As Saskatchewan’s 29th general election gets underway, Global News is tracking the promises made by all six parties on the campaign trail.
From the coronavirus pandemic to health care, schooling, the economy and infrastructure, we’re keeping track of those promises to allow voters to make an informed decision.
Campaign promises are tracked to specific days and from commitments made by the parties on their online platforms.
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The Saskatchewan NDP said it will commit $125 million to reducing the size of classrooms if it forms government in the upcoming election.
The NDP said the funding could support 1,000 teachers, 750 educational assistants and 400 caretakers.
This is in addition to $10 million previously promised by the NDP to address mental health supports in schools.
The NDP proposed a wealth tax of one per cent on everyone in the province with a net worth of over $15 million.
The party said this would raise an additional $120 million in revenue annually and would be used for education and health-care spending.
Party Leader Ryan Meili also pledged to build a new bridge and hospital in Prince Albert during a campaign stop in the northern Saskatchewan city.
The NDP did not put a cost on the promise.
The NDP said it would reopen rural emergency rooms closed by Scott Moe and commit to keeping all existing rural acute care centres open. The NDP said they’ll invest an additional $10 million to address chronic short staffing and recruitment challenges in rural health care.
The party said it would also invest in rural health infrastructure as part of its capital plan to fix crumbling rural health-care facilities and convene a panel of rural municipal, health-care, First Nations and Métis leaders to advise on improving access to health care in rural areas.
They said the would also work with the health science faculties on an aggressive rural training program to recruit and retain young people from rural Saskatchewan in health-care careers.
The NDP said it would ban corporate and union donations to political parties and bring in a cap on contributions that would align Saskatchewan’s rules with provinces throughout the country.
Ryan Meili announced that an NDP government will invest $5 million to hire 50 mental health nurses for schools and an additional $5 million to work with school divisions to reverse cuts and hire child educational psychologists, counsellors, speech-language pathologists and other mental health supports.
The NDP said that as part of a platform commitment to reaching 50 per cent renewable electricity by 2030 and a legislated target of 100 per cent emissions-free electricity by 2050, they would work with SaskPower to explore a major expansion of baseload geothermal power capacity.
Ryan Meili said he would enact legislation to protect the province from privatized health care and reverse steps taken by the Saskatchewan Party toward a two-tiered system.
He said the Saskatchewan Medicare Protection Act would be modelled on British Columbia’s Medicare Protection Act to prevent further expansion of American-style patient pay services and double-billing that he said undermines the public health care system.
The NDP said it will lower SGI premiums for drivers by seven per cent — roughly $85 a year.
It also said all drivers would receive a $100 rebate.
Ryan Meili said the money would come from SGI’s one-billion-dollar reserve fund.
In its first pre-election campaign promise, the NDP said it would bring in $25 a day child care.
Ryan Meili also promised to increase the number of child care spaces by 2,200 and conduct a review of the system with experts.
He didn’t specify how much the program would cost.
The Saskatchewan Party said it will reduce SaskPower bills by 10 per cent for one year starting in December.
The party said the average residential customer will save $215 over the course of a year, while the average farm customer will save $845.
According to the party, the rebate will cost $87.2 million in 2020-21 and $174.4 million in 2021-22, with the cost to SaskPower covered by the general revenue fund.
The Saskatchewan Party promised a home renovation tax credit of 10.5 per cent on up to $20,000 of eligible renovations.
The party said the program would run from Oct. 1, 2020, to Dec. 31, 2022, with the maximum eligible amount capped at $11,000 in the first 15 months and $9,000 for the final 12 months.
The cost of the program is estimated by the Saskatchewan Party at $124 million.
Although not an election promise, the Saskatchewan Party government released an updated fiscal outlook.
It projected deficits over the next three years of $1.4 billion in 2021-22, $855 million in 2022-23, and $340 million in 2023-24 due to the economic turmoil from the coronavirus pandemic.
A surplus of $125 million is projected for the 2024-25 fiscal year.
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