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Budget fails to meet the moment, says NDP Opposition

Opposition Leader Carla Beck, Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon slam 2023-24 budget for not addressing affordability, health care, social concerns.
Health Critic Vicki Mowat, Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon and Opposition Leader Carla Beck meet reporters prior to the budget presentation to criticize the 2023-24 budget.

REGINA - The opposition New Democrats have slammed the Saskatchewan provincial budget for failing to address cost of living and health care crises.

Opposition Leader Carla Beck and Finance Critic Trent Wotherspoon said the budget “fails to meet the moment.” 

“Budgets are about choices, they’re about people,” said Beck. “And budgets are about priorities. This budget shows that the Sask Party are wildly out of touch with the priorities and the concerns of the people who call this province home.”

“So if you’re a parent struggling to make ends meet, this budget doesn’t help you. If you’re a young student learning in an overcrowded classroom, hoping for an investment in your future, this budget, it doesn’t help you. And if you’re a health care worker hoping that the government will finally listen to medical doctors over their own spin doctors, and make bold investments to stabilize our health care system, this budget, it doesn’t help you.”

In speaking to reporters in an embargoed news conference prior to the budget presentation, the Opposition was critical of the government for not using the $1 billion surplus and accompanying massive resource revenues to address needs.

Wotherspoon pointed to the “generational cost of living challenge and the sky high prices people are facing at grocery stores, gas pumps, so many other fronts.” He said the budget offered “no new cost of living relief for families struggling to pay their bills every month.”

He also spoke of a health care system brought to its knees, classrooms being “gutted,” and an “economy dead last on every economic measure.”

The Opposition were particularly critical that Saskatchewan Income Support, Saskatchewan Assured Income for Disability, and Senior's Income Plan benefits weren’t increased by more in the budget. Beck said the increase amounted to “a dollar a day.”

“A dollar a day for the most vulnerable, who are facing homelessness and food insecurity… I think Scott Moe’s generosity knows no boundaries," said Beck. 

Wotherspoon slammed the government for “failing the most vulnerable.”

The opposition, including Health Critic Vicki Mowat, also accused the government of not providing support to stabilize family doctors or invest in retaining health care workers and professionals.

“The investment that they tout just keeps pace with inflation,” said Wotherspoon. “At a time when we’re facing a crisis, at a time when we’re competing against the rest of Canada to retain those professionals and retain those workers.”

He also slammed the government for keeping in place the expanded PST including on construction labour, and said the government would “wildly miss” their 2030 jobs target of 100,000 jobs.