The government is quietly developing a plan for a Saskatchewan Museum on Democracy – a plan the NDP said is another example of the government’s obsession with pet projects, and its failure to use taxpayer dollars in the smartest way.
The development of the politics museum is the most significant item in the job description of senior government official Rick Mantey, according to information the NDP obtained through access to information laws.
“This government keeps getting sidetracked by shiny pet projects and it keeps ignoring what really matters to Saskatchewan families,” said NDP Leader Cam Broten. “Our hospitals are understaffed, filthy and horribly backlogged. Our schools and classrooms are overcrowded and under-resourced. For some reason, this government just can't get the job done on the stuff that really matters, but it's choosing to pursue yet another pet project."
Broten questioned why the government is planning to establish a new museum when it has made significant cuts to the budgets of existing museums, including the Western Development Museum.
He also noted that the Legislature, Government House, and institutions like the Diefenbaker Canada Centre at the University of Saskatchewan already preserve and display the democratic history of Saskatchewan and Canada.
“Preserving and celebrating our history is important, but I don't think it makes sense for this government to establish a brand new museum after cutting funding to our existing museums,” said Broten. “And I know that families who have waited for hours in a run-down and short-staffed hospital will be frustrated to see this government waste money on a new museum that celebrates politics and politicians.”
Mantey’s full job description includes maintaining his seat on four boards, which meet infrequently; contributing advice on a few celebrations being planned in the province; and considering whether Saskatchewan should hire a historian. Mantey, a long-time close advisor to Premier Brad Wall, was given this new job description by the premier, along with a $177,000 salary, after his role in filing inappropriate luxury expenses for cabinet ministers was revealed by the Opposition this spring.