Friday, March 25, 2011

Green Party of Saskatchewan Responds to Budget

Wall Ignores Saskatchewan's Most Disadvantaged In 2011/12 Budget

The Wall Government called their 2011/12 provincial Budget the 'Saskatchewan Advantage', but according to Green Party Leader Larissa Shasko, the budget fails to provide help to the most economically disadvantaged people of Saskatchewan.

Shasko notes the irony of the terms the Wall Government has used to describe this year's budget. In addition to talking about the 'Saskatchewan Advantage' the Wall Government also used the term 'this year country' to describe their economic agenda for Saskatchewan with this budget. "The term 'this year country' represents the Wall Government's boom to bust approach for Saskatchewan's economy-- use it up today and leave the mess behind for tomorrow," states Shasko. "Today's youth will end up paying the price for Brad Wall's fiscal and environmental mismanagement and his lack of economic planning."

“The Green Party of Saskatchewan's economic vision is sustainable, for generations to come," states Shasko. "Wall's economic vision for a boom to bust Saskatchewan is not the road we would take Saskatchewan down. Brad Wall should have learned from Alberta's mistakes instead of repeating them," she continues. "The affordable housing crisis in Saskatchewan is evidence of that."

The Green Party Leader is alarmed by the amount of misleading spin the Wall Government has used to 'sell' this budget to voters. "The Wall Government has the audacity to brag about improving public services in this budget when just last year they cut 25% of the civil service, cuts that are still taking place and will continue to cut down our public service for another 9 years," notes Shasko.

Shasko notes that the inadequate money set out in the budget for housing and childcare is "almost an insult" to those who are in need. She is also criticizing the budget for ignoring the "extremely stressful economic circumstances" that post-secondary students in our province are facing. According to Shasko, holding tuition increases to an average of three percent is not doing nearly enough and is out of touch with the reality that most Saskatchewan students are experiencing. "Where are the student loan debt relief programs? Why not provide funding to actually reduce tuition for Saskatchewan students? It seems odd that they are boasting about tuition rates when they are actually going up," states Shasko.

Shasko is pointing to similarities in the provincial budget and the federal budget, released just the day before. "Just like with Harper's budget, Wall's budget completely ignores the harsh economic times that many people in Saskatchewan are facing, times that are getting more difficult instead of better," states Shasko.

The Green Party Leader says she is disappointed that healthcare spending in this budget "falls far short from what is needed to provide good care to Saskatchewan people." Shasko points out that the budget did not provide capital funding for the Moose Jaw Union Hospital, noting "the Wall Government had four years to make this project happen for Moose Jaw and have not done so before their term in office is up."

The Green Party Leader was also disappointed that Wall's 2011/12 Budget did not restore the $25 million of funding that was cut from the Department of Environment's budget last year. According to Shasko, "Our environment in this province has been deliberately left with inadequate protection by Premier Wall, a move that is common when one is running a corporatocracy instead of a democracy as Wall is doing."

Shasko notes that the SaskParty election campaign in 2007 was funded by corporate donations, and the Green Party of Saskatchewan, which is the only provincial political party in Saskatchewan that does not accept corporate donations, would restructure Saskatchewan's economy so that the people who live here are actually living the good quality of life that Brad Wall likes to use as rhetoric. Shasko notes that "unlike Wall's vote getting spin, the Green Party of Saskatchewan has a genuine economic plan that will greatly improve quality of life for all who live here."

Shasko feels a more truthful title to describe the 2011/12 provincial budget would have been, "Wall's Saskatchewan: Ignoring the Disadvantaged."

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