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Health care and social services jobs continue to slide

August's labour statistics reveal concerning details about the government’s continued cuts to jobs in health care and social services.

On Friday, Statistics Canada released the results of its August Labour Force Survey, which showed there are 5,200 fewer jobs in the category of health care and social services, compared to one year earlier. Statistics Canada has now reported significant year-over-year losses in the health care and social services sector for the past three months.

NDP call on premier and cabinet to order smart meter investigation today

With the premier and cabinet meeting today, the NDP is calling on them to pass a motion to refer the smart meter fiasco to the independent provincial auditor for a proper investigation.

According to The Provincial Auditor Act, the ways in which the auditor can take on a special assignment, such as a review of the smart meter debacle, are through direction from the Legislative Assembly or its Public Accounts Committee, which resumes sitting in October, or through direction from the premier and cabinet.

Back to school shouldn’t break the bank

Parents and teachers are covering off more and more in the classroom, and the NDP says the extra costs have to stop.

“The start of the school year should be about excited kids getting new opportunities, but, increasingly, for parents and teachers it’s about opening their wallets to pay extra time and time again, replacing things the government no longer helps with,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader and critic for education.

Government fails to submit report on child protection system

NDP wants to know if government is taking its foster system problems seriously

The government has failed to hand in its first report on the activities of the Social Services Ministry when it comes to caring for foster children.

The reports, due every three months, were called for by the Children’s Advocate after six-year-old foster child Lee Bonneau was murdered by another child, a 10-year-old also receiving services from the ministry. Bonneau was killed one year ago, and the Children’s Advocate released recommendations in response on May 14. One of those recommendations required reports from the ministry – the first due Aug. 14.

Ailing seniors being turned away from seniors care homes

95-year-old Roy Armstrong has bone, bladder and prostate cancer and struggles to walk and feed himself after two heart attacks – but the government says Armstrong is too fit to take up a space in a seniors care home.

The situation is familiar to too many Saskatchewan families, and is a result of the government continuing to ignore the seniors care crisis, according to the NDP.

After suffering a second heart attack, Armstrong is in Royal University Hospital with nowhere to go.

Who demanded the exemption to use unqualified workers to install smart meters?

The NDP is calling on the premier and ministers to reveal where the push to use unqualified workers to install smart meters came from.

Responding to reporters’ questions Friday, a SaskPower spokesperson indicated the Crown corporation was told by the government to apply for the exemption, and didn’t know why. The spokesperson also indicated SaskPower was directed by the government to request an end to the exemption just weeks ago.

Government has known using non-electrical workers made smart meters dangerous

Government’s exemption to use unqualified workers for smart meters secretly cancelled

The government was aware of the danger caused by using unqualified workers to install smart meters, and a government exemption to do so was cancelled on Aug. 1, according to documents obtained by the NDP Friday.

The documents also indicate the program went ahead despite eight incidents being reported during a trial period with the unqualified workers ending Aug. 27, 2013.

“The government has knowingly been putting people, homes and millions of ratepayer dollars at risk, ignoring direct warnings,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader.

Q1: increasing debt hidden, health care ignored

The government’s first quarter financial update released Thursday shows it’s ignoring big problems in health and seniors care while hiding its increasing debt.

“By reading the government’s first quarter financial update, it’s clear this government is ignoring problems in health and seniors care,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader and critic for finance.

It’s government’s privatized way, or nothing

NDP calls on government to support a second bridge in Prince Albert without privatization demands

The provincial government has taken its privatization push to a new level. It has repeatedly stated that it believes Prince Albert doesn’t need a second bridge – but now says it will consider chipping in only if the city chooses a typically more expensive P3 method for the bridge.

“Prince Albert families and businesses need a second bridge. They do not need manipulative political games,” said Trent Wotherspoon, NDP deputy leader. “Telling Prince Albert their only hope for a second bridge under this government is if they go the privatized route is an attempt by this government to hold a city hostage to its politics.”

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