Saskatchewan Green Party Opposition to Austerity Budget

March 23, 2017

The Saskatchewan Green Party sees the current budget released by the Wall government as short-sighted and damaging to the province. Shawn Setyo, SGP leader, believes "this budget is going to negatively affect the most marginalized in our society. Students, rural residents, seniors, people with disabilities and low income earners are all going to feel the added burden on their lives."

The scrapping of the Saskatchewan Transportation Corporation will isolate rural residents and seniors depending on this service. STC employees will also now be added to the unemployment rolls of our province.

Public service workers will see their wages reduced. Their lowered ability to afford the goods and services sold by local business will hurt the economy.

Our premier, so fond of criticizing carbon pricing as a tax increase, now increases the PST while decreasing the corporate sales tax even further. Don't expect a positive economic result.

Shawn is certain "these measures will only hamper growth and not even begin to deal with any of the province's root problems." The Saskatchewan Green Party believes that this budget should not be one of austerity but one of growth and development, through a number of alternatives:

The government should be reversing heavy cuts to corporate tax rates inherited from past governments -- rather than offloading these costs onto the public.

The STC should be expanded -- not cut -- to provide transit service to bedroom communities like Martensville and Pilot Butte to increase ridership. More of the cheaper-to-operate minibuses should be deployed where appropriate.

A "basic income" - type anti-poverty strategy should be introduced to reverse the 3- Billion-Dollar-a-year poverty drain on our province. Proceeds from carbon pricing could help ensure no Saskatchewan citizen falls below the poverty line.

Our medical community should be engaged to focus on preventative health care to reduce our healthcare costs. Alternatives to Big Pharma should be required study in medical school.

Greater collaboration between First Nation/Metis/Dene communities and the government to find initiatives that will aid in accelerated community development.

Made-in-Saskatchewan carbon pricing should be introduced to increase investment and jobs in renewable energy and energy efficiency -- rather than a PST hike that will slow enterprise.

Education must be funded well, since the route to a prosperous Saskatchewan future leads through the knowledge economy and trade skills. Our talent pool of young indigenous people should be fully developed.

These are solutions the Greens believe our government should have been providing to help tackle the deficit and grow our economy, rather than shrinking it by austerity. A better future can be created for our province with real alternatives to the short-sighted slashing and cutting budget the Wall government has now saddled our province with.