Sask. Party contracting to foreign corps hurting jobs

Statistics Canada reports unemployment up, 8,000 more people looking for work

The Sask. Party’s wave of sending Saskatchewan jobs and contracts to corporations outside the province is costing the province a lot of jobs – and now 8,000 more Saskatchewan people are unemployed and looking for work.

The new numbers from Statistics Canada, released Friday, show there are now 36,600 adults in Saskatchewan unemployed and looking for work – the highest number the province has ever had.

Unemployment has hit 6.1 per cent, or 5.6 per cent when adjusted for seasonality. Some of the largest losses have been in the construction industry, which shed 3,300 jobs last month alone, a net loss of 2,200 compared to a year ago. 

“The Sask. Party hired a corporation from France to build the $2-billion Regina bypass, and Saskatchewan companies are being passed over for work on that project. They hired a corporation from the United Kingdom to replace a hospital, and they hired an international conglomerate to build schools,” said NDP Deputy Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “Infrastructure projects stimulate the economy – but Mr. Wall is simply doing them wrong. He’s stimulating the economy in France, England, the United States and other provinces more than our own.

“This doesn’t just hurt jobs and economic activity – it hurts the provincial coffers, because these deals cost much more. Brad Wall is claiming poverty after spending every last dime the resource boom brought in. But crying poverty while spending more through rent-to-own P3s is just plain dumb.”

Wotherspoon said the construction industry isn’t alone. The Sask. Party is picking corporations headquartered in other jurisdictions over Saskatchewan people time and again, from a lucrative contract to plow the rent-to-own Regina bypass, to food services in corrections, to washing hospital linens. Even to buy a fishing license in Saskatchewan today, families contact a corporation in Tennessee.

Another big red flag in the jobs report is major cuts in education jobs. The year-over-year loss is now a whopping 4,700 education jobs, including another 400 education jobs shed in January.

“We hear about teachers, educational assistants, even to lunchroom supervision for our kids being cut,” said Wotherspoon. “We know we have badly overcrowded classrooms, students who aren’t given help from an education assistant, and support teachers taking on massive numbers of students. This all means that kids often aren’t able to get the one-on-one attention they need and deserve.

“The Sask. Party isn’t making young people, education and training a priority. That’s terrible for our children – and doesn’t bode well for the future jobs market, either.”