In the weeks since releasing their budget, it is becoming clear the Sask. Party have forgotten who they are supposed to be working for. They used their budget to give big tax giveaways to corporations and the wealthy and well-connected, while handing Saskatchewan families over a billion dollars in tax hikes and massive funding cuts to everything from the big cities to small town classrooms.
“The Sask. Party is acting like Robin Hood in reverse. They’re hooking up their friends while they make Saskatchewan families pay the price for Sask. Party mismanagement, scandal, and waste,” said NDP Education Critic Carla Beck. “The Sask. Party cut corporate taxes by $60 million dollars per year. That’s not enough to attract any new businesses to Saskatchewan but it would go a long way to reversing their cuts to education which have cut classroom supports, bussing for kindergarten kids, and even programs to help children with autism.”
“The Sask. Party promised transparency but, instead, they’re hurting Saskatchewan families and helping the wealthy and well-connected,” said NDP Ethics and Democracy Critic David Forbes. “It’s pretty clear why they refuse to support our bill to get big money out of politics and why they’ve refused to close the loopholes they put in their lobbyist act.”
Finally brought into effect last summer, the Lobbyist Act is supposed to show who is influencing the government but the Sask. Party’s law allows lobbyists to not report if they spend less than 100 hours per year lobbying, if the government asks them for input, or even if they are lobbying to change laws or policies that affect their interests. This is on top of Saskatchewan election financing laws, which place no limits on donations from individuals, corporations, or out-of-province donors.
“While others are moving to improve government transparency and put democracy back in the hands of the voters, the Sask. Party has refused to clean up the laws that leave the door wide open to the idea of paying for influence – even from outside Saskatchewan,” said Forbes. “When we see a budget that so obviously helps big corporations and the wealthy, while it so drastically hurts everyone else, it’s easy to understand why the people of Saskatchewan are wondering who the Sask. Party are working for.”