While the Sask. Party is laying off workers and slashing wages across the province, nine Sask. Party MLAs are being paid a $3,000 bonus and given the title ‘Legislative Secretary.’
The Premier has announced that yet another Sask. Party MLA will join this club this week so the obvious question is: Exactly what are these privileged Sask. Party MLAs doing?
When we asked ministries to provide any evidence of the work these Sask. Party Legislative Secretaries have done, they came up with nothing. That’s right. Despite collecting a bonus on top of their MLA salaries, the government could provide no evidence of any extra work being done by any of these Sask. Party Legislative Secretaries to earn their $3,000 bonuses.
Let's take a look at what these Legislative Secretaries are supposed to be doing, compared to what is actually happening in the ministries they are supposedly reporting to.
Responsible for: First Nation Student Achievement
Reality: Our province’s aboriginal graduation rates remain abysmally low. Instead of working to make things better, last month, the Sask. Party cut Aboriginal retention workers and advocates in schools.
Responsible for: Renewable and Sustainable energy
Reality: The Sask. Party has promised 50% renewables by 2030, but they have no plan to get there. All of their focus has gone into the $1.5 billion job-killing carbon capture boondoggle, which is neither renewable nor sustainable.
Responsible for: Highway Maintenance
Instead of improving and maintaining our highways, the Sask. Party has been syphoning off funding that should have been paying to fix and maintain highways across the province, and putting it towards the $2 billion Regina Bypass. Meanwhile, highways across the province are crumbling.
Responsible for: Public Sector Bargaining
The Sask. Party is demanding that all public-sector workers take a salary cut of 3.5%, but somehow Mr. Nerlien's legislative secretary salary top-up remains intact.
Responsible for: Curriculum Development and Consultation
With the Sask. Party’s massive cuts to education, curriculum development will take a back seat as school’s struggle to do the best they can with what is left.
Responsible for: Irrigation Expansion
There isn’t even a record of the exact role the Sask. Party had in mind for this appointment and there is certainly no evidence of any work being done.
Responsible for: Forestry and Wildlife Management
Other than making hunting more expensive and hurting the province’s forestry industry by raising power rates, the Sask. Party has no evidence of any work being done on this file.
Responsible for: Export Development
The province already has the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP) that works to develop export relationships. So that may explain why there is no evidence of any work being done by this Legislative Secretary.
Responsible for: Immigration and Culture
Again, the only movement on this file is backwards. The Sask. Party has cut funding for English as an Additional Language and for First Nations and Metis programs.
Legislative Secretaries didn’t always get a bonus but, if they do their work, they can provide Ministers with valuable advice. However, with the Sask. Party, Legislative Secretary appointments just seem to be another way to help themselves to public money, while making Saskatchewan people pay the price.