“Bone of Contention”: Government correspondence reveals extent of issues with Sask Hospital build, NDP calls for answers
Documents obtained by the NDP through Freedom of Information show that concerns about the roof at the Saskatchewan Hospital North Battleford began at the design phase. In response, the NDP called for the Sask. Party to ensure the facilities audit ordered last October responds to serious failures in the decision-making process between the SHA and SaskBuilds.
“What these documents show is a government putting politics before people, bulldozing their way to a big ribbon-cutting with no concern for the wellbeing of patients or staff,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “How did the Minister of Health let people down so badly, and what is he doing now to ensure future infrastructure projects aren’t falling apart before they even open?”
The Sask. Party is continuing to let down the most vulnerable in the province, with the University of Regina’s Child and Family Poverty in Saskatchewan: 2019 Report showing that one in four Saskatchewan kids is living in poverty.
“Far too many kids in this province are being let down by their government,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “No child in this province should go to school hungry, but the Sask. Party keeps dragging their feet on reducing child poverty, with devastating consequences for so many kids.”
NDP Leader Ryan Meili wrote today to Health Minister Jim Reiter requesting that he provide a full public accounting of all cases where the health authority signed a contract following vendor-sponsored travel. The Provincial Auditor revealed in December that two out of the seven cases her office scrutinized had signed contracts after employees travelled at a vendor’s expense.
“These questionable practices cast into doubt the integrity of SHA contracts,” said Meili. “The people of Saskatchewan deserve some assurance that these contracts are in their best interest, not just in the interest of those paying for or receiving all-expenses-paid trips. It’s time for the daily parade of special deals for Sask. Party friends-and-family to come to an end.”
“This is the second time this week we’ve seen Cabinet Ministers’ immediate family members get friends-and-family treatment from this government. Charting the future of education in this province is important work that should be kept far away from such blatantly political appointments.
“For such a large committee, it’s also remarkable how much is missing. Chambers of Commerce are very well represented, but no one who currently works in a classroom. There’s no representation from the Saskatchewan Health Authority, the Human Rights Commission, or the Children’s Advocate. No LGBTQ organizations or anyone from the tech sector or many of the other growing sectors of our economy.
In response to fresh reports of extreme overcrowding, long wait times, and hallways crowded with patients at Regina's Pasqua Hospital, the Saskatchewan NDP is calling on the Sask. Party Health Minister to release the findings of the hallway medicine review he ordered in October, or if it’s yet to be completed, to provide an update on the work being done to address the issue.
"We know that overcrowding, long waits and hallway medicine are the reality in both Saskatoon and Regina, yet this government has been painfully slow to act," said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. "Now flu season is upon us, and our Emergency Rooms are bursting at the seams.”
When Social Services Minister Paul Merriman meets with Federal Parliamentary Secretary for Housing Adam Vaughan today, the Canada Housing Benefit should be at the top of the agenda.
Last month, the Government of Ontario signed onto a bilateral agreement worth $1.4 billion to implement the federal government’s Canada Housing Benefit.