The Saskatchewan Party’s 2013 provincial budget is reflective of a lack of honesty and leadership, according to NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon.
“By way of a lack of honesty, we see that in the misleading books, the misleading numbers, the failure to be transparent and accountable ... we see as well a budget that puts costs onto future generations,” Wotherspoon said Thursday.
Wotherspoon discussed the budget at length, addressing a number of key issues for Moose Jaw, including infrastructure funding and partnerships, funding for the Moose Jaw hospital, and unclear wording surrounding the $5 million earmarked for the Valley View Centre.
“I meet with our councilors, mayors and community leaders across this province ... what I know is that they’re looking for an active and willing partner to address infrastructure challenges, and it’s not something that they’ve received,” he said.
“Most certainly, a responsible government would be supporting infrastructure and working closely with municipalities and communities to understand those pressures and then bringing forward a program to address those needs.”
Wotherspoon also criticized the government’s performance in responding to the concerns of citizens with respect to the new Moose Jaw hospital.
“It seems that the government is pushing ahead with its plan for a smaller hospital in Moose Jaw without a hyperbaric chamber and that they’re not listening to the voices of Moose Jaw ... but also the entire region,” he said.
“We’ve been disappointed that (the complaints) have fallen on deaf ears and that government is simply continuing to push forward with the plan toward a smaller hospital without the same services as it had before.”
A lack of clarity with respect to the $5 million allocated to “Valley View Centre replacement initiatives” was another spot for criticisms.
“We see a lot of dollars being spent by this government and we can’t track where they’re really going. I haven’t heard from very many that feel that, on Valley View, there’s been any meaningful consultation,” said Wotherspoon.
“It seems that a lot of families are getting the runaround on this front. We know there’s not enough spaces for residents in the community, and it seems the government is looking for a quick way to deal with this rather than looking for real solutions.”
Ultimately, he said, the state of the province’s economy does not justify the budget tabled by the government.
“Saskatchewan’s economy is doing really well. Saskatchewan’s economy is strong. And so people are rightfully asking, ‘Why isn’t the Saskatchewan Party government doing better with the opportunities it has been presented?’” said Wotherspoon. “What they’ve put forward is a credit card budget that borrows from our future, asking our kids to pay for it, and kicking responsibility down the road.”