall. The NDP’s current bills include:

  • The Fairness for Saskatchewan Businesses in Government Procurement Act – a bill to give Saskatchewan businesses a fair shot at bidding on government and Crown corporation work, much of which has recently been handed to corporations from other countries.
  • The Residents in Care Bill of Rights Act. This law would put minimum care standards back into seniors care homes, and require appropriate staffing levels. Saskatchewan had a law that required appropriate staffing, but the Sask. Party scrapped it in 2011.
  • The Public-Private Partnership Transparency and Accountability Act, which requires the government to report to taxpayers the actual, full price of P3s.
  • The Respect for Diversity – Student Bill of Rights Act, an anti-bullying bill that guarantees students can have disabilities accommodated, and that students who want to form a gay-straight alliance (GSA) in school will have the school’s help and support to do so.

Two NDP bills were challenged by the Sask. Party on the basis of their cost. The NDP intends to raise the content of those bills again this fall, said McCall. They include:

  • The Student Bill of Rights Act, which would have capped class sizes and increased the number of educational assistants in schools.
  • The Green Energy, Green Jobs and Diversified, Sustainable Economy Act, a bill that would have set greenhouse gas and green power production targets, creating new energy industry jobs.

“Instead of spending millions of dollars on the government’s ongoing Lean pet project, and over $30,000 per trip for Mr. Wall’s travel scouts to test out five-star hotels for him, the money should be going into classrooms, emergency rooms and people’s pockets – and that’s what we’ll propose this fall,” said McCall.