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NDP to government: stop your excuses and fix Highway 302

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.”

ER wait times doubled in Saskatchewan: CIHI

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.”

$143 million luxury reno plan completely inappropriate, says NDP

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.

Government's short-sighted policies hurt Sask. businesses: NDP

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."

Children’s advocate report shows Social Services in disarray

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.

NDP demands to know who is benefitting from government’s $3 million lobbyist payment

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.

Government pushing housing costs onto northern communities

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.

Sask. posts priciest tuition increase in the nation: Stats Can

High prices aren’t good for the labour market, or families who are tired of paying more, says NDP

The price of a university education in Saskatchewan jumped more than anywhere else in Canada for this school year, and students in Saskatchewan’s universities now pay the second-highest tuition in the country.

According to numbers released by Statistics Canada Thursday, average undergraduate tuition has been hiked by 4 per cent in Saskatchewan compared to last year while graduate tuition fees rose by an average of 5.2 per cent for Saskatchewan students. Both these numbers outstrip every other province.

Re-open City Hospital: NDP

While Royal University Hospital is horrifically backed up, City Hospital sits half-empty

26 of 38 beds at Royal University Hospital’s emergency room were occupied Tuesday by admitted patients for whom there is no available hospital bed, the media confirmed Tuesday – causing the NDP to renew its call for the government to reopen City Hospital to acute care.

The government shut down acute care at Saskatoon’s City Hospital in 2008, and reduced its emergency room hours to daytime only.