NDP gives government deadline for response to budget proposal

Today, Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili released a public letter from NDP House Leader Cathy Sproule and called on the government to respond to repeated requests from the opposition for a full budget and the reconvening of the Legislature.

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“The Sask. Party and Scott Moe have been writing themselves blank cheques behind closed doors,” said Meili. “Meanwhile, they’re closing hospitals in rural Saskatchewan, even as they start opening up other parts of the province. They’re promising billions of dollars in spending, without telling us how they’ll make sure it goes to Saskatchewan workers and companies.

“Saskatchewan people have questions about the cuts and sell-offs that will follow, and they deserve a government willing to give them answers.”

Sproule’s letter repeats the call for the introduction of a full budget, with 28 days of consideration and Question Period.

“This government wants everything to happen behind closed doors, including conversations about whether they plan to be accountable to the people of the province,” said Meili. “People deserve better. Behind the paywall of the Wall Street Journal, Scott Moe’s handpicked economic advisor, Stephen Harper, has said tax hikes and cuts to services like healthcare and education are “inevitable”. Cuts and privatization are always the Sask. Party playbook. We will fight it every step of the way.”

Below is the letter from NDP House Leader Cathy Sproule:

Dear Minister Harrison:

Thank you for meeting with me yesterday to discuss the resumption of the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan.

I was disappointed not to receive your position on how best to proceed with the introduction of a budget.

Our position remains:

  • Your government must present a full 2020-21 budget in the Assembly that includes projected revenues, expenditures, deficit, debt, and economic indicators;
  • This budget must be subject to full scrutiny, including 28 sitting days with Question Period each day and 75 hours of study of the estimates.

Although some cursory changes to the rules may be required to ensure safety as we convene the legislature at this extraordinary time, all Members of the Legislative Assembly made their desire for a full budget process clear when we all supported your motion on March 18, 2020 " ... that when the Assembly reconvenes, the rules of the parliamentary calendar shall apply and the completion day of the session will be set in accordance with the rules."

It is clearly the duty of the government to recall the Legislature and present a budget, and we continue to press you and the Premier to do so as soon as possible.

As this is a matter of urgent public interest. we look forward to a reply by end of day Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Sincerely,

Cathy Sproule, MLA

Official Opposition House Leader

Authorized by the chief official agent for the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party.