Spring session ends in unfortunate vote, Broten says

Tyler Clarke
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Saskatchewan NDP leader Cam Broten. 

Reflecting on a busy spring session, Saskatchewan NDP leader Cam Broten lamented that the Sask. Party voted down their final motion of the season.


The Residential-in-care Bill of Rights Act would improve living conditions in seniors’ care facilities, he said on Friday.

“Sadly, the government voted against it yesterday, but that’s a real concrete step of something that could have been done to improve the quality of care of seniors,” he said.

“It’s basically requiring each care facility to work with residents and have a bill of rights in place, so everyone at that facility will know what the expectations are.”

This ties directly with the Saskatchewan NDP’s request that minimum care standards that the Sask. Party removed to be reinstated, Broten said.

“We just continually throughout this session heard from families that were coming forward and talking about how short staffing has really been hurting the quality of care that their loved ones are receiving.”

The spring session has been all about “things that matter the most to Saskatchewan families,” Broten summarized.

“That’s what we were talking about, and really that’s what we were holding the government to account on.”

In the classrooms, the focus needs to shift away from standardized testing, Broten argued.

“If you look at all the jurisdictions pretty much across North America we see them going in the opposite direction of what academics within education talk about,” he explained.

“What’s needed is putting the supports in classrooms so that students and teachers have what they need.”

A similar approach needs to take place in the health-care system, which requires a shift away from listening to outside consultants and other sometimes-costly invited guests and more toward the front line workers, he said.

Sadly, the government voted against it yesterday, but that’s a real concrete step of something that could have been done to improve the quality of care of seniors Cam Broten

“What’s really needed are resources on the front line so there are enough staff to care for patients,” he said.

Saskatchewan is becoming less affordable, Broten argued, noting that crown corporations are charging more and more for residents’ basic needs.

“What’s missing is the overall strategy to reduce poverty and to address more of the poor outcomes we’re seeing in the province,” he said. “To us, this is a no-brainer and something that must be done, but the government is reluctant.”

In the Prince Albert area, Broten said it’s all about getting more representation in Regina, be it protesting against health care job losses or citing the perceived need for a second North Saskatchewan river crossing.

These issues are a small snapshot of the Saskatchewan NDP’s current focus -- something Broten notes is expected to morph into something new prior to the fall session’s Oct. 22 start.

“It’ll be a busy time of travel, getting out to different parts of the province,” he said. “When the session is on, one is tied a bit more to Regina, so in the summer we get out and listen to community members and hear what the priorities are, and that informs the work we do in the fall.”

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