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NDP renews call for gas prices relief

MLAs Aleana Young, Trent Wotherspoon call for action from Sask. Party.

REGINA — The opposition New Democrats have renewed their call for the Sask. Party government to address the rising cost of gas.

Opposition critics Aleana Young and Trent Wotherspoon stood outside a Mobil gas station on Albert Street in Regina Wednesday, where they once again called for fuel relief measures. 

“Inflation is at a generational high, gas climbs to historic highs day after day, and meanwhile we have a government that is asleep at the switch,” said Young.

She pointed out the opposition had been calling for affordability measures for fuel relief since March 7. 

“Now here we are, three months later, and nothing from this government.”

The MLAs made their latest call for action during a week when gas prices in Regina had just hit a new high of $2.06.9 a litre.

“We are calling on this government to get with the program, get with reality and deliver affordability for Saskatchewan people now,” said Wotherspoon. He pointed to the crushing cost of living, but also pointed to the massive resource profits.

Wotherspoon called again for an immediate deployment of a $125 million cost of living rebate to Saskatchewan as well as scrapping the expansion of the “nonsense PST.” 

Wotherspoon also repeated his call for a windfall profits surcharge of one per cent, something he had been calling for for the last couple of months.

“The consequences of not acting here are significant. Saskatchewan people are facing incredible hardship, at the grocery store and when they’re at those pumps with record prices $2.07 a litre. They are literally breaking the bank just to fill the tank. And, certainly, we know that with respect to other industries the impacts are huge.”

He pointed to those in the field who are seeding right now are dealing with "punishing" prices, and also pointed to those in road construction who are “stuck with contracts that are untenable, putting at risk their building season.”

The two MLAs said they had been on the road and that they had been out door knocking and holding meetings. Everywhere they went, they said, they were hearing about the issue.

There has also been pressure on municipalities, both urban and rural. Wotherspoon said he spoke to Ray Orb, president of the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities, that morning. 

“He said it’s just devastating to their budgets to be able to fulfill the road building and bridge maintenance that they need to fulfill, and they definitely need action on these fronts.”

To help them, Wotherspoon pointed to a need to put a stay on the provincial fuel tax and he also pointed to the PST on construction, which he called “double-taxation.”

Young noted that there was “no good reason” for the government not to act.

“Ontario, New Brunswick, Alberta have all been out for months with affordability relief.”

Premier Scott Moe has already indicated his government might provide relief by the fall. Wotherspoon said the province had the resources to delivery the fuel relief now, saying the government had continued to collect those dollars. 

“More than having the fiscal capacity which is certainly they do with soaring resource revenues, they have a duty to Saskatchewan people. It’s completely wrong and tone deaf to leave Saskatchewan businesses high and dry in this incredible time of challenge. We need a new responsive government, not a lazy one.”