Government forwards growth agenda; NDP accuses Sask. Party of "rehashing"
The Saskatchewan Party isn't reinventing the wheel, but is instead reaffirming their core goal of growth and managing the challenges associated with it.
Such was the theme of the Speech from the Throne delivered in Legislature Wednesday afternoon.
"The speech really outlines the plans for the upcoming session and backfilled the goals of keeping Saskatchewan growing and making sure infrastructure and all of the other challenges brought on by growth are being looked at," Warren Michelson, MLA for Moose Jaw North, told the Times-Herald. "I think it covers a lot of areas very well in that regard."
Michelson and fellow Moose Jaw MLA Greg Lawrence were appreciative of the announcements in the speech, including the suggestion that the Sask. Party will help SIAST achieve polytechnic status.
"That is something Saskatchewan has been looking for, and SIAST has been looking for … we brought in degree granting programs … this will be expanded," said Michelson. "It will attract more foreign students and students from outside of the province."
"Any time you offer the people of Saskatchewan — especially our young people — more options when it comes to education, it keeps them at home," Lawrence added. "Being a father of some young guys who are going through the process now, it makes me happy they don't have to leave the province to get the education to further their lives.
Both MLAs lauded the Student First approach announced by their government, which Lawrence said "is about getting more input from the teachers and the students themselves" in the way schools are run.
But Cam Broten, leader of the Saskatchewan NDP, said the speech is "mostly a rehash of things that have already been talked about," and that it encourages "looking back instead of looking forward."
"This Speech from the Throne shows me they're recycling news releases they've already put out on things," Broten said. "This government isn't living up to its end of the bargain in terms of providing the important services that are needed, especially in the areas of senior care and better K-12 education for our kids."
Broten said the announcement of support for SIAST's transition to a polytechnic institution is a "perfect example" of the rehashing he accused the Sask. Party of enacting, noting "what's really missing is a comprehensive view of what we need for the entire post-secondary sector.
"There can be steps in one area, but you need to have that broadened vision," he said. "When we look at the financial pressures that this government has created at both the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Regina, there's no mention of that in the Throne Speech. It's very selective of the things it does talk about."
With respect to the Student First approach, Broten said, "Students need to be first in our education system, but the actions of this government have been to the contrary in almost every instance.
"When we look at the education sector over the past few years under this government, pretty much everything they've touched has been a disaster," he said. "If we want prosperity in the long run, it means making the right investments now. When the economy is doing well, there's no excuse for this government to not be delivering the top-notch education system our kids deserve."