REGINA - A bill that adds three more constituencies and three more politicians to the Saskatchewan legislature has passed.
Attorney General Don Morgan said Wednesday that the change is necessary because the population is growing and some people have to travel too far to see their elected representative.
It will cost $225,000 per year for each new member of the legislature, but Morgan said the change could be funded through savings on government communication and travel expenses, not through higher taxes.
"The premier has indicated that we will look for additional savings and actually we're looking for that across all of government," Morgan said. "And certainly within executive government we will be able to find additional savings so that this is not something that's passed onto the taxpayer."
But the Opposition NDP said it's disappointed the bill passed because that money could have been spent on schools or health care.
"It's going to be millions of dollars for more politicians and Saskatchewan people, whether they're Sask. Party or NDP or Liberal or whatever, they've been coming to me and to all of my colleagues saying this is a pretty dumb idea that wasn't included in the election platform of the government," NDP Leader John Nilson said.
The NDP also says the bill changes existing laws that ensured that every constituency has roughly the same number of voters — meaning people under 18 won't be counted.
The change would bring the total number of seats in the legislature to 61. The extra seats will probably be added in Regina, Saskatoon and one rural area.
A three-member panel has been named to redraw constituency boundaries and is expected to produce a final report within six months.