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Province-wide health care survey results very troubling: NDP

Province-wide survey results obtained by the NDP under the Freedom of Information law show doctors, nurses and health professionals are frustrated with the quality of health care in our province, years into the government's controversial Lean experiment in health care.

While a majority of health care employees indicate they are well aware of the Lean experiment, a full 71 per cent of employees and 64 per cent of doctors say the Lean project is not effective in "transforming the health care system to significantly improve the quality of care in the province." Well over half of employees say they completely reject the changes Lean has brought to their own departments.

Government’s failure to enforce contract means end of affordable housing project

The government has walked away from a new 48-unit affordable housing project in Regina, and is now allowing the private developer to rent out the units at full market price instead.

The government sold off 40 housing units in Regina that were previously set aside for low-income residents. Those units were supposed to be replaced by this project. But then the government decided to turn this project over to the private developer because of a four per cent cost overrun on its construction.

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.

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