The Saskatchewan NDP have a lengthy list of surprise concerns at the one year anniversary of the election of the Saskatchewan Party in 2011.
"What we’re hearing from middle class families is the Sask. Party’s surprises have benefitted politicians, not them,” said NDP leader John Nilson. “Spending millions of dollars to add three more MLAs, letting ideology trump common sense in the backward decision to decimate the film industry and dozens of other plans weren’t revealed during the provincial election campaign one year ago. People did not vote for these surprises.”
Changes hidden during the election and revealed in the year since have been heaped on Saskatchewan’s people. The comically-long partial list of unwelcome surprises includes:
• Adding three new politicians at a cost of millions of dollars.
• Choosing to not count those under 18 years old when it came to determining who MLAs represent in newly-drawn constituency boundaries.
• Cutting the film tax credit, decimating an industry that brought $45 million into the economy each year at a cost of only $1.3 million per year to the province.
• Reviewing and rewriting all workplace and employment laws without holding public meetings.
• Planning to sell the personal information Crown, ISC.
• Turning Tourism Saskatchewan into a Crown corporation and firing its CEO, Lynda Haverstock.
• Changing the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program without warning, preventing people who played by the rules from being reunited with their families.
• Taking more from seniors by charging $5 more per drug prescription, $25 more for ambulance rides and an extra $240 per year for hygiene supplies for those living in care facilities.
• Scrapping the successful Green Vehicle Rebate program.
• Passing more of the cost for RCMP policing on to municipalities.
• Eliminating all funding for Enterprise Regions, leaving municipalities to pick up the tab and forcing the closure of several Enterprise Regions that supported local economic development.
• Bringing back the P3 Secretariat, a failed and expensive privatization scheme, now rebranded as SaskBuilds.
• Abandoning rural Internet users by taking away rural wireless Internet service and offering inferior private service in return. Industry Canada put the changes on hold after the NDP raised the issue.
• Restricting permission to be in the Legislative Building for those with different political opinions.
• Cancelling the SaskSmart Innovations Fund for literacy.
• Breaking a promise to pay for necessary upgrades on the University of Saskatchewan College of Medicine buildings. The University has had to borrow to backfill the Sask. Party’s broken promise, maxing out its credit.
• Diverting funding from public schools to fund private independent schools.
• Cancelling the Rental Purchase Option, which allowed northern renters to become homeowners.
• Refusing to take action for the north on much-needed health care and long-term care, roads, education and employment opportunities.
• Negotiating massive cuts to AgriStability and AgriInvest programs.
• Forcing Saskatchewan Archives and the Western Development Museums to cut hours and staff.
• Choosing to spend $1.2 million on additional office space, including in the posh Hill Tower III, despite cuts to the public service.
• Deregulating lifeguards and eliminating minimum swimmer-to-lifeguard ratios at public pools.
• Secretly selling LeRoy Leisureland Regional Park to a private corporation.
• Introducing a new, weak and deregulated environmental code.
• Refusing to give people on assistance their benefits before Christmas, as Social Services traditionally has done in the past, depriving many families of a Christmas.
• Extending the notice period required for landlords to increase rent only for landlords who don’t join the voluntary, unregulated Saskatchewan Rental Housing Industry Association.
• Slashing the Northern Economic Development budget by 30 per cent.