The provincial budget, tabled yesterday, comes up short of helping the people of Saskatchewan, according to the leader of the Official Opposition, Carla Beck. The leader of the NDP noted the provincial government hasn’t been listening to the people of the province, and providing what they need.  

“Talking to people right across the province the number one issue, it’s not even close, for people in this province is the cost of living,” Beck told Discover Weyburn. “The feeling that people are falling further and further behind, people dealing with rising costs, rising food prices, rising power bills, and rising fees and taxes that we’ve seen the Sask Party expand. Yet, there’s not one measure in this whole budget to deal with that cost of living – the number one issue for people in this province.” 

Beck said the job of an elected official is to listen to the people who elected them, and if the NDP were the ones drawing up the budget, they would be listening to what the residents of the province wanted in terms of priorities.  

“This is a government that appears to be making decisions based on their own interests instead of the interest of the people of this province,” Beck said, using the marshal service that was announced last year as an example. She stated the current policing forces in Saskatchewan, the RCMP and the municipal forces, asked for additional funding to help combat crime, and instead the province has put $14 million towards the new marshal service which is expected to come online in 2016.  

The debt of the province, which went up in the budget and is expected to be $34 billion by the end of the 2024-25 fiscal year, was also a concern for Beck. 

“This is a government that has tripled the debt in this province,” Beck pointed out. “The current premier in six short years has actually pulled into first place in terms of the premier who’s added the most debt to the Saskatchewan people.” While she did not that there are unforeseen circumstances that can help drive up debt, such as the responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, drought or wildfire, they are not the entire reason. 

“It’s not just how much money we spend,” Beck continued. “It’s whether those dollars that we spend are actually improving conditions, improving services that people care about, and on too many fronts right now we see a government that is happy to spend money and not that concerned about results unless it’s something that benefits them politically.” 

As for whether or not this budget, the last one that will be tabled before the next provincial election will help or hinder the current government in the coming campaign, Beck was non-committal.  

“There’s a lot of speculation about whether we will see a fall election or something this spring. We don’t take anything for granted. We will continue to do the work where we see the momentum. It’s because we have been doing what people tell us they want – we've been out listening to people.”