NDP slams Sask. Party for failure to address lab tech shortage

NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat slammed the Sask. Party government’s failure to address long-standing staffing issues that could delay expanded COVID-19 testing as schools reopen. Mowat called on the government to ensure capacity is in place to meet an expected surge in demand, and to begin random testing in places vulnerable to outbreak, such as schools, long-term care homes and homeless shelters. 

“Fast access to COVID-19 testing is essential to safely sending kids and teachers back to school, but we’ve consistently been testing at below half of our advertised capacity” said Mowat. “Six months into the pandemic, the Sask. Party is still scrambling to address the shortage, even as they refuse to bargain fairly with existing lab techs, who have been without a contract for nearly three and a half years. We need a government that takes public health seriously and puts people first.”

Meili calls for action in defence of Saskatchewan steel jobs

NDP Leader Ryan Meili and NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon were joined by Mike Day, president of United Steelworkers Local 5890 to call for action in defence of jobs in Canadian steel, as the union raises concerns about up to 500 jobs in danger at the Evraz steel mill in Regina.

“Hardworking families are being left behind by the federal government, and Scott Moe is doing nothing to put Saskatchean workers first,” said Meili. “If I am elected Premier on October 26, I will push Justin Trudeau to deliver a fair deal for workers that ensures Canadian steel is used for major infrastructure projects in Canada, including the crucial pipelines that are necessary to get our oil and gas resources to market.”

“Grossly inadequate”: NDP slams first quarter financial report, commits to improving fiscal transparency in government

Today, NDP finance critic Trent Wotherspoon rejected the government’s first-quarter report as a “grossly inadequate” smokescreen and committed to new measures to improve financial transparency.

“This is the standard Sask. Party playbook: rosy numbers just before an election, and then deep cuts and Crown sell-offs after,” said Wotherspoon. “These numbers should have been presented as a part of the budget, and because they weren’t, we are not able to demand answers about the Sask. Party’s plans for austerity. They also haven’t been checked by the Auditor, who is responsible for externally reviewing these numbers. Especially with so many people out of work and looking for their government to invest in their wellbeing and create jobs, this update falls far short of what Saskatchewan people expect and deserve.”

Federal Funding Must Be Used to Make Class Sizes Smaller: NDP

Saskatchewan NDP Education Critic Carla Beck welcomed a federal announcement bailing out the Sask. Party for their refusal to commit adequate funding to a safe school reopening, and called on the Sask. Party government to rapidly allocate that funding to making class sizes smaller in order to ensure a safe return to schools and minimize the risk of outbreaks. 

“Despite having months to get the return-to-school plan right, Scott Moe and Gord Wyant kept insisting that no additional funding would be necessary to make schools safer for our kids during a pandemic – to the extent that they waited until far too late to even allocate funding from their own contingency fund. Despite the concerns raised by families, educators, and medical professionals, they did nothing to address class size as crucial weeks passed,” said Beck. 

NDP joins substitutes in calling for urgent provincial action to address conditions for substitute teachers and EAs

NDP Education Carla Beck joined with concerned substitute teachers today to call for a province-wide plan that takes their safety into account. Specifically, Beck identified paid sick days and cohorting as basic conditions for a safe school reopening and called on the Premier to step up to guarantee those measures.

“By sticking us with the worst school reopening plan in Canada, this government has left teachers worried about who will step in if they need to take a sick day, and substitute teachers vulnerable and exposed, with no guaranteed sick leave and no protection as they prepare to interact with potentially hundreds of kids in a week,” said Beck. “For the sake of every single teacher, student and parent, we need clear guidelines and supports for substitutes and EAs across the province.”

Saskatchewan Government needs to rule out clawing back education funding in September: NDP

The NDP is calling on the government to rule out clawing back funding from school boards once enrollment numbers are finalized at the end of September.

“As so many parents struggle with the choice about whether to send their kids to school in September, school divisions are worried about losing funding from the province if their enrolment numbers drop off,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “After fumbling our back-to-school plan so badly and causing so much anxiety and concern for kids, families and teachers, the Sask. Party needs to ensure that our schools don’t lose funding because of their failures.”