Sask. Party won’t balance budgets, won’t say how deep the hole is

NDP demands full financial update immediately, must be audited by Provincial Auditor

Brad Wall announced Monday that his party will not try to balance the budget for at least a couple years – but refused to tell Saskatchewan people just how deep the financial hole is that the Sask. Party put the province in.

NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon said Monday that a full financial report, to be audited by the independent Provincial Auditor, must be released immediately so Saskatchewan people can see how deep the deficit is, and where all the money is going.

“The debt has gone from $8 billion to $14 billion. They’ve drained the Rainy Day Fund. They’ve made the economy less stable through moves like contracting out to foreign corporations instead of hiring Saskatchewan companies, scrapping support programs for entrepreneurs and decimating the film industry.

“After a decade of massive, windfall revenues, the Sask. Party dug the province into a deep, deep hole in just a few months of low oil prices. That’s a shocking failure. Now people deserve to know: how deep is this deficit?”

While the price of oil is causing a revenue shortfall – which is not the Sask. Party’s fault – the fact that the Sask. Party spent all of the Rainy Day Fund, which was meant to stabilize the economy in rougher years, is a major concern. So is the fact that the Sask. Party is still spending lavishly on their own entitlements and pet projects.

“How could the Sask. Party have spent every penny of the billions extra that came in over the last eight years, not save a dime, and still not get the job done on health care and education? Where did all the money go? Because those in hospitals and classrooms sure don’t feel better off.”

“Now, they’re still spending massive amounts on private consultants. They’re still refusing to get rid of the extremely expensive and toxic Lean program. They’re still blowing money on hiring foreign corporations to do work that Saskatchewan companies can do more affordably. They’re still adding three more MLAs to the legislature, at a cost of millions of dollars. They’re still travelling the world to promote their highly dubious carbon capture boondoggle. They’re still letting the manufacturer of the failed smart meter project keep millions of dollars from Saskatchewan taxpayers in the American corporation’s bank accounts.

“And while all that waste continues, front-line health care workers and surgeries are being cut. Classrooms are coping with cuts to teachers and educational assistants. They’ve taken money back that was already allocated to university and college students. Their priorities don’t match everyday families anymore.”

Wall also indicated that education property tax would be hiked in the near future, in order to pay for bridges and overpasses where the Sask. Party has failed to get the job done. Wotherpsoon said the NDP strongly opposes such a move.

“Education funding is for our children and our schools. Period. Full stop,” he said Monday after Wall’s announcement.