The spring session of the legislature came to an end today. It was a session that was marked by Sask. Party cuts, sell-offs, tax hikes, and overreaching power-grabs.
“The legislative session may have come to an end today but the devastating impacts of the Sask. Party’s cuts, sell-offs, tax hikes, and attacks will continue to hit Saskatchewan families and the most vulnerable,” said NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon.
The Sask. Party has let down and attacked the people of Saskatchewan in so many ways, including:
- Increasing education property taxes, but decreasing the amount of government money that goes to classrooms by over 120 million dollars;
- Passing the controversial and wrong-headed Bill 63, which takes decision-making power away from locally elected school trustees and gives it to the Minister of Education and the Sask. Party Cabinet;
- Cutting supports and eliminating local voices from Saskatchewan healthcare;
- Increasing taxes for Saskatchewan families, forcing them to pay more for everything from children’s clothes to food, insurance, and even a case of beer;
- Increasing taxes for Saskatchewan businesses throughout the province - specifically targeting job creators like restaurants and the construction industry;
- Ripping up contracts and cutting millions of dollars in funding from our municipalities and forcing Saskatchewan families to pay even more for everyday services;
- Passing legislation to legalize the chopping up and selling of our Crown Corporations without the permission of their owners, the people of Saskatchewan;
- Selling off STC, hurting families, farmers, and small businesses who rely on their service, and throwing 224 people out of work;
- Cutting services for the most vulnerable, including the elimination of the funding for funerals for the working poor and social assistance recipients, increasing fees for long term care, and cutting the Hearing Aid Plan; and
- Cutting funding and removing local control for Wascana Park and the Meewasin Valley.
“There are twice as many Saskatchewan people - 40,000 – looking for work than there was when the Sask. Party first took office, and in the last year alone, 5,600 full-time jobs were lost,” Wotherspoon said. “It makes no sense for the Sask. Party to be attacking the industries that help create jobs in the province and stimulate the economy, all while giving contracts to out-of-country companies to work on large projects like the Regina Bypass.”
In addition to standing up against the Sask. Party, the NDP caucus also brought forward a number of proposals to bring positive change to the province. While the Sask. Party refused to consider many of the proposals - including Wotherspoon’s own bill to get big money out of Saskatchewan politics – they did accept some criticisms and even adopted one of the three initiatives brought forward by the NDP to help curb Saskatchewan’s abysmal record on domestic violence.
Wotherspoon noted that there is still a lot of work to do in fighting against the Sask. Party cuts and to hold them to account.
“Our work does not stop with the ending of the session,” Wotherspoon said. “Our MLAs will be out across the province talking to Saskatchewan families and continuing to fight against the Sask. Party’s deceitful budget that is hurting Saskatchewan families and businesses.”