NEWS

Saskatchewan budget needs to cut waste; address education, health care: NDP

03/16/2015 01:52 EDT | Updated 05/16/2015 05:59 EDT
REGINA - Saskatchewan's Opposition is calling for the government to prioritize education and front-line health care in the upcoming budget.

NDP Leader Cam Broten said Monday he wants the government to cut spending on the Lean program, which aims to streamline health care. He said it creates bloated health administration and savings could go to hire more front-line workers.

The New Democrats have suggested that the $40-million contract with U.S. consultant John Black and Associates has failed to improve the province's standards.

Broten is also calling for cash to repair schools and expand home-care services for seniors.

Premier Brad Wall has said the budget, to be tabled Wednesday, is the most challenging his government has had to put together as low world oil prices translate into a revenue shortfall of between $600 million and $800 million this year.

Broten said he wants the government to eliminate waste and make better decisions.

"It's moving items from the waste column ... into the priorities column," he said. "There's a long list of cuts that add up to a lot ... the John Black version of Lean is still plowing ahead in a big way."

Wall said the NDP doesn't have a plan to offset the effects of low oil revenue.

"The problem is they don't balance," said Wall, who added that a growing economy will be the only way to address issues in sectors such as health care.

"The leader of the Opposition has been a very effective critic of health ... but this debate about the economy and the budget is about more than that."

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