Moose Jaw Wakamow MLA Greg Lawrence believes Moose Jaw is doing well.
“Things in Moose Jaw are great. You can take a look at our revenue sharing. We’ve increased our revenue sharing to the city by 124 per cent,” said Lawrence. “I don’t see that as necessarily falling behind.”
Lawrence spoke with the Times-Herald in response to the report of provincial government presence in Moose Jaw that was presented to council on Tuesday night. The report revealed a significant decreasing trend in government jobs in the city, including SIAST, Crown corporations like SaskTel and Valley View Centre.
Lawrence said the new hospital set to begin construction next year is a $100-million project. Lawrence stated Five Hills Health Region has 98 per cent of surgeries completed in six months.
He said four years ago, the government pledged to reduce the size of the civil service in Saskatchewan by 15 per cent.
“The reductions are taking place throughout the province and the individual ministries are actually managing the process and the reason they need to manage it is to make sure all the needs of the public are continuing to be met,” said Lawrence.
“Job loss is a concern for anyone … I’m going to make sure that I’m doing the best job I can for the people of Moose Jaw to make sure that the people are in place that need to be to serve the public.”
The report indicated that between 1999 and 2011, SIAST Palliser campus lost 42 full-time equivalent jobs while the Kelsey campus in Saskatoon gained 188 full-time jobs. Palliser’s share of total capital expenditures have also decreased from 29 per cent of SIAST funding in 2001 to 12 per cent in 2012.
Lawrence said the government has no control over where the jobs within SIAST are distributed.
“The issue with SIAST is SIAST has a board and we provide the funding to SIAST, but they determine staffing levels and where that staffing level is allocated,” said Lawrence.
“I need to really point out that we provided significant support to SIAST … The board is set up to act in the best interests of the students of SIAST.”
He said this year the provincial government provided $143.4 million in operating funding to SIAST, a 21 per cent increase since 2007.
Larry Rosia, president and CEO of SIAST, told the Times-Herald the job shifting to Saskatoon was part of the planning process to meet the needs of the labour market.
“So this means both adding and suspending programming, whatever the case may be, and in recent years SIAST has placed higher demand on programming in Saskatoon than in Moose Jaw,” said Rosia.
For more information, see an upcoming edition of the Times-Herald.