End of session report

Nicole Rancourt, Prince Albert Northcote MLA

The fall session of the Legislative Assembly is now behind us, and your NDP Opposition team and I worked hard to put people first, here in Prince Albert and around the province.

During this session, I presented petitions for a second bridge for Prince Albert, a promise that the Sask Party government seems to have forgotten about. I also presented petitions asking the government to support the suicide strategy legislation which my colleague, Doyle Vermette, MLA for Cumberland, tabled for a second time. Once again, the Sask. Party government refused to support the legislation and again turned their backs on youth who are dying by suicide and their families.

The NDP caucus presented two private member bills: The Suicide Prevention Strategy bill and The Public Interest Disclosure (Provincial Health Authority) Amendment Act. The first bill asks the government to create a non-partisan committee that would oversee the creation of a Suicide Prevention Strategy that would include all groups of people and issues across the province. This kind of prevention strategy is established in most provinces, and federally. Other countries have also been implementing this. The provincial auditor has called for a less “fragmented” approach to this issue. Therefore, this is an entirely reasonable request, yet the government refuses to follow through. Our youth continue to die by suicide in unprecedented numbers.

The second bill is to change the current “whistleblower” legislation to include healthcare employees. Due to the language in the current legislation, it is not clear if healthcare workers are protected if they speak out. The minister indicated that they planned to make changes with the regulations to include healthcare workers, but we are advocating that they make changes to the bill so that healthcare workers have the same protection as any other provincial employee.

During Question Period, I asked the Minister of Social Services questions on the negative impacts from the new Saskatchewan Income Support program (SIS), many of which could easily be fixed. We have asked the Minister to make changes and corrections, but again our requests have fallen on deaf ears. The most vulnerable in our society are being put at risk; simple changes would make all the difference.

The mid-year report was released at the end of November and pointed to a struggling economy. The Sask Party government continues to inflate growth projections and to be slow to respond to new challenges such as our struggling economy, overcrowded classrooms and struggling emergency rooms.

Throughout this session, our caucus focused on the concerns that we heard from across the province. Concerns such as long wait times in emergency rooms and the prevalence of hallway medicine; gag orders put on Saskatchewan healthcare workers, including doctors;  lack of supports in schools and an economy that is struggling. In between sessions, we will continue to question the government and draw attention to these issues and other issues such as the Global Transportation Hub scandal, health care and education issues and the lack of support for working men and women in our province.

Also during this session, I was pleased to make several member statements about events and people in Prince Albert. So many organizations and people are so worthy of this recognition. You can view any of

my or other MLA member statement by going to the video archives at

Now that session is over, I have been attending many events in Prince Albert and plan to continue to do so over the winter. I will be on the doorsteps in Prince Albert Northcote early in the new year to speak with my constituents and hear your concerns, as we continue to work for a government that puts people first.

Please feel free contact my office. My staff and I are pleased to help in any way we can if you are struggling with a provincial issue or ministry. As well, we are always interested in your views and concerns.

It’s time to share what the Sask. Party government won’t talk about

Nicole Rancourt

MLA’s report

The Sask. Party government’s budget cuts continue to hurt Saskatchewan working people and families.

Prince Albert was hit especially hard by the drastic cuts of the last two provincial budgets.

When the province cut $36 million in grants-in-lieu payments to municipalities, Prince Albert city council had to find ways to backfill the shortfalls. Add to that a loss of grants to community rinks and the reduction in municipal revenue sharing, and it becomes clear the Sask. Party is placing too much pressure on the province’s hometowns.

When the Sask. Party shut down STC last year, 244 jobs were lost across the province, including jobs in Prince Albert. They cut funding to the Prince Albert Mobile Crisis Unit and Pehonan Parkway in 2016, and have ignored repeated calls to have it restored.
Before it was amalgamated, Prince Albert Parkland Health Region lost four programs: parent mentoring, pastoral care, podiatry and the travel health clinic. In 2014, 75 laundry employees at Victoria Hospital lost their jobs.

The cut to the Rental Housing Supplement in this year’s budget is simply cruel and heartless. The supplement helped people living with disabilities and low-income families to pay their rent. As of July 1, new applicants no longer receive this benefit.

Schools in Prince Albert, in both the public and Catholic systems, continue to face massive cutbacks that damage the quality of our kids’ education. Special needs students are not receiving the help they require. Until the Sask. Party government fully restores the $54 million cut it made to education, school divisions will have to do more with less, hurting our children and their access to top-quality education.

The increase in PST from five per cent to six per cent has also impacted Prince Albert, especially the implementation of PST on construction contracts. New construction is down and it is costing us jobs. Statistics Canada reported that Saskatchewan saw a $12.6 million decrease in investments in new housing construction and is the only province that saw a decrease from March 2017 to March 2018.

The expansion of the PST to include children’s clothing and restaurant meals has also hurt families and business in Prince Albert, and throughout the province.

No matter what you may read in ads paid for by MLA Joe Hargrave and Premier Scott Moe, Prince Albert is not benefitting from the Sask. Party budget. In fact, our city continues to suffer because of their budgets. That the Sask. Party government continues to throw hundreds of millions of dollars at its pet projects, while cutting supports for the most vulnerable and making life more difficult for many Saskatchewan families, is wrong and unfair.

My NDP caucus colleagues and I will continue to stand up for the people of Prince Albert and hold Scott Moe and the Sask. Party to account for their poor decisions. The people of Prince Albert deserve better.

Nicole Rancourt is the MLA for Prince Albert Northcote.