Author: Gulraiz Tariq- contributor
For the first time in eleven years, we see three parties (the Saskatchewan Party, Saskatchewan Liberals, and Saskatchewan NDP) with a full slate of 61 candidates, and two parties (Green Party and Saskatchewan Conservatives), with 58 and 18 candidates. In the past, we have experienced the failed policies and surplus mismanagement of the NDP and the Saskatchewan Party, which has led our economy down the drain. It does not always have to be a two-party system. We can and should bring a third voice in the legislature to ensure accountability and transparency– two fundamental characteristics of democracy, which the current provincial government lacks.
The Saskatchewan Liberals have a very clear, consistent, and concise five-point platform which ensures real change:
- Invest into the future of our economy by reinstating the film tax credit, and creating more permanent immigration.
- Supporting sustainable communities by increasing minimum wage to ensure more disposable income for residents in the lower end of the income bracket.
- Make education work for everyone by not cutting back on grants and scholarship like the current government did in 2015.
- Bring leadership to heath care by rolling back the lean program and expanding home care services.
- Implement fair government practices by limiting political contributions to $3,000 per year and reducing the size of the legislature.
It is great that Brad Wall gives credit to the world commodity prices and the good fortune that has blessed the Saskatchewan economy over the past few years. However, it also comes as no surprise that Brad Wall has failed at managing the good fortune. When Brad Wall took office, we had a surplus and today we are in a deficit of $3.8 billion, causing an underfunding of $2.5 billion in educational institutions.
As well, students always need immediate assistance when they are in university. Where the Saskatchewan Party only promises to help students if they decide to live in Saskatchewan after their post-secondary graduation. This causes students to graduate with massive debt and delay life milestones.
The Regina Bypass, GTH Scams, lean program, and elimination of the film tax credit are a few of the countless examples of the failed policies of the Saskatchewan Party under Brad Wall. The Saskatchewan Party is spending $1.88 billion on a bypass that only benefits 10-15 per cent of truck traffic. It was also shocking to learn about the stinking GTH land deal where two private companies made millions from the sale of 204 acres of land. As well, by eliminating the film tax credit, the current government killed our film industry and drove hundreds of skilled workers out of our province, even though the credit had no expenses. The lean program, a program that is used widely in the manufacturing industry, was implemented in the health care sector and saved merely one dollar for every $1,511 spent on health care.
It is also quite a shame to also learn that an auditor scolded the Saskatchewan Party over ‘pervasive’ accounting errors. According to an article from the CBC, Saskatchewan’s auditor, Judy Ferguson, states that the Saskatchewan Party’s statements “aren’t reliable” and that “there are so many errors that it’s too hard for the general person to make the adjustments to figure out what the right information is.”
Meanwhile, during the last time the NDP was in office, they closed 52 hospital beds and 1200 long-term facilities. In addition, they are the ones who closed down the Plains hospital, which led to long wait times. NDP also introduced tuition freezes, which backfired once they were over, causing whopping increases. NDP has, over the past few years, proven to be a very weak opposition as they have failed to hold Brad Wall and the Saskatchewan Party accountable, and thus have let the Saskatchewan Party continue to waste millions of taxpayer dollars.
The most important point is to vote on April 4. As Lynn Barber from URSU would put it, it is a $100 bill that is given to you. By not voting, you would be burning that bill. Therefore, use that bill, and vote to ensure your voice is heard. And most importantly, vote for REAL CHANGE, to get a third voice in legislature, and ensure accountability and transparency in the legislature.