TRENT W OTHERSPOON:
The Saskatchewan NDP
By Trent Wotherspoon
SASKATCHEWAN LEADERSHIP CANDIDATE
My vision for Saskatchewan is one based on hope,
opportunity and reconciliation for all in a prov-ince
that works for everyone.
It’s one where we are able to provide a world-class education for
our kids, deliver high-quality healthcare and mental healthcare in
our hospitals and clinics, and one where we build a strong and in-clusive
economy, creating jobs and economic growth through a
combination of private investment, infrastructure spending and
strong Crown Corporations owned by the people of Saskatchewan.
Our province is fortunate to have so many highly skilled, high
quality heavy construction firms – and I want them to be able to
grow and create even more jobs that help our province succeed.
In response to so many Saskatchewan businesses being shut out
of work on public projects, I was proud to have pushed for better
government procurement in 2014 with my private member’s bill fo-cused
on ensuring best value for the province and creating a fairer
and more common sense process for government and the Crowns.
Some of the elements of my bill were taken up by the Saskatchewan
Party government in 2015, but unfortunately, there are still serious
problems with the way this government does procurement.
We must act to level the playing field for Saskatchewan business-es
and ensure best value for the public and our economy.
The Saskatchewan Party’s constant focus on P3 financing of infra-structure
projects often means that there is more work for out-of-province
and out-of-country conglomerates and less for companies
based here in Saskatchewan, often shutting out Saskatchewan com-panies
from the process. We should take a common-sense approach
to procurement that ensures opportunity for our world-class com-panies
and workers, and best value and economic impact for the
province. As Premier, I would launch an accountability commission
to open up these private P3 contracts and make sure that the public
is getting the best possible value for their public dollars.
In the 2016 provincial budget, the Saskatchewan Party made
tough economic times our province even worse by slashing grants-in-
lieu funding to municipalities and adding a new 6 per cent PST
on construction labour. The cuts to grants-in-lieu funding have
forced municipalities to cancel or delay important infrastructure
projects in our towns and cities at a time when we need more jobs
and economic growth. And the 6 per cent PST on construction la-bour
increases the cost of projects, weakening investment and our
economic recovery. Both of these decisions were shortsighted and
need to be rolled back.
As Premier, I would work as a full partner with the Saskatchewan
Heavy Construction Association and other groups to make sure that
government is doing everything it can to create jobs and investment
that will help grow our province in the short term and the long term.
With proper resources in our classrooms, access to timely care in
healthcare, diversifying our economy, investing in and building in-frastructure
through smarter procurement by government, we can
build a province that works for everyone.
JERROLD JAMES GRIFFITH / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
thinkbigmagazine.ca | Quarter 4 2017 | Think BIG 11