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Sask. Party’s plan for Crowns will send millions of dollars to Ottawa

The Sask. Party Cabinet recently signed off on an approval to borrow an unprecedented $6 billion.

“The Sask. Party has put the province so deep into debt that it now has to desperately borrow money to cover its tracks, but in reality, it is making the situation worse for the people of the province,” said NDP Finance Critic Cathy Sproule. “Meanwhile, the Sask. Party has refused to release a first quarter update on the state of the province’s finances. What are they hiding? What don’t they want the people of Saskatchewan to know? I bet these billions in extra loans have something to do with it.”

Sproule noted that, in the last few months, despite having to deal with a change in their accounting period, SaskPower, SaskEnergy, SaskTel, SGI, and CIC have all released first quarter financial updates.

Sproule went on to point out that the Premier’s recent moves to privatize Saskatchewan people’s Crowns by redefining privatization is another sign of desperation for this cash-strapped government. 

“The Sask. Party has mismanaged the finances so badly that they are willing to sell our Crowns and sell-out Saskatchewan’s future with this quick short-term money grab,” said Sproule. “The people of the province will be losing control of job-creating, revenue-generating corporations that serve us all and the Crowns will be forced to pay federal corporate income tax, which will send millions and millions of dollars out of Saskatchewan and straight into Ottawa’s coffers.”

Under the Section 149 of the Income Tax Act of Canada, Crown corporations are exempt from corporate income tax provided not less than 90% of the shares are held by a government or province. The Sask. Party’s proposal would allow up to 49 percent of a Crown to be sold without being considered privatized.  

“We have seen this Premier and the Sask. Party cabinet throw Twitter tantrums at the mere thought of having Saskatchewan taxpayers’ dollars going to the Federal government, but now he is laying out a plan that would allow just that to happen,” Sproule said. “There is too much of saying one thing, and doing the other coming from this Premier and the Sask. Party.”

Sask. Party has no ability to stand up to Ottawa until they earn credibility on climate change

The government’s White Paper, presented last week, did nothing but recommit to their costly $1.5-billion carbon capture scheme.

“We don’t want a climate change plan imposed on Saskatchewan people by Ottawa, but the Sask. Party’s solution of doing nothing but complain is putting Saskatchewan people at risk of having that happen,” said NDP Leader Trent Wotherspoon. “Other provinces are working constructively to find solutions that work best for their provinces, but the Sask. Party has thrown away Saskatchewan’s voice and given up their own ability to negotiate a solution with the federal government that works with the people of Saskatchewan.” 

Wotherspoon noted that finally enforcing their own carbon pricing legislation would be a solid first step to getting back some credibility. Passed by the Sask. Party in 2009 with NDP support, The Green Technology Fund would make the province’s largest polluters pay for the pollution they cause, with the funds being reinvested into renewable technologies, lowering emissions in the province and creating thousands of jobs.

A 2010 Conference Board of Canada report forecasted that the Technology Fund would have generated $1.3 billion in its first four years alone. That money would have been reinvested into the province and would have created a projected 8,568 jobs in the process.

“We need to start taking action, and fight for a made-in-Saskatchewan solution that addresses climate change in a way that works best for our province,” Wotherspoon said.  “The Green Tech Fund isn’t the perfect solution, but it’s a start. And, in addition to sending a clear message that Saskatchewan is, once again, taking climate change seriously, it would also create thousands of good-paying, family-supporting jobs.” 

NDP table bill to include PTSD in the Worker’s Compensation Act

NDP table bill to include PTSD in the Worker’s Compensation Act

Thursday, NDP Health Critic Danielle Chartier tabled legislation to make the Workers' Compensation Act more inclusive and to ensure that all Saskatchewan workers affected with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) receive the supports they need.  

“PTSD has a deep and lasting effect on workers, families, and businesses,” Chartier said. “Saskatchewan must join other provinces who have already taken this important step to care for workers who suffer with PTSD. It’s long past time for meaningful change in the approach to PTSD in our province.”


Wotherspoon announces New Democrat shadow cabinet

Newly elected Leader of the Official Opposition Trent Wotherspoon announced the NDP shadow cabinet today, highlighting the diversity, experience, and energy of the new caucus and demonstrating that this team of NDP MLAs is ready to get to work for the people of Saskatchewan.  

“This is an exceptionally strong and diverse team,” said Wotherspoon. “Each of them brings a work ethic and commitment to not only hold government to account, but also fight tirelessly to deliver for Saskatchewan people.”

Wotherspoon will serve as a critic for youth and the Economy; however, when the Sask. Party finally reveals their budget, the new Finance Critic, Cathy Sproule, will lead the Opposition work in ensuring accountability and that everyday families are not left behind. Sproule will also handle the Agriculture and Environment files.

Carla Beck will serve as Education, Early Learning and Childcare critic and Nicole Rancourt will take on the Social Services and Municipal Relations files. Nicole Sarauer has been named critic for Women, Immigration as well as Justice, Corrections and Policing while Danielle Chartier will remain the Health and Seniors critic.

Buckley Belanger will serve as Deputy Leader as well as critic for Highways and Infrastructure and the Global Transportation Hub; David Forbes will continue to serve as the critic for Labour Relations and Workplace Safety, Diversity, Equality, and Human Rights; Warren McCall will remain House Leader and critic for Advanced Education, Jobs, Skills, and Training; and Doyle Vermette has been named Whip and critic for Northern Saskatchewan and the Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation.

“These members come from different backgrounds and have a variety of experiences,” said Wotherspoon. “We are united in our commitment to serving the people of Saskatchewan and I look forward to working alongside each of them as we get going on this important work as a team.” 

A full list of critic roles and responsibilities is available here. 

Wotherspoon elected Leader of the Official Opposition in the Legislative Assembly

Trent Wotherspoon, the MLA for Regina Rosemont, has been elected, by the NDP caucus and with unanimous support, the leader of the Official Opposition in the Legislative Assembly.

Wotherspoon was first elected in 2007 and was re-elected in 2011 and 2016. He has also served as deputy leader since 2013 and was the Opposition critic for Finance; Education; Economy; Municipal Relations and Urban Affairs. He has also been the Opposition critic for SaskPower and SaskEnergy and has also served as Chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

At the same meeting, David Forbes, the MLA for Saskatoon Centre, was elected caucus chair.

Forbes has served as caucus chair since 2011, and also was the NDP’s critic for Social Services, Labour and Human Rights.

“We are excited to have Trent as the leader of the Official Opposition and we are excited to get going on the very important work ahead,” Forbes said. “The legislature will be called back soon and there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. All the NDP MLAs are set to work hard to hold this government to account and deliver for the people of Saskatchewan.”

On April 23, the Provincial Council and Caucus of the Saskatchewan NDP will meet together to select the interim leader of the party. 

Statement from Cam Broten

The results of the election last Monday were not what I had hoped for. They were not the results for which I had worked so hard, and for which so many others had worked so hard as well.

We came quite close to seeing some good gains: with about 1,170 more votes, we could have elected another five NDP MLAs. 4,200 more votes could have given us 10 more NDP MLAs. But, as I said last Monday night, in a democracy, elections belong to voters, and the voters have spoken, and it is our duty to respect their decision.

Over the last week, I’ve been overwhelmed by messages of support from people all over our province. I met with the Opposition caucus, spoke with candidates who were not elected, spoke with our party executive and spoke with many party activists and members. I’m tremendously grateful for their support and their solidarity.

I have never been afraid of hard work, and I have never backed down from a challenge, but for the good of both our party and my family, I believe it is the right decision at this time to resign as Leader of Saskatchewan’s New Democrats.

This was not an easy decision – I love this province and its people, I love public service, and I love this political party. It has been a tremendous honour to serve as the MLA for Saskatoon Massey Place, as Leader of Saskatchewan’s New Democrats, and as Leader of the Official Opposition. And I will miss so much about this life in the months ahead.

But I have to say that I will enjoy spending a lot more time with Ruth and our young daughters, because they have sacrificed so much – and I have missed so much – over these last several years.

I’m proud of the work that our small Opposition caucus did in the Legislative Assembly. Asking tough questions, exposing things the Sask. Party wanted to keep hidden, and most importantly fighting for everyday families: for better seniors care; for better health care; for better education; for sustainable economic prosperity; and for a cleaner environment.

I’m also proud of the diverse and talented team we built in this election, especially that half of the NDP team in the campaign – and now in the legislature – is women.

I know we didn’t get everything right. I take responsibility for that. And there are lessons to be learned.

I also know New Democrats are disheartened by the election result, and I am too. But we won’t be disheartened for long. We are and always have been a group driven to build a stronger, fairer and kinder province. Stronger for everyday families. Fairer for people working hard to get ahead. Kinder to children just starting out and to grandparents needing care. That important work will continue.

So, fellow New Democrats: let’s keep our heads up and our hearts strong; let’s learn the right lessons from this election; and let’s focus on what matters most to everyday families throughout Saskatchewan.

And to all Saskatchewan people: it has been a distinct honour to serve you, to be welcomed into your communities and homes, and to hear your concerns and ideas and dreams. Serving you, and standing up for your priorities and your family is precisely what I will miss the most. I look forward to further opportunities for public service to this great province in the years ahead.

Momentum for Broten heading into election day

Voters want investments in health care and education, not more Sask. Party cuts

On the eve of the election, Saskatchewan’s New Democrats are feeling momentum as more and more people are rejecting the Sask. Party's planned cuts to health care and education, and choosing the NDP’s plan to fix and invest in public services instead.

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