Media Release: Provincial Budget or Budge It?

For Immediate Release – March 21, 2012

Regina – Leaders and members of SEIU-West are cautiously watching the release of the provincial budget today, as public service provider cuts have been forecast over the prior several weeks. While the provincial budget details will be more specific in the weeks to come, SEIU-West members are not expecting any real public service investment from the provincial government after today’s announcement.

“Our provincial government continues to ignore chronic unsafe staffing levels in the public health care system. At the same time, the Sask Party government is willing to divert funds in support of private options, which come at a higher cost and contribute to a lack of human resources in the public system. In addition, we all know that health care facilities across the province are aging and renovations, or in some cases facility replacements, are needed, yet we fail to see a proper investment to address these critical needs,” said Barbara Cape, President of Service Employees International Union West (SEIU-West). “Saskatchewan residents need a safe place in which to access services, and our members need a safe place with adequate resources to provide care.”

Janice Platzke, Treasurer of SEIU-West adds, “Our members in the education sector have witnessed significant cuts to the role of the Education Assistant in Saskatchewan schools over the last two years. Now the education sector will be hit again. At the same time that our government is reducing the budgets of specific school divisions, they have agreed to reroute monies in support of creating independent schools. It doesn’t make a great deal of sense. If we are experiencing economic prosperity and growth, why are we cutting resources that will affect the quality of our children’s education?”

“Our provincial government appears to be entertaining many new costs. Other provincial leaders have identified concerns regarding the significant projected costs of Harper’s crime bill, which the Federal Government has not budgeted for. Yet, our Minister of Justice publicly accepts this rather large bill on our behalf. Similarly, while the Sask Party government reduces hands-on public services, they choose to increase the number of MLA’s in the province. The only rationale provided is our population growth. The general public does not need more MLA’s; what they need is adequate care in the community-based sector, the health sector and in public services generally. We sincerely hope for a shift in their thinking and a recognition that investment in public services sees a higher rate of return for our citizens ,” continued Cape.

SEIU-West represents approximately twelve thousand working people in the province of Saskatchewan. They include members who work in healthcare, education, municipalities, community- based organizations, retirement homes and other sectors.

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For more information, contact: Shawna Colpitts, Director of Political Action & Education – 306.652.1011 ext. 2224

Barbara Cape, President: Available for interviews at the Legislature today following Budget release Contact at the Legislature: Tom Howe, Member Action Coordinator – 306.221.2005

For a printable PDF of this release, please click on the link below:

Media Release: Provincial Budget or Budge It?

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