Insects infest Yorkton ORs, NDP demands to know when government will tackle hospital repairs
The NDP is calling on the government to release the capital plan for health care facilities with a timeline for when repairs will happen.
A year-old audit showed a staggering $2.2 billion in desperately needed repairs to Saskatchewan’s hospitals and health facilities. That figure includes $28.1 million in needed repairs in the Yorkton Region Health Centre, which has now cancelled 20 surgeries because of an insect infestation in its operating rooms.
“This government is allowing our hospitals and seniors care homes to get run down and filthy. In some cases, like Saskatoon’s Royal University Hospital, they’re literally crumbling,” said Danielle Chartier, NDP health critic.
The NDP used the Global Day of Action on Climate Change on Sunday to criticize what it calls the government's "miserable track record on climate change" and to demand real action.
"We believe we have an obligation to be responsible stewards of the environment and to do what we can to leave future generations a healthy and vibrant planet," said Cathy Sproule, NDP environment critic. "And, as a resource-producing and trade-dependent province, it's essential that we're smart and diligent about environmental regulation and environmental protection. That's why it's been so frustrating to watch this government slash our province's emission-reduction targets and cut climate change funding by 83 per cent since 2009, including another 35 per cent in this year's budget."
A collapsed section of Highway 302 near Prince Albert has taken more than four months to repair. The NDP has been working with local community members to demand government stop making excuses and fix the road.
NDP Highways and Infrastructure critic Buckley Belanger and community members visited the area again Saturday, where work is still far from complete. The road’s initial collapse was following a culvert backup on May 3. The scheduled completion date for repairs was June 24, but the highway is still washed out, causing a lengthy detour for residents.
“The giant, four-month hole at Highway 302 is a case of highway mismanagement by this government, and that’s been happening far too often,” said Belanger. “This government has turned a common, one-month culvert repair into a four-month, $1.2 million boondoggle. Families, workers and businesses have been really hurt by the long detour in place, and they tell me they don’t want to hear one more excuse – they want to see action and results.”
New information shows Saskatchewan emergency room wait times have doubled since 2010, with patients waiting 3.4 hours before being assessed by a doctor, up from 1.7 hours in 2010.
The data was released Thursday by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and shows wait times for patients in Regina and Saskatoon.
“Obviously, this government is taking health care in the wrong direction,” said NDP Health critic Danielle Chartier. “It’s ignoring the basics and putting all time and money into its obsession with Lean, so things are getting worse instead of better. The NDP wants to see the focus on front-line care.”
Opposition says government’s culture of entitlement a growing concern
The NDP says the premier and his SaskPower minister have a lot of explaining to do after documents revealed Wednesday that a $143 million proposed refurbishment of the Crown corporation’s head office includes a rooftop patio with heaters, living walls, executive area upgrades and something referred to as a “penthouse.”
“The sense of entitlement of this government, and the culture of entitlement among their friends and insiders is a growing concern,” said NDP Central Services critic Warren McCall. “Of course the government and their board appointees at SaskPower should abandon this luxury renovation plan.
Opposition joins companies in calling for overhaul of government procurement policies
The NDP wants the government to change its procurement policies so Saskatchewan businesses do not keep losing out while work is continually handed to companies from other provinces and countries.
The steel fabrication industry is one sector that has had enough of the government's policies undermining businesses in our province. For over 17 months, the industry has been pressuring the government behind the scenes for changes to its procurement policies, but the government has failed to act on their repeated calls.
"Local steel businesses tell me they're in lay-off mode because of a lack of work and a big part of the problem is that this government keeps giving contracts to companies from Ontario, Quebec, California and Texas. That's frustrating and it's not right," said Broten. "This should be a loud wake-up call for this government. We shouldn't have to wait until these businesses shut down or leave the province before we see some real action from this government that finally starts putting Saskatchewan's interests first."
A special report released Tuesday by the Advocate for Children and Youth describes a Social Services Ministry that is understaffed and struggling to meet the basic needs of vulnerable children.
Throughout the report, Lost in the System: Jake’s Story, the advocate describes medical care referrals and developmental assessment requirements that were regularly not followed through on; Assessment and Care Plans that failed to be approved within timeline policies; and understaffed, overcrowded foster homes and emergency care centres that didn’t have time for proper follow-up on red flags.
The NDP wants to know if the government’s massive $3 million tab for a lobbyist in the United States has actually benefitted Saskatchewan families, or mostly just the premier and some American politicians.
Despite the massive price tag, revealed by media Monday, the American lobbyist seemingly has done very little for Saskatchewan.
The 2013 disclosure report of the lobbying firm Nelson Mullins Riley and Scarborough shows it did no work for Saskatchewan or Premier Brad Wall in February, May, July, August, November or December. During the months it did some work for Saskatchewan, meeting with about 10 individuals were arranged for Premier Brad Wall in the United States.
The province has pushed the cost of funding northern affordable housing off itself and onto northern communities – a move the NDP says shows that this government doesn’t understand the desperate need for housing in the north.
The model marks a change from the past in which the provincial and federal governments funded the projects entirely. Now, the Village of Ile-a-la-Crosse is on the hook to cover more than 50 per cent of the price of an affordable housing development in that community, according to a recent government announcement. Similarly, big proportions and costs are being pushed onto the Villages of Buffalo Narrows and La Loche for housing developments in those communities.