December 11, 2018
Prince Albert – Nicole Rancourt was nominated tonight to be the Saskatchewan NDP candidate in Prince Albert Northcote in the next election.
“This government is making life harder for so many people in our society,” said Rancourt. “We need real action to address the mental health crisis facing our province and we need to invest in the supports people need to succeed. I’m honoured to receive this nomination and I’ll be working hard every day from now till the next election to lay the groundwork for an NDP government.”
Nicole Rancourt was elected as the MLA for Prince Albert Northcote in April 2016. Before entering politics, she was a registered social worker and worked at Prince Albert Mental Health Outpatient for the Prince Albert Parkland Health Region.
Nicole serves as the Saskatchewan NDP Opposition critic for Social Services, Housing, Community-Based Organizations and Saskatchewan Government Insurance.
“Nicole cares deeply about her community and does a tremendous job at standing up for the people of Prince Albert in the legislature,” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “Nicole will play an important role in delivering real improvements in people’s lives as part of the next NDP Government.”
December 10, 2018
Aleana Young was nominated tonight to be the Saskatchewan NDP candidate in Regina University in the next election.
“I’m running because Saskatchewan people deserve better, particularly when it comes to this government’s cuts to education,” said Young. “I’m committed to advocating for teachers, students, and parents, to ensure that our school boards get the supports they need.”
Aleana is a respected leader in Regina. She has served as a Regina Public School Board Trustee since 2012, where she has been a tireless advocate for high-quality education for Saskatchewan students and properly resourced classrooms.
Young is also serving her second term as the Vice President of the Saskatchewan School Boards’ Association, where she advocates for all 27 school boards in the province and for local voices in education.
Young is active in her community, currently serving as the Vice President of Family Service Regina and as a member of the University of Regina Senate. She is also a small business owner, operating a cheese shop in the Cathedral neighbourhood, and loves running around Wascana Lake.
“Aleana’s a respected community leader and will be a strong advocate for the people of Regina University, both in the Legislature and in the community” said NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “She’s a welcome addition to the 2020 team.”
December 5, 2018
Tonight, the Saskatchewan New Democrats nominated their five Regina incumbent MLAs, each of whom will be seeking re-election in 2020:Nicole Sarauer – Regina Douglas Park, Warren McCall – Regina Elphinstone-Centre, Carla Beck – Regina Lakeview, Yens Pedersen – Regina Northeast, and Trent Wotherspoon – Regina Rosemont.
Nicole Sarauer, the MLA for Regina Douglas Park, was first elected in the 2016 provincial election.
Warren McCall, the MLA for Regina Elphinstone-Centre, was first elected in a by-election in 2001.
Carla Beck, the MLA for Regina Lakeview, was first elected in the 2016 provincial election.
Yens Pedersen, the MLA for Regina Northeast, was first elected in a by-election this past September.
Trent Wotherspoon, the MLA for Regina Rosemont, was first elected in the 2007 provincial election.
“Each of these MLAs brings so much to the team,” said Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili. “They are all strong leaders in their community and in our party, and they represent the core of the team that will deliver real improvements in people’s lives when we form government in 2020.”
The NDP is continuing its fight to get survivors of domestic violence paid leave by introducing Bill No. 614 — The Saskatchewan Employment (Support for Survivors of Domestic Violence) Amendment Act, 2018.
“We have taken some positive steps to address the fact that Saskatchewan has some of the worst rates of domestic violence in the country, but there is still a lot more work to do,” said NDP Justice Critic Nicole Sarauer. “This bill is something that advocates have been calling for. We’ve seen other jurisdictions move towards having paid leave, and we’re hoping the government will do the right thing and finally pass this legislation.”
The bill allows for five days of paid leave in a year for survivors of domestic violence. Sarauer has introduced several bills to implement paid leave for survivors in the Legislature, but has not met with support from the Sask. Party government.
The federal government as well as other provinces in Canada are already moving towards allowing victims of domestic violence paid days off.
“This bill is about helping survivors who are in a dire situation,” Sarauer said. “It can afford so many women the chance they need to change and improve their lives.”
November 15, 2018
Saskatchewan NDP Leader Ryan Meili introduced a bill that would increase Saskatchewan’s minimum wage to $15/hour by 2022. The bill would see the minimum wage rise from it’s current $11.06 to:
- $12.00 on and from January 1, 2019;
- $13.00 on and from January 1, 2020;
- $14.00 on and from January 1, 2021;
- $15.00 on and from January 1, 2022.
“Our neighbours in Alberta saw their minimum wage reach $15/hour last month, and their economy is vastly outperforming ours,” said Meili. “Poverty wages hurt the most vulnerable, reward big out-of-province companies, and leave less money to spend in local businesses. Everyone does better when minimum-wage workers earn more.”
Saskatchewan is the only province in Canada where the minimum wage is less than half the median wage, which makes it especially hard for low-income workers in Saskatchewan to afford the basics. But in last week’s 75-minute debate, Sask. Party members spoke out against a higher minimum wage, with Sask. Party MLA Ken Francis from Kindersley defending Saskatchewan’s second-lowest-in-the-country minimum wage as follows: “we need the minimum wage kept relatively low so to provide an upside for more skilled and demanding positions. If you move the minimum wage up, everything else goes with it.”
“The Sask. Party’s wage policy is keeping people in poverty, with a real social and financial cost to the province,” said Warren McCall, NDP Critic for Labour Relations and Workplace Safety. “Try telling someone in their thirties who’s earning minimum wage that, with the Sask. Party formula, they’ll be collecting CPP before they see a $15 minimum wage, and see how fair they think that is.”
According to the government’s current formula, the minimum wage would not reach $15 per hour until 2052 — a full three decades later than what the NDP is proposing.
NDP Leader Ryan Meili called today for a reversal of one of the several unpopular decisions in their 2017 budget that has not yet been reversed: the Sask. Party’s expansion of PST to construction labour.
“This is a government that saw the economy slowing down and they slammed on the brakes,” said Meili. “Adding PST to construction labour at such a time has hurt the industry and further weakened the broader economy. We’ve heard loud and clear from industry stakeholders how this decision would hurt them, and the numbers we see now are bearing that up.”
The numbers speak for themselves:
- According to Statistics Canada data released this week, overall investment in non-residential construction is falling in Saskatchewan. Construction investment for the third quarter of 2018 of had the biggest year-over-year decline outside PEI.
- Data released this week by Statistics Canada reinforce concerns about the impact of the PST on the housing industry. Year-over-year investment in new housing construction is down $38.2M, a decline of 32.7 per cent – the biggest drop among provinces.
- According to Statistics Canada, the value of residential building permits dropped by 29.5 per cent between August 2017 and August 2018. In that same time frame, non-residential permits dropped by a staggering 35.7 per cent. Unlike Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Manitoba saw an increase in their building permits’ value. Overall, B.C. increased by 42.7 per cent and Manitoba went up by 39.5 per cent.
- The latest job numbers from Statistics Canada shows that there are 6,400 fewer full-time jobs in Saskatchewan compared to last month, and 1,200 construction jobs were lost over the last year.
“Families are hurting and we’re already losing people to other provinces due to a lack of job opportunities,” said NDP Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon. “The expansion of PST to include construction labour only made the situation worse.
“Saskatchewan people need a job-creating government that values the industries that make this province a better place to live and work, and that includes the construction industry.”
The impacts of the Sask. Party’s recent budgets are still hurting families throughout the province in many ways. For instance, many are now struggling with the consequences of the Sask. Party cut to the Hearing Aid Plan – a service that provided audiological evaluation, hearing aids and fittings, counselling and education.
“After years of blowing through record revenues, the Sask. Party panicked when the money ran out and started cutting in areas that would hurt the most vulnerable,” said NDP Health Critic Vicki Mowat. “For over 40 years, this was a program that helped so many people and families throughout the province. It hasn’t taken long to see the damage that cutting it has done.”
Stephanie Schneck and her 9-year-old daughter Gracie are among the many who have borne the brunt of these Sask. Party cuts. Gracie needs $6,400 hearing aids, but her parents can't afford to pay for them and have been forced to hold fundraisers to provide her with the health services she needs. Stephanie is currently working three jobs just to make ends meet.
“The cut to the Hearing Aid Program continues to be a burden on me and my family in so many different ways,” Schneck said. “No family should have to go through this. The financial hardships are stressful, the long wait times are frustrating, and seeing Gracie not get the help she needs because of additional cuts in the classroom is heartbreaking.”
“The Sask. Party seems not to understand that cutting a program like this is not the way to improve health outcomes,” NDP Leader Ryan Meili said. “People like Stephanie are being forced to fundraise for things their kids can’t do without while the government is wasted millions at the GTH alone. This poor decision simply can not be justified, which is why we’re calling for the immediate reinstatement of the Hearing Aid Plan.”
The Speech from the Throne was filled with “old news and old noise” instead of concrete plans to create jobs, restore funding to schools, or work towards better health outcomes for Saskatchewan people, according to NDP Leader Ryan Meili. Meili was also looking for some admission of the damage done by recent government choices, whether it’s the PST hikes or the ongoing mishandling of the GTH but saw none.
“We were disappointed that we didn’t see any commitment to addressing the underfunding of education, a focus on addressing the province’s worst-in-the-nation health outcomes, or the reversal of the harmful expansion of the PST to construction and restaurant meals,” Meili said. “This was the Premier’s chance to make his mark on the province by addressing the real issues that people are struggling with, but he chose not to.”
Much of what was in the Throne Speech consisted of recycling old announcements.
“There was no mention of how to help people who are struggling to pay for their mortgages or how the unemployment rate is higher than it was last year,” Meili said. “There was hardly a mention of the North, nor was there an acknowledgement that one in four kids in our province and six out of every 10 First Nations kids live in poverty. How can we work to fix these problems if the Premier won’t even recognize them?”
Meili said he was happy to see some focus on income assistance and mental health but cautions that he will be holding the government to account to ensure they deliver on their promises, as all too often the Sask. Party talks about taking action but fails to deliver.
“This Throne Speech was more about bluster than building blocks,” Meili said. “Concrete ideas like the NDP’s Renew Saskatchewan or fixing the government’s procurement policies would help get people back to work and make the province stronger. Ignoring the realities that so many are facing, whether it’s related to their job or their children’s education, isn’t a vision that will work for the people of this province.”
After months of outreach across Saskatchewan, a successful by-election, a critic shuffle that presented the province with an NDP government-in-waiting, and an energized and enthusiastic fall convention, Ryan Meili and the NDP are heading into the fall sitting of the Legislature calling for action to secure jobs for Saskatchewan people, improve our province’s health outcomes, and restore funding to our schools.
“In community after community, we’ve seen the consequences of the choices that Moe and the Sask. Party,” Meili said. “He’s spent his time in office pointing fingers and sowing division, but the people of Saskatchewan are still waiting for answers to some very basic questions:
- Will Moe reverse the harmful expansion of the PST to construction and restaurant meals that has further damaged an already-struggling economy?
- Will he restore the funding cut from our kids’ classrooms?
- What is his government doing to address our province’s worst-in-the-nation health outcomes?
- And, after ten years of boom times, will he be honest about where the money went that could and should pay for these essential services?”
With a focus on health outcomes, support for education, the job losses in our struggling economy, and getting to the bottom of the GTH and other scandals, Meili’s NDP are setting an agenda that speaks to the real needs and concerns of Saskatchewan people.
Meili says he’s entering the fall session with the voices and faces of Saskatchewan people foremost in his mind and will be doing all he can to ensure that their concerns are heard. “I want the Premier to know that Saskatchewan people are watching. As the Official Opposition, we’ll be working hard to raise their concerns. People across the province deserve better answers than they’ve been getting.”