NDP Decries Budget

Robert Thomas

For families, seniors and cities, the 2018 Saskatchewan Provincial Budget offers little in the way of hope and relief, says the Finance Critic for the NDP.

In a telephone interview with MJ Independent, Cathy Sproule said, “overall for Saskatchewan and Saskatchewan families looking for hope, it’s not there, they are hit pretty hard.”

“There is no relief to be found, it’s more of the same,” Sproule said about the budget.

In the area of infrastructure, something Moose Jaw City Council has been saying they need help from senior levels of government with, she said there was no help there.

The budget’s infrastructure money is targeted towards the North Battleford Hospital and the Children’s Hospital in Saskatoon. There is also an additional $300 million for the Regina Bypass by way of funding the P3.

Sproule said the NDP had met with Moose Jaw City Council and were well aware of the “desperate situation” the City is facing in renewing it’s infrastructure, such as the waterworks utility.

“It’s another sign of off-loading on municipalities raised through property taxes,” Sproule stated.

“Municipal Revenue Sharing doesn’t reflect what’s happening on the ground. It’s a double whammy for municipalities. It’s tough nickel and diming,” she said, adding “the buck stops with the City. They have to answer to that.”

“It’s not unique to Moose Jaw, a lot of cities are struggling" she added.

Local politicians are the ones who are going to have to find the finances for services and capital projects on their own.

“The burden is going to stay with your mayor and council.”

It needs to be noted that during Budget Committee deliberations and at Council itself, Mayor Frasier Tolmie has stated that he is not on-side with the provincial government when it comes to cuts to the City but was on-side with Province when it came to economic development.

Seniors will not receive anything extra she said.

“There is no mention of seniors in the budget this year. There is no extra money. Nothing,” Sproule stated.

“These are the people who made this province and they’re suffering. Many are having to chose between food and drugs.”

 NDP Finance Critic, Cathy Sproule

NDP Finance Critic, Cathy Sproule

Asked about empty social housing units, Sproule stated “some of it is the SaskParty raised rents in social housing.”

Cheaper rents from private landlords has led to a situation where “they are going to the least amount of money they can afford.”

In the area of new schools, the budget has none planned, Sproule said.

“There is nothing in the budget for future schools.”

“They’re re-announcing money already spent…they are trumpeting money already spent.”

Job creation is not a priority in the budget she said.

“There is nothing for jobs. People are leaving; the highly educated are leaving for Alberta, there are jobs there…this is the story that doesn’t have any political affiliation.”

Sproule decried many of the new jobs being low income jobs which aren’t mortgage paying jobs.

She pointed out that the budget this year only has cuts worth $35 million; saying it was a long cry from $250 million in last year’s budget, where civil servants were looking at three percent pay decreases. It never happened, she said, because unions had stood up for their collective bargaining rights.

Sproule questioned the new Moose Jaw Hospital as the end all for the City.

“The SaskParty total answer to Moose Jaw is a new hospital and that’s the end of that…be quiet, we built you a new hospital.”

Sproule spoke about the Wakamow Valley Authority urging citizens to speak to the two local MLAs.

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