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’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.
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.
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.”
With the tenth smart meter fire in the province, and SaskPower acknowledging installers need more training, the NDP says the government’s contracting out experiment has failed – it’s time to send the Texas license plates back to Texas.
The government chose to contract out the smart meter project, and allowed the American company it hired to use inexperienced workers with about a week of training instead of qualified electricians. In a move that seemed to acknowledge that the untrained workers are putting themselves, families and homes in danger, a bit of extra training was announced last week.
MLA Doyle Vermette will seek re-election in the constituency of Cumberland in the next provincial election – a constituency he has represented since 2008.
"Doyle is a passionate advocate for Cumberland families and northern Saskatchewan," said NDP Leader Cam Broten. "He’s a tireless fighter for better seniors care, and is dedicated to creating more opportunities for young people. He’s made a lot of gains in those areas, but his work is not done."
While Saskatchewan people are working harder than ever – and it shows in July’s labour statistics – the government has continued the alarming trend of shedding jobs in health care and social services.
There were 6,200 fewer jobs in the category of health care and social services in July, compared to one year earlier. 2,300 of those jobs were lost in just one month, between June and July, according to Statistics Canada’s July Labour Force Survey, released Friday.
In the wake of the devastating British Columbia tailings pond spill, the NDP is calling on the Saskatchewan government to reverse its decision to approve the Fortune Minerals plan which would see toxic waste stored right above a vital aquifer.
The proposed Fortune Minerals processing plant near Langham would generate 158,000 tonnes of toxic waste every year, including cyanide and arsenic. This waste would be stored permanently in pits at the site, right on top of the Dalmeny aquifer, the area's main source of drinking water.
Government not even trying to recoup costs, taking litigation off the table while SaskPower admits installer training was inadequate.
On another day of silence from the premier and his ministers, SaskPower revealed more concerning details about the response to the multi-million-dollar smart meter fiasco.
NDP Leader Cam Broten says the government has to get its act together and start addressing the smart meter debacle properly, before Saskatchewan people and SaskPower ratepayers are left holding the bag on the $47 million bill to remove the smart meters.