Broten going back to basics

Lisa Goudy
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NDP Opposition Leader Cam Broten gives his address at the Saskatchewan NDP's annual convention in Moose Jaw on May 31, 2014.

Opposition Leader focuses on the people at NDP convention

Health care. Education. Seniors.

Those are the main platform pushes for which NDP Opposition Leader Cam Broten is continuing to advocate.

“Politics can’t simply be about the province doing well. It has to be about the people doing well and what we’ve seen from this government in the recent spring sitting that we’ve had is a real failure on the basics,” said Broten after his speech at the 2014 Saskatchewan NDP Convention in Moose Jaw on Saturday.

“The government’s been completely obsessed with its lean pet project in health care as the prime example where they spend untold millions of dollars on one U.S. consultant, on flying in Japanese senseis instead of actually putting the dollars onto the front lines where it’s needed most.”

Those three areas are essential, he said, because it matters to families. He added it’s important to keep the dialogue going about those issues.

“This government is following absolutely everything that (the consultant) says,” said Broten. “The lean consultant said that the Moose Jaw hospital should be smaller and the government listened. So now the new hospital here in Moose Jaw will actually have fewer patient rooms than the current hospital has and will no longer have the hyperbaric chamber.”

The U.S. consultant, who has come to the province to do seminars and give recommendations, costs the government $40 million, he said.

“As I’m travelling the province people are coming up and talking to me about how can they be spending $40 million on a U.S. consultant when my grandma is in a care facility not getting the care that she needs?” said Broten. “It doesn’t sit well with Saskatchewan people. So we’re going to keep talking about it, keep applying pressure and holding the government to account.”

He said the government’s data from the health quality council demonstrates the worsening of health care in Saskatchewan regarding patient satisfaction and mortality rates after surgery, as a few examples.

“We don’t need the complete obsession that we’ve seen with the pet projects,” said Broten. “When the government’s very own data shows hat the health care’s getting worse, when the stories of Saskatchewan patients and residents echo those concerns, it’s bizarre that the government would continue to have its head in the sand, saying that pouring millions into lean is the way to go when it’s not bringing the results.”

This summer the NDP will ramp up their nomination process until the provincial election expected to occur in 2016.

Broten said he had good feelings about the convention.

“It’s a great weekend that we’re having in Moose Jaw for our annual convention, a time when new democrats from all over the province come together, time to reflect on the good work we’ve done over the past year and to be energized for the work ahead over the next year,” he said. “So members are excited and committed to the hard work we want to do.”

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

Organizations: NDP, Saskatchewan NDP Convention, Moose Jaw hospital

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, U.S., Saskatchewan

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