The job of the official opposition is in some ways an easy one. Needs can be expressed without the difficult follow-through stage.
Such is the case with the Saskatchewan NDP, which has lodged their fair share of criticism against the Sask. Party. The only gap in their criticism -- usually that greater funding is needed in certain areas -- is significant detail of funding attached.
On Thursday, Prince Albert Carlton MP Darryl Hickie took note of this at the Legislative Assembly of Saskatchewan, citing $1.6 billion of NDP promises made since Cam Broten took leadership of the party.
“That means higher taxes, huge deficits, or both … Saskatchewan voters soundly rejected Dwain Lingenfelter and his reckless $5billion spending spree,” Hickie said.
On Nov. 1, 2011, Lingenfelter, then-leader of the Saskatchewan NDP, made a campaign stop in Prince Albert to promise the city a second bridge within four years.
Our commitment is to get the bridge constructed before our first term is completed," he said, promising to work with local levels of government until the bridge is a reality.
At the time, Lingenfelter said that the NDP was prepared to invest half of the funds needed to build the bridge, which at the time was estimated at $100 million.
The next day, Premier Brad Wall spoke at a Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, where he addressed the bridge promise.
At the time, Wall claimed that the NDP was in a bidding war for votes, estimating $3 billion, or perhaps even as much as $5 billion in NDP promises.
"I think that represents an orange crush of a different kind, " Wall said at the time "An orange crush of debt.”
Although it’s easier for opposition to make questionable financial promises than it is for the governing party, the Sask. Party hasn’t been without its questionable moments.
For the past few years, now, the Sask. Party has claimed to tout a “balanced budget” -- a claim they make just as adamantly as the Saskatchewan NDP claim that the budget is, in fact, in deficit.
The auditor backs the Saskatchewan NDP ‘s stance, noting that if the government followed more generally accepted accounting principles, the province would show an annual deficit of $590 million in its general revenue fund, not the government-reported $58 million surplus.
But, who are you going to trust? The governing political party or the Opposition, backed by an arms-length non-partisan auditor?
Then, there’s the Sask. Party’s addition of three new MLAs to legislature, at what’s been estimated to cost $134,000 annually, per MLA.
Because that’s what everyone needs -- more politicians.
Prince Albert Daily Herald