Opposition calls for solution to Highway 123

Sask. Party cuts $16 million for northern roads in budget 2024/25

REGINA - Today, Official Opposition Leader Carla Beck, Cumberland MLA Doyle Vermette, and Highways Critic Trent Wotherspoon called for a long-term solution to Highway 123, which remains largely impassable.

“Cumberland House is in a state of emergency and the local leaders I’ve heard from rightly feel the government is not doing everything in its power to help,” said Beck. “This is Saskatchewan. People shouldn’t have to go without food, fuel and medicine.”

Beck committed to working with local leaders to stabilize the road and come up with a long-term fix if given the privilege of forming government. 

In the short term, the Opposition urged the Moe government to deploy resources and road builders, ensure safety, and maintain essential traffic for families, goods, and supplies, including through no-cost airlifts if necessary.

Wotherspoon and Vermette first urged the government to take many of these measures in a letter to Highways Minister Lori Carr on May 6. The Minister responded on May 23, saying that her officials were “optimistic” that “conditions will improve significantly.” Cumberland House declared a state of emergency the following day.

“This situation needs to be treated like the emergency it is,” said Wotherspoon. “There’s only one road in, and that road is essentially impassable, lacking cell service and without official signage for the community - a community with so much history.”

The Sask. Party government’s budget 2023/24 allocated “$89.4 million to build, operate and maintain the transportation system in northern Saskatchewan.” In the latest provincial budget, that figure was cut down to $73.5 million - a funding cut of $15.9 million.

“I have an invitation for the Premier. Let’s meet where the pavement ends and I’ll let you drive and see it for yourself,” said Vermette. “I don’t think this government realizes how bad our road is.”

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