Green Party Calls Budget "Lacklustre"

Robert Thomas

“Lacklustre” that’s how Shawn Seyto, leader of the Green Party, typifies the Sask Party's provincial budget.

“We were hoping for a long term vision and not just the status quo. This is a continuation of the last budget, we were hoping for more of an impact from a new Premier in his first budget.”
Seyto bases his opinion upon the SaskParty not moving forward on the issue of renewable energy, as well as helping the most vulnerable members of society.

“It doesn’t prepare Saskatchewan for the economy of the future,” he said, adding “it’s a lack of vision of the future.”

In the area of the carbon tax, Seyto said the Greens would have liked to see the government move ahead on it in a manner to propel the Province into the future. He pointed out everywhere else in Canada is moving ahead in this area but not Saskatchewan.

The Greens support a policy of “charging polluters at the source and redistributing funds to support renewable and alternative energy development. This policy would have pleased the Federal Government and stopped the imposition of the Federal tax.”

Premier Scott Moe has promised no carbon taxes and vowed to fight the federal government in court on the issue.

When it comes to infrastructure concerns, Seyto said Provincial cuts have hit cities like Moose Jaw hard. And previous cuts were “not fair to municipalities” and its “absurd” the cities were shouldering such heavy burdens.

Seyto said a “pan-Canadian framework and a strong plan is needed, with funding for infrastructure.”

On the issue of the Valleyview Centre, Seyto said residents are the number one priority.
“The well being of the current residents should be of the utmost concern,” he said, adding, that there should be training funds to assist employees.

Seyto said that for many years, Valleyview residents have “lived in a bubble of exclusion and they should be part of society.”

Seyto said recent budget cuts are worrisome and that they hurt those who can least afford it.
“Of course we’re concerned about recent budget cuts…it’s depriving funding from people who need it the most.”

The lack of new funding for seniors in the budget is a special concern for Seyto because many seniors have lower fixed incomes and higher costs such as medication.

“We should be taking care of people who need it the most. We should be covering medication for seniors,” he said. Covering seniors fits into the Green policy platform of universal pharmacare.
Cutting the rental subsidy to the disabled and poor was also a concern.

“These are the most marginalized and vulnerable people in our society and they need our help.”
Poverty is a great concern for the Greens and they will be campaigning on a guaranteed income platform. Under their plan, those below the poverty line would be guaranteed income assistance to reach the poverty line. It would be beneficial to the economy and not a drain on it, he claimed.
“It’s difficult to be part of society when you spend most of your time worrying about how to afford how you are going to pay for housing and food. By helping people get to the poverty line they can focus on how to find a job and being part of society. You can’t focus on long term planning when you are worried (about the basics),” Seyto said, adding “it’s part of a better society.”

Despite the criticisms of the budget, the Greens do support a couple of moves made by the Province. The covering of medication for people suffering from HIV, as well as $4000 in funding for autistic children under the age of six was praised by the Green Party leader.

Seyto said he planned to run as a candidate in the next provincial election, in the Riversdale constituency, and there were residents there who were struggling with finding funding to assist with their special needs children.

“A lot more needs to be done but these are some of the pluses of the budget,” he stated.