For three days last week, the Saskatchewan NDP took time to plan for the upcoming fall session in the riding of Lloydminster.
All nine members of the caucus and members of the party executive were bunkered down in a hotel room for three days planning for the upcoming fall session that kicks off on Oct. 22.
Cam Broten, the leader of the Saskatchewan NDP, spoke with the Lloydminster Source, and said that the NDP had a great couple of days in the Border City, planning out the fall session and meeting with different groups in health care, economic development and municipal government.
“It’s been really positive and I have always loved coming here because of everything that is going on,” he said. “I have always been struck by the determination of the Border City residents and their efforts of making Lloyd a better place.
“Our teams of MLAs fanned out (over the three days), meeting with local leaders, with housing advocates, health care advocates and economic development officers. It’s good to hear about the things that are being done on those issues, but it’s also as important to hear about the things that need to be done.”
Broten said what he has clearly heard is, “Lloydminster needs to be less of a place where wealth is given to the province, but needs to be a place that benefits from the well being of the province and the strength of the economy.”
Broten said that he heard from people who have said that the increased cost of living in the province has made it more difficult to make ends meet.
“It’s a concern when it comes to health care as well, and they need better seniors care and smaller class sizes,” he said.
Hearing the concerns of the Border City residents and groups during the three days, Broten said that it energizes him and is the reason why he got into politics.
“For me, politics can’t be all about the province doing well, but it has to be about people doing well and it has to be about families and lives doing well in not only Lloydminster, but across this province,” he said.
The session was also the first time that the nine MLAs got together in more of a formal setting.
During the summer, each MLA met with groups and residents across the province, and Broten said that the MLAs reported back on a wide range of issues that they heard from members of the general public.
“Whether it was Saskatoon, or Regina, Moose Jaw or the Battlefords, or up in the north and rural communities, we heard the same,” Broten said. “And it’s not good enough to have good statistics about the economy and the government can’t just brag about those stats.”
Broten said that the government must act and make sure that those statistics, “Are translated into putting people first and having stronger communities,” he said.
“This government is dropping the ball when it comes to misplaced priorities.”
The NDP leader came back to the Lean project that is costing the province $40 million over 10 years.
“They have this pet project of Lean, where they are trying to take the philosophy of a car manufacturer and applying it to a patient in a hospital bed,” he said.
“You can’t recall a patient in a hospital bed, and I know that (the government) is more than happy to sign fat cheques to the U.S. consultant.”
Broten said that the government has turned the health-care system in the province into a cash cow for the American consultant.
“Meanwhile they are flying in a sensei from Japan, at $3,500 a day, while health-care workers are forced into these sessions learning how to fold paper airplanes.”
Broten said that this government has a complete absence on good common sense that built this province.
“To me this government has misplaced priorities when it comes to health care, when it has untold millions for their pet project, and don’t have enough dollars for proper tubs, railings and paint jobs for a long-term care facility, like the Jubilee Home here in Lloydminster,” he said.
The NDP visit also marked the first day that the riding of Lloydminster was without representation in Regina, Oct. 1.
“I would argue that the MLA had already checked out and was living in Regina and making the odd appearance here in Lloydminster when he needed to,” said Broten.
Broten said that when an election is called the NDP will be waiting for the premier and the Saskatchewan Party candidate in Lloydminster.
“Whenever the election is called, it will not change the fact that we are ready to listen to the people of Lloydminster,” he said. “The concerns of Lloydminster, under the NDP, will be taken to Regina, instead of the views of Regina being forced upon Lloydminster.”
Broten said that people have come forward about putting their names forward for the Saskatchewan NDP nomination in the upcoming byelection.